Hunters hoping for huge turkey season

BALDWIN -- Turkey hunters are ready for a season which, in Area K, opened on April 18.

Area K consists of Mecosta, Osceola, Lake and Newaygo and other counties.

The first season is April 18-24 and the second season is April 25-May 1.

The third season, is Hunt 0234 which has a license sold as a leftover license with no quota and can be bought throughout the entire spring turkey hunting season.

The third season is May 1-31.

"There's a lot of birds out for sure," Tom Vernon, of Frank's Sporting Goods in Morley said.

West Michigan DNR conservation officer Angela Greenway is impressed with turkey hunt prospects.

"I think this turkey season looks really good, especially for the first hunt," she said. "The word on the street is everything is a couple of weeks early. I'm seeing toms all over the place strutting and gobbling and trying to find hens. I think it's going to be a good turkey season this year."

The warmer weather can also be a factor in the number of individuals getting out.

"Its busy out here," Greenway said. "We have a lot of people recreating and getting outdoors. A lot of our facilities are closed. We're trying to keep things operating as normally as we can and people are practicing social distancing as much as they can."

Terry Getts, of Big Rapids, is an avid turkey hunter.

"I just won't be calling for anybody, I'll just be going out on my own," he said. "I usually call for a few people every year. But with this coronavirus thing, I don't want to be around humans."

Getts has a permit for the first season.

"There's turkeys all over the place," he said. "Right now they're kind of together. They haven't separated yet. By next week, they should start spreading out in individual groups."

Getts has hunted turkeys since 1982 and usually has success every year.

"Only one year, I didn't get one," he said. "I could have but they weren't big enough to what I wanted. I've been fortunate on killing them. The scouting is the most important part. You need to know where they are. I like to find out where they're roosting and I'll set up on that, a couple hundred yards off the roost, and call them over."

Greenway reminds hunters to keep in mind state restrictions on movement with the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

"One of the questions we are getting is ' can I go to the store to get my turkey license," she said. "Our guidance is to be patient and wait for your tags to be maiiled."

People are also asking, Greenway said if they can't travel north to hunt if they can get a refund on their licenses.

"The answer is yes and we are directing people to call the help desk at (517) 284-6057," she said.