Turkey hunters getting ready for first season

BALDWIN — The turkey season is almost here, starting with the first hunt for Area K, which begins April 18 and ends April 24.

The second hunt will be April 25 to May 1 in Area K,which includes Lake, Mecosta, Newaygo and Osceola counties. There are 4,000 permits provided in the first hunt and 4,500 in the second. The third hunt, 0234, is May 2-31 and has no license quota. License can be purchased through the entire spring turkey hunting season.

Kyle Randall, of Paris, host of the Wilderness Journal TV program, offered suggestions for hunters to have success while he conducted a local clinic recently at Trigger Time Outfitters.

“Use your decoys to position the bird to where you want it to be,” he said. “Don’t be afraid, if you’re in a popup blind,which works very well, to bring the bird in close.”

Part of the joy of turkey hunting, Randall pointed out, is the interaction with the bird.

“Don’t get in a hurry, don’t get in a rush,” he said. “Set the decoy up and bring the bird to the decoy. When you manipulate the bird, let it get close enough. Turkey hunting is a whole lot of fun.

“Jakes are kind of like gang members. All by themselves, they’re skinny little kids. You put 15 of them in the same room, they can be in quite a hassle.”

If a hunter wants to learn how to effectively call, “go listen to a flock of turkeys calling. There’s no seminar anywhere where you’ll hear a better turkey sound than standing by a flock.”

Randall discussed effective ways of calling to attract toms to the hunter’s decoy, and also how to effectively hide from a bird while being able to get a shot at it.

“When you hear him gobbling and see him coming, put your bow or gun up and be ready,” he said. “Only call as often as he calls back.”