Turkey hunters use festival to get ready for season

BALDWIN — Turkey hunting season starts later this month, but many outdoorsmen have gotten in the mood in recent weeks.

That includes the attendees at the recent Baldwin Turkey Hunters Rendezvous.

The state calling contest was conducted at the high school early in the afternoon.

There were only four contestants: Brian Woodward from Detroit in the adult division and Hunter Ladouceur, of Howell, Nate Persing, of Grayling, and Braden Ramsey, of Morley, in the youth division.

Ramsey was the winner of the youth competition while Woodward won the adult competition by default.

“I’m here because of practice and hard work over the last six years,” Ramsey said. “My older brother did calling too, so he helped teach me. He even let me borrow his call today because I forgot mine.”

Lonnie Collins, owner of Recycled Recurves, a part-time archery business, was among the event’s participant.

“I’ve been doing this eight or 10 years,” he said. “It isn’t a show where I come to make money I come to share my knowledge and help contribute to this community.

“This is a good event and I like how it brings people together. I hope it continues for many years to come.”

Pat Donovan was the event’s master of ceremonies.

“This is a family-oriented, outdoor-oriented event which benefits the whole community,” Donovan said. “We gather to share our wares and our knowledge and have fun.

“Ecosystems are all connected, and protecting one part of our natural resources protects others. So fishing, hunting, hiking ... they all benefit from the work our group (Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association) does.”

At the Baldwin VFW later in the day, there were a number of rounds of shooters consisting of 10 shooters each round. The winners from each round then competed in a final round against each other with the winner winning a new rifle.

The turkey shoot winner was Bradley Dutmer from Chase.