NWTHA Pere Marquette Chapter enjoys another successful turkey event

PRESIDENT: Pere Marquette Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association (MWTHA) president Jim Maturen arranges raffle drawing tickets during the chapter’s event on March 25. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

PRESIDENT: Pere Marquette Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association (MWTHA) president Jim Maturen arranges raffle drawing tickets during the chapter’s event on March 25. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BALDWIN — It was the last weekend in Baldwin and that means members of the Pere Marquette Chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association get together for a unique event in Baldwin.

That was the case again last Saturday for chapter president Jim Maturen, although it was an abbreviated event this year.The day usually started in the morning at Baldwin High School with turkey calling classes, exhibits and vendor displays in the gymnasium and a turkey calling contest.

That part, due to a lack to manpower within the chapter, was dropped this year. Instead everything started with the usual afternoon session. There was the turkey shoot, starting at 2 p.m., followed by a seminar and then an evening dinner.

All afternoon events were at the Baldwin VFW Hall.The turkey shoot was open to anyone.

“Our participation will be down,” Maturen said, pointing to the elimination of the morning program for the expected decrease.Maturen and Gary Truxton, two avid hunters, put on a turkey seminar. Participants came from all over the state.”

“Traditionally, that’s been the biggest fund-raiser for the VFW,” Maturen said. “After supper, we raffle off guns.”Maturen said he usually tries to get a permit the second turkey season in April. It comes a week after the first season, which starts on April 17.

“This year, I bought (a permit) for the third season (in May),” he said. “There’s more time, I’ve been hunting for so long. I really don’t have to kill another one. But I enjoy being out there.”He’s encouraged with season prospects.

“Last year, we had a pretty good hatch. I know we have a lot of jakes running around and young birds,” Maturen said. “The turkey population is up. I’ll say it will be a better season. It depends on the weather.”

Warm and dry conditions tend to be ideal, Maturen indicated.

“When we started in 1983 (as a chapter), there were a lot of counties that didn’t have wild turkeys,” Maturen recalled. “As they expanded, we started supporting them during the winter time and spending all the money on the turkeys.”

Three chapters, including the Pere Marquette one, bolted from the National Wild Turkey Federation from a dispute on how to distribute locally raised money, to form the MWTHF.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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