Turkey festival canceled

Jim Maturen is an active Reed City area turkey hunter.
Jim Maturen is an active Reed City area turkey hunter.

REED CITY — The annual turkey hunting festival in Baldwin had been a popular event in late March since the mid 1980s.

But that tradition is coming to a close.

Reed City resident Jim Maturen, president of the Pere Marquette chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Federation, said there won’t be an event this year.

“I just didn’t have enough people to pull it off,” he said.”

From the mid 1980s and through 2017, the chapter would have a morning event at Baldwin High School featuring exhibits, seminars and a turkey calling contest/

It would then switch to the VFW Hall north of Baldwin for a turkey shoot and turkey supper.

Last year the chapter closed down the morning portion and focused on the afternoon event. The event would attract as many as 200 to 300 people.

In 1983, “four of us started the first local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The following year, we had an event at the Shrine of the Pines. Then we went to the school.”

The chapter stays active with its winter feeding program.

“This winter, all of a sudden we lost our snow, then we got it, then we lost it again,” Maturen said. “We weren’t going to support turkeys on bare ground. It has to be turkeys that are stressed. We were supporting 2,124 turkeys. We bought corn and distributed it to people to feed the turkeys.”

Maturen is an active turkey hunter and anticipates hunting during the third season in May this spring.