Turkey hunt more quality than quantity

 

MANISTEE — Turkey hunting season is entering its final 10 days and area sportsmen have been reporting mixed results so far.

Currently in Area K, which covers Benzie and Manistee counties and most of northwest Michigan, it’s the 0234 hunt. A permit during this seasons is actually sold as a leftover license with no quota and can be purchased through the entire spring season.

Hunt 0234 started on May 2 and ends May 31.

“I live over where there’s turkeys and I haven’t seen anyone hunting,” Terry Riley, of Riley’s Tackle & Gun Shop in Manistee, said. “There’s some. Lot of people are having trouble with bears. They’re tearing bird feeders down, tipping the garbage cans over. We’ve seen one bear three times now.”

Other observers have seen some good signs from the turkey season.

“I’ve been getting good reports from the turkey hunters as far as successful levels,” Rob Eckerson, of Pappy’s Bait & Tackle in Wellston, said.

The first season started on April 18-24, followed by the second season April 25-May 1. Hunters needed permits for those seasons. There were 4,000 licenses quota for the first season and 4,500 for the second.

“The first two seasons were definitely better producing than the third,” Amanda Rommell, of Big Bob’s Outfitters in Frankfort, said. “The turkey guys in here now are struggling to find the birds. It sounds like the first two seasons had pretty good success up here.”

Northern Michigan DNR wildlife technician Katie Keen indicated it’s tough currently to measure exact success for turkey hunters without various methods like check stations, which are used during the deer seasons.

“At this point, the only thing we would have going on is license sales,” she said. “We don’t always hear from successful turkey hunters until the spring harvest survey. License sales is the thing. The sales are up for spring turkey. It’s something we’re happy about. Hunt 234 makes it easier to buy a license. Not everyone realizes the changes that have been made and that an application isn’t needed and you can buy one during the season.”

Since turkey hunting seasons started in mid-April, there’s been a wide variety of weather.

“I feel like the weather this year has been good for turkey hunting,” Keen said. “With 234 being so long, you don’t have to worry about the weather too much.”

Applications for bear and elk hunts are available until June 1, Keen said.

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