In southern Michigan, DNR and NWTF add second Turkey Tract

National Wild Turkey Federation and Department of Natural Resources staff members celebrate the opening of the new Turkey Tract at Flat River State Game Area in Montcalm County.

The National Wild Turkey Federation and Michigan DNR recently introduced the second Turkey Tract in southern Michigan, at the Flat River State Game Area. The new Turkey Tract is located off Fenwick Road, just east of Miller Road, in Montcalm County.

A large kiosk was unveiled at the new Turkey Tract site, giving hunters information about the area and offering discounts at Hilltop Sports and WWC Armory in Greenville for those who take a “selfie” with the kiosk. Students in the shop class at Belding High School built the kiosk.

Turkey Tracts are designed to highlight public hunting areas where intensive habitat management for turkeys has been conducted. The first one opened in spring 2016 at the Allegan State Game Area in Allegan County.

Wild turkeys are found in all 68 counties of the Lower Peninsula and most counties in the Upper Peninsula, where the species has continued to expand its range. In 1977, only 400 turkeys were harvested during the Michigan hunting season. By 2014, annual harvest figures had eclipsed 30,000 birds. Michigan is now ranked eighth in the nation for turkey harvest.

Ryan Boyer, regional biologist with National Wild Turkey Federation, gave a tour of the new Turkey Tracts area to NWTF members from all over the country and DNR staff members, describing habitat management practices that benefit turkeys and other wildlife within the game area.

Management practices include timber harvest, selective use of herbicides, invasive species treatment and removal, and prescribed fire.

Michigan’s 2017 fall turkey hunting season runs Sept. 15 to Nov. 14. There are 51,350 licenses available, including 4,650 general licenses and 46,700 private-land licenses.

Information about fall turkey hunting, including drawing results and leftover license availability, can be found at mi.gov/turkey.

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