My Dad paticipated in Michigan's first sanctioned turkey hunt in 1967 and bagged a jake. But there were only a few turkeys, all of them way up north, and a tag was hard to get as there were only a few and they were by lottery only. We continued to hunt deer, rabbits, squirrels, ducks and geese. Not much changed until the mid-80s.
In 1985 Dad went to Missouri turkey hunting for the first time with a hidden agenda. Tony Knight, inventor of the Knight in-line black powder rifle had his shop in Lancaster, Mo. (Knight is now in Iowa.) Dad got to meet Tony, got his shop tour and got hooked on turkey hunting all in one visit. Over the years the contingency of hunters making the trek to Missouri steadily grew until there were 12-15 guys in camp at the 4,000 acre state game area. My brother-in-law went and he was hooked, so I finally gave in and went for the first time in 1994.
I didn't get a bird that first year, but after hearing those gobbles echo through the hollows and across the ridges I've been hooked ever since. We still make the trip to Missouri every year although we got a four-man lease in 2001 and split from the group. In 2006 they logged out the Game area and ruined it for turkey hunting, turning it into a moonscape. You can literally see across three or four ridges. Took all of the roost trees, even the trees by the carpark were we used to camp. arseholes. 2007 marked the first year there was not a contingency of hunters from Battle Creek, MI at Rebels Cove WMA in over twenty years.
With the help of the NWTF and the state DNR, the turkey poulation in Michigan doubled during the 90s. I get to hunt turkeys on my own property now and I'm thankful for that. You can now buy tags over the counter as well but there is a Feb 1 st deadline for doing so.
Long live the wild turkey!
"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt