REED CITY — The weather could have a lot to say about it, but local turkey hunters are looking forward to a decent season.

Turkey hunting began in various parts of the state on Monday including in Area K that covers Lake, Mecosta and Osceola counties. There are 4,000 permits issued for the first season (April 20-26) and 4,500 for the second (April 27 to May 3). The Hunt 0234 presents a statewide hunting license valid for all open areas, with a few exceptions, and the dates are May 4-31.

Reports from various area turkey hunters is there seem to be many gobblers out there and it could be a good season. But there are plenty of factors to consider.

Long-time hunter Jim Maturen, president of the Pere Marquette chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, has been studying various factors related to the season that could determine how much success is achieved.

“We’re right about where we were last year with turkeys,” Maturen said. “Last year, after a bad winter we had, for some reason, we wound up with a pretty good hatch for a change. I expect the season will be pretty much similar to what it was last year.”

Maturen said there’s been a decline in turkey population over the years.

“It’s not what it was like 10 years ago,” he said. “We still have turkeys.”

Which season will be the best? 

“The success depends on the weather,” Maturen said. “Some guys love to get that first season. Unfortunately a lot of times that first season is cold and wet. You can have snow. If that happens, it happens, and your later seasons are better.”

Maturen usually gets a second-season permit.

“Last year, there was wind, rain and cold,” he said. “I sat out in pouring down rain trying to hunt turkeys. It was just a lousy season. The very last morning, I called a real nice gobbler off the roost. He came out in front of me and he shouldn’t have. If it wasn’t for that, I would have had no turkey nuggets to eat.

“I expect the seasons to be similar to what it was last year. It depends on the weather, as far as hunter success.”

Up until last week’s warming trend, the weather didn’t appear favorable, Doug Loomis of Ed’s Sport Shop in Baldwin indicated.

“It’s been very cold,” he said. “It’s going to be challenging.”