Turkey season ends with mixed results

BIG RAPIDS — Turkey hunting ended on Sunday and it appears it was a successful one, depending on which hunter is doing the analysis.

“It was a good season for turkeys,” Vic Havens, of Frank’s Sporting Goods in Morley, said. “A lot of hunters reported they’re seeking lower number of turkeys out there. I run a contest out of here every year and I have the average amount of pictures I normally have.”

Steve Griffith, DNR wildlife biologist for Northern Michigan, has heard mixed results.

“The group of people I’ve talked with on turkey hunting say the first season was pretty rainy that first week in Area K,” Griffith said. “Weather wise, it was pretty difficult. It wasn’t the best. Some people did get turkeys.

“Overall, most of the people I’ve talked to have been pretty successful and indicated there seemed to be a fair amount of gobblers around. I think numbers are coming back up a little bit. It seems like we’re seeing turkeys on a more regular basis. It’s a loose interpretation. We did see quite a few people out and about.”

Hunters were hearing gobblers.

“They seemed to have a pretty good time,” Griffith said. “Other than that first week, it seems like it’s been a pretty good spring.”

“The reports I’ve got, it sounded like this year was going to be relatively similar to last year as far as harvest numbers,” Ryan Boyer of West Branch, regional biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation, said. “Some areas might see a slight decline from last year and some areas might be up.”

Pete Kailing, Mecosta County DNR wildlife biologist, said he was among the successful area turkey hunters in recent weeks.

Kailing noted the application for black bear hunting ended on Monday. The Baldwin hunting unit, which includes Lake and Newaygo counties, has a hunting period of Sept. 11-26 for the north area and Sept. 20-28 for the entire unit. The license quota is 80.

The license quote is 90 for the Gladwin unit which includes Osceola and Mecosta counties with a season of Sept. 20-28.

Kailing said bear nuisance complaints are picking up locally and residents are reminded to not leave out garbage or food in bird feeders that will attract bears.

Residents also are reminded by the DNR that black bears are generally fearful of humans and will leave if they are aware of their presence.