Like in many parts of the country, turkey hunting was nearly eradicated at one point in the state of Michigan. Thanks to many conservation efforts and establishing limits on how many turkeys can be harvested, the population has greatly increased, as well as the number of birds harvested.
Michigan’s late season hunt, Hunt 0234, begins May 7 and lasts until May 31. Hunt 0234 is a statewide hunting license valid for public and private lands, except public lands in Unit ZZ. The licenses for this hunt will be sold as leftovers with no quota and can be purchased throughout the entire spring turkey hunting season.
Turkey hunting can still be very productive during this season, but there are a few things to keep in mind during the late season hunt.
Depending on the area and how hard it was hunted, male turkeys may not be as responsive to calls. There’s a good chance that they’ve been called to by several hunters, so it’s best to call sparingly if the birds aren’t being very responsive. If the birds are acting this way, the main thing to try is some patience. Turkeys may have followed the same pattern for weeks and then decide not follow it for a few days. They are out there, but sometimes they need to be given a bit of a break from the previous weeks of more intense hunting.
During earlier hunts, sometimes it is possible to see birds at the crack of dawn right after they’ve come off the roost. Later in the season, the hens may be busy sitting on nests so at times the jakes (juvenile males) and toms (adult males) will spend some time feeding before they venture off. It’s common to not see very many birds until later in the morning.
Less related to the turkeys themselves but a big contributor to the enjoyment of turkey hunting are the mosquitos (or hopefully lack of mosquitos). By the time late season hunting has rolled around, the ground has thawed most if not all of the way and many insects have hatched. Mosquito repellent, such as a Thermacell, can make or break a May turkey hunt.
There are perks to hunting both the early season and late season turkey hunts. During the early season the birds are typically more responsive and active, but during the late season there are generally fewer hunters in the woods. To see what turkey hunting products are still available, click here.