Turkey hunters hope fortunes improve

REED CITY  —  The third and final season for turkey hunting has about two weeks remaining and sportsmen continue to hope that activity improves.

“What I’ve heard so far is that it’s not been a really terrific season,” Jim Maturen of Reed City, and president of the Pere Marquette Chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters’ Association, said. “I know a few guys who got a bird but it was like the fifth or sixth day of their season.”

The first and second season were in late April. The third season started May 4 and continues through the end of the month.

“It’s getting tougher to try to call a gobbler in,” Maturen said. “They’ll gobble a couple of times on the roost, will fly down and you never hear them the rest of the day.”

Maturen had a license for the second season.

“I’ve been hunting turkeys since 1967,” Maturen said. “For about the last 40 years, I’ve been able to get a gobbler every year. The last two years, I got it on the last day. This year, I didn’t get a gobbler. I had a chance. I had the second season. The fourth day I had a gobbler come down on the field.

“He was within 20 yards and came right parallel to me. I put a scope on my gun. Last year, I killed a gobbler with it. I pulled the trigger and he ran off. I let him go by. I let about three different jakes go by the last morning. I called up a jake and a hen. I looked and I couldn’t see a good beard on the jake and I let him go.” 

Maturen said he’s been out a couple of days since his season ended listening to turkeys and walking in the woods before daylight.

His son was a successful first-day hunter in Osceola County.

“I had some birds scouted but he didn’t go out the first day which was lousy weather,” Maturen said. “So the second day; it did rain on us and snowed. But he got a gobbler in the morning.”

Bil Shinn of Baldwin, the Pere Marquette chapter treasurer, went hunting with his wife Kathy, who got a bird the first season. He hunted the second season, but didn’t have success.

“It’s been kind of a tough season so far,” Maturen said. “The weather hasn’t really cooperated that much. The first season the weather was bad. The second season wasn’t all that bad. I’ve talked to different turkey hunters who have said they’re not having very good luck.

“If it gets hot, turkeys aren’t going to respond. It will be an early morning hunt. I’ve had turkeys out in the field. You call them and they ignore you.”

Shinn said the turkeys weren’t cooperating when he was hunting in Cherry Valley Township. “They just weren’t talking,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s the weather or what. They just shut right up.”