Annual turkey festival set for end of month

BALDWIN — Regardless of the weather on the last Saturday in March — whether it’s 80, 60, 40 or 20 degrees) one tradition doesn’t change: The Turkey Hunters Rendezvous and State Calling Championships.

The annual event is set for Saturday, March 31, at Baldwin High School. The Pere Marquette Chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association calls it the largest gathering of turkey hunters in Michigan.

Registration is 8-9 a.m. And the event features vendor exhibits, door prizes, calling clinics turkey shoot, gun raffle and turkey dinner.

When the program starts, Pere Marquette chapter president Jim Maturen of Reed City, will explain what the chapter’s activities have been and other activities such as the introduction of Senate Bill 412 and how it relates to the investment in managing turkey habitat.

Sen. Darwin Booher will be the guest speaker. “He’s the person who introduced our Senate bill,” Maturen said.

At 10:30 a.m., five different will be offered.

“You can take any two of them,” Maturen said. “After lunch, we have the state turkey calling championships. Then we break and go to the VFW and have a turkey shoot. After that, the ladies of the VFW have a turkey shoot for their fund-raiser. We have an evening program and do our raffle drawings.”

It will be the 31st year of the event.

“The first couple of times, it was just a small event,” Maturen said. “Then the third year, we started at the school and made it a big event. We have a good turnout every year. We’re nonprofit, nobody gets paid. The money we raise from this we set aside and the next winter, we’ll purchase so many tons of corn and distribute to people helping a turkey, free of charge. That’s one of the things we’ll do.”

Prices will be given throughout the event.

“We’ll have people coming from the Detroit area, Grand Rapids, throughout northern Michigan,” Maturen said. “It is a good fun day for anyone interested in wild turkeys.

For more information, interested individuals can contact Ed’s Sport Shop at (231) 745-4974 or Maturen at (231) 832-2575.