Turkey Hunters Rendezvous attracts another strong crowd

BALDWIN — They were talking turkey all day at Baldwin High School on Saturday.

It was the 31st annual Turkey Hunters Rendezvous and State Calling Championship sponsored by the Pere Marquette Chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunter Association.

It’s considered the largest gathering of turkey hunters in Michigan.

Calling clinics were provided in the morning. Jim Skipper of Cadillac led a class on box calls while Rod Little demonstrated camouflaging techniques.

Little demonstrated sitting in a chair with a camouflage outfit while having his gun ready for a turkey.

“The longer you can sit quiet and the longer you can sit still, the better you are,” he said. “I probably call more than I need to. I know the birds are in the area.”

The event attracted more than 100 participants.

“We’ve had a decent turnout but it’s not as many people that we’ve had in past years with the economy and the high price of gas,” Pere Marquette chapter president Jim Maturen of Reed City said.

Maturen gave a presentation on Michigan Senate Bill 412, which in part would include the creation and management of wild turkey habitat on state land, annual wild turkey population surveys and annual random disease testing across the wild turkey range in the state. He said he received a “positive reaction” to his presentation.

“I would think most turkey hunters would expect that when they buy a turkey license, it’s going to go toward creating habitat and managing the resource,” Maturen said.

There were five individuals that came from the Detroit area.

“We’re seeing new faces,” Maturen said. “That’s always good. We get a lot of people that have been here for years and years. It’s always the last Saturday in March. We made it easy on everyone (to remember).”

Maturen recalls many years ago when Baldwin was the ideal place for turkey hunting.

“Now we’ve got birds in southern Michigan and over the state and in the U.P.,” he said.