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Posted on Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

The time to prepare for spring turkey hunting season is now

By Rick Taylor


Rick and Ricky Taylor with a harvested wild turkey taken with a wooden arrow and long bow.

Rick Taylor | Contributor

It’s hard to believe the spring turkey season is almost upon us once again — especially when you consider how darn cold, wet and miserable it is outside. But, before you know it the leaves will be forming on the trees, and tulips will be showing their beautiful colors.

It used to be difficult to get a turkey license in Michigan. Many applied, but only a select few would get picked from a lottery system. Thankfully, those days are gone, and you’re all but guaranteed a tag in our geographic location.

The wild turkey is considered by some to be an ugly bird. But, I beg to differ.

Benjamin Franklin tried to make the Wild Turkey our national bird; the Bald Eagle eventually won out.

Our ancestors relied on the wild turkey for nutrition. The Native Americans subsequently discovered the features of a wild turkey greatly improved the flight characteristics of their wooden arrows. As a matter of fact, turkey feathers are still used in the manufacture of arrows which fly better and look a lot nicer than the plastic feathers.

Organic farmers and consumers alike will agree that wild turkey tastes great. Their meat is all natural and doesn’t come loaded with the chemical enhancement we see in domestic turkeys.
Wild turkeys are amazingly difficult to hunt and the success rates among hunters are amazingly low.

Yet, we try like the dickens every year.

So, what’s the allure you might ask? Well, anti-hunters will say its bloodlust, but I respectfully agree. I love the taste of turkey; it’s simple as that. Now, I can’t raise them where I live, so I must hunt them instead. By the way, smoked turkey tastes like heaven on earth.

I love going into the woods and meadows in search of this elusive bird. I bring my wooden longbow and wooden arrows and pray one will come close enough so I can help it meet its maker.

There are only three sounds in this world that will put a shiver down my spine. The first is an elk bugle, the second is a red stag roaring in New Zealand, and the third is a wild turkey gobbling.

The male turkey displays his dominance and sexual interest to hens by gobbling to other turkeys. A Tom or Gobbler will fan out his tail feathers to impress the hens or scare off other inferior male turkeys. There’s a lot of wildlife biology I’m leaving out for simplicity sake.

Both male and female turkeys have luminescent feathers; they shimmer as the sunlight hits their feathers. These rainbow like colors are so gorgeous; they work great in fly fish tying.

My advice to turkey hunters is to get out and start scouting before the season begins on Monday. The Toms/Gobblers are calling already and actively looking for hens to mate with, even if for a little while. The secret to success is finding a location with a lot of turkeys, blending into your surroundings and shooting straight.

Few people know the wild turkey has amazing vision and can also see in color. I’ve been spotted and busted at 300 yards away by the simple wave of my hand swatting a fly from my face.

Good luck to you who go out and brave the early spring weather; be safe and enjoy the wonders of the woods. I’ve been asked what’s so exciting about turkey hunting  and my answer is always the same. I tell people that I’m either watching the sun come up or going down every time I go out; it doesn’t get much better than that.

This story is dedicated to two men who gave their lives in the line of duty defending each one of us. Chelsea Police Chief Scott Sumner and Chelsea Fire Captain Matt Tuttle were killed in a helicopter crash while searching for a fugitive in Scio Township on April 13, 2006. It’s been five years but the loss is no less profound for those who knew these brave souls. You will never be forgotten.

Your comments and story ideas are warmly welcomed. Rick Taylor can be reached at 734-223-5656 cell or by email at



Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 12:23 a.m.

Dude, you bagged a turkey with a longbow!? And you had your son along with you? Man, in my book, you now officially walk on water. I have a hard enough time even finding turkeys. The deer are a dime a dozen. Geez, I'd given up on taking a turkey with a bow; bought a license a few years ago and haven't bothered again since.


Wed, Apr 13, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

You must not be looking in the right places because they are EVERYWHERE the past few years! Dexter Township is loaded with them. I see huge flocks all the time, and we encounter near misses with our vehicles regularily!!


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:52 p.m.

turkeys are incredibly stupid and I am glad they are hunted. I have seen an albino turkey recently, very weird.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

that's what i'm talking about... i sort of look forward to this over deer season. it's getting nice out, it's warmer too. nothing like sitting out over a couple turkey decoys and watching the deer in velvet (who knows where they came from, they weren't around during the fall deer season...ugh) and catching a snooze for a couple hours...

Turd Ferguson

Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

Mmmmm...... Turkey and Grill.....mmmmmm.....


Tue, Apr 12, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

I just had a close encounter with a flock trying to take off coming OVER Baker road!! Takes them a long time to really get some height. They seem to fly forever right at grill height. Good look on your hunt!