We are lucky as Michiganders that we have four very unique seasons. Summertime in our great state is about as good as it gets, with limitless opportunities to enjoy the open water and moderate temperatures. The colors of fall in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and across the Lower Peninsula are simply breathtaking and draw folks from all over the Midwest. Winter, although cold, is just as special. There are an endless number of snowmobile trails, cross county and downhill skiing opportunities and lots of ice fishing available.
All of that said, there is something different about spring. It’s the time of year, as the days grow longer and the clock moves ahead, that has many Michiganders dreaming of the echo of gobbles off the hills and hollers of this grand ole state! Spring means turkey hunting here in Michigan. Simply put, if you have never experienced what a spring turkey hunt is in its purest form, you have missed one of the best things our state has to offer.
Turkey hunting in the spring consists of early alarms, coffee refills, and the occasional afternoon nap. Turkeys can be hunted anytime during the day, but mornings are usually the best bet. Knowing where turkeys live is a good start. Most hunts start in the early morning hours, well before daybreak. Getting into position to hear the birds wake up in the trees (yes, they sleep in trees) is how you start.
On a clear morning hens and toms alike can be heard from quite a distance. The trick is to get close, but not TOO close. As the sun rises, the woods start to wake up. The smells and the sounds are worth the trip alone. Turkeys will look to get together as they leave the roost and start their day. At this point, a spring turkey hunter will use a variety of calls to try and entice a male bird to come close enough for a shot. This seems fairly straightforward, and it is, but it’s much harder to pull off than you think.
A big part of why turkey hunting is so great is that you are literally talking back and forth with the birds! What are you saying to them, well, think of the night club! Yes, basically as the hunter you’re playing the female that is hoping to find Mr. Right. Or in most cases, Mr. Right Now! When it works, it’s something to behold!
The gobbles from the love-sick toms are actually shaking the ground as the sun rises and shines through the trees. The hunter can see his or her breath and your heart beats faster and faster with the approaching bird. The bird stops just out of range as you question your calling tactics and your set up. Their incredible eyesight is now scanning the area for the bird he should be able to see…seconds go by, minutes now, he hasn’t moved…
This is the moment, right here, right now, it’s simply awesome! It’s what will bring you back and drive you to get up early again. It really is that addicting! It’s not always about filling your turkey tag, but rather about the time spent in the timber while watching the sunrise.
Spring is hope, possibilities, and new beginnings – and yes, spring is turkey hunting! Go have an adventure, make some memories with people you care about, and maybe that big gobbler will take a few more steps!
The opinions stated herein are not necessarily those of GreenStone Farm Credit Services.
To view the article in the online 2020 Spring Partners Magazine, click here.