Turkey event in Baldwin celebrates 35th year

BALDWIN  — Participants enjoyed another eventful day on Saturday at Baldwin High School where they attended the 35th annual Wild Turkey Hunters Rendezvous and state calling championships

The event was again sponsored by the Pere Marquette chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association.

Chapter members included Calvin Smith, of Baldwin, who was working with the silent auction. The number of participants, he said, would depend on the crowd. He’s an occasional turkey hunter.

“I’ve got plenty (of turkeys)  where I live. But I’m on the feeding program and I feed them all year.”

The Pere Marquette chapter is among those that focus on keeping the turkey flock healthy during the winter, especially by spreading around food.

The turkey hunting season begins later this month, and the Baldwin event gets hunters in the mood.

“They like the fact that this is a mixture of everything,” Smith said. “You have the calling contest, the different speakers, different vendors, plus training sessions for calling and the turkey shooting later and the dinner. We get them to come from all over.”

Trophies also were provided for the 38th annual Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association calling contest. Trophies were presented for the top four in both the junior and senior divisions.

Smith’s wife was getting the trophies ready prior to the contest.

Bill Shinn, of Baldwin, was helping out at the festival and has a permit again this season.

“We had a few birds, but when the weather gets nice, they just left,” he said. “You don’t see them anymore when the weather’s nice. That happens every year. They hang around when the snow is bad. When the weather is nicer, they clear out.”

The numbers were higher years ago, Shinn indicated.

“All areas of the state up here, other chapters, they’re all experiencing the same thing,” Shinn said, adding turkeys generally survived the winter. “But we’re hoping that in the spring, nesting will be good.”