Spring wild turkey season on the horizon

Wild turkeys are abundant in the state and a favored spring hunting target.

Wild turkeys are abundant in the state and a favored spring hunting target.

STATEWIDE — Many a hunter will not be thinking about spring training and the Detroit Tigers, but their own spring training, as they prepare for the upcoming spring wild turkey hunting season.

Private land-only licenses are good for the April 18-May 1 Hunt 0301, that includes the majority of the lower portion of the Lower Peninsula, mapped out as Hunt Unit ZZ in the 2011 Michigan Wild Turkey Hunting Digest. The Guaranteed Hunt Period, Hunt No. 234 is statewide and runs May 2-May 31. It is valid for all open areas with the exception of public lands in the southern Lower Peninsula. Hunters interested in the Guaranteed Hunt can purchase a license from Jan. 1-May 1 with no application fee charged. Anyone not successful in the drawing for Hunt 234 after May 1 may also purchase a license. Drawing results were released March 1 at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings.

Important changes for this season include:

 All of the Upper Peninsula is open to spring turkey hunting.

 Hunt 234 (Guaranteed Hunt Period) can be purchased through May 1.

 No more than two applicants may apply as a party.

 It is unlawful to obtain or purchase more than one spring turkey hunting license.

 Apprentice hunting licenses are available to any hunter not completing a hunter safety course. Hunters may purchase an apprentice license for two years before being required to complete a hunter safety course.Apprentice hunters must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older who has a valid regular current-year hunting license for the same game as the apprentice hunter. All under the age of 17 must be accompanied in the field by a parent or guardian.

Orientation workshops:

As it does each year, the state has partnered with the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, National Wild Turkey Federation and other outdoor groups to provide wild turkey hunter orientation courses. A fee is generally charged and space is limited.

Upcoming orientation courses take place at:

March 26 at the Charlotte Fairgrounds. Details: 517-649-8580; April 2 at Williams Gunsight and Outfitters in Davison. Details: 810-736-1570; April 3 at Detroit Sportsmen’s Congress in Utica. Details: 248-420-3417.

Report All Poaching

Violations of the turkey hunting regulations are misdemeanor offenses and punishable by five to 90 days in jail and fines of $200-1,000. Licenses also will be revoked for up to three years and reimbursement back to the state costs $1,000 for each animal illegally harvested. Everyone is encouraged to call the Report All Poaching Hotline if they see anyone illegally harvesting any animal in any season at 1-800-292-7800.

Wild Turkey Cooperator Patches

Any youth ages 10-17 can obtain a free Wild Turkey Patch if they have a valid license. Adults hunters, collectors or the public can purchase a patch for $5 plus postage and handling. The program is run in conjunction with the NWTF.

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