Turkey hunters hope for improved weather conditions

BALDWIN — Area turkey hunters are hoping that improved weather conditions will make for better success when they’re out in the fields next week.

Monday was the first day of wild turkey hunting in Unit K, which includes Lake, Mecosta, Newaygo and Osceola counties. Some area hunters had permits for this week while others like John Avery, Jim Maturen and Bruce Wiley will get their chances next week.

“My son has this season, but it’s been tough,” Maturen said. “We’ve heard some birds gobbling. The first two days have been tough.”

Maturen said the bird population continues to be down.

“There’s places that had turkeys for years. The habitat hasn’t changed, there’s just nothing there,” Maturen said. “What we needed is some mornings where it’s above freezing, and frost, with no wind. Then at least the birds will start gobbling. I never apply for the first season because you wind up with weather like this. When it’s rainy and windy, you might as well forget about it, you’ve lost a

day.

“At least the last 35 years, I’ve been lucky, knock on wood, that I’ve been able to get a gobbler every year,” Maturen said. “This may be the year, I may meet my match. It’s all dependent on the weather.”

One successful hunter not too far from the Baldwin area was a southeastern Michigan resident who made the most of his opportunity on opening day.

Dick Mathewson of Carleton, located between Flat Rock and Monroe near the Ohio border, bagged his turkey Monday morning. His son, Kevin Mathewson, is an area dentist.

He was out hunting on some private land near the Mecosta and Newaygo County line starting at around 7 a.m.

“I never heard anything for quite awhile,” he said. “Then about 45 minutes later I heard some calling. I called back, it answered me and started coming into the decoy. I waited. When it came close enough, I shot it.”

Mathewson estimates he was about 10 yards away when he shot the turkey. He did an extensive amount of calling. His prize weighs about 20 pounds and is an estimated 3 years old with a “real thick beard,” he said. “There were four that came in all together.”

But he shot the biggest one.

Mathewson said he’s been hunting turkeys four years.

His son is also a turkey hunter but Mathewson was by himself on Monday.

“This is my first one,” he said. “I saw one before, I watched it too long before I shot at it.”

He normally comes up to the area every turkey season and said he normally sees a fair crop of turkeys.”