I’ve been waiting to say this for quite sometime and can finally announce it with a sigh of relief, college has been dismissed for summer at last. There’s no more remembering important historical dates, key vocabulary terms or any foreign language. The final week exam season has evolved into the final turkey week of turkey season. It couldn’t be at a better time, considering I was able to squeeze in a last minute turkey hunt in one of the finest big game hunting states in the country, Kansas!
After an all night drive from central Wisconsin to north central Kansas, anticipated to hunt the same morning. I went from driving, to changing into camo, and jumping in the turkey woods.
I met with my good friend, David Schotte, who is the owner of Blue River Whitetails. I’ve hunted with Schotte for the last three years and have been fortunate enough to take doubles each and every time. His kill success rate has been 100% for the past several years. Kansas is one of my favorite hunting destinations, considering their abundance of wildlife, awe-inspiring landscape and down to earth-country style residence.
Schotte reassured me that he pinpointed a roosted gobbler the night before. The gobbler apparently lofted himself high above the ground in a cottonwood tree on the south side of a field. Schotte felt confident that the morning was going to be a done deal, but as we all know, a done deal in the turkey woods is something few and far between! Even in Blue River Whitetails country!
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Schotte and I tiptoed our way down a small gulch and into the premise of a surefire roosting area. As we walked along a logging road, I could make out turkey droppings and wing feathers plastered all over the ground. This was a roosting hot zone. As light slowly speckled across the horizon, we quietly crunched to a nearby cedar thicket. As I sat down and cuffed my hands around my mask to cover any bare skin, a gobble erupted within a few yards! I instinctively froze and skimmed the treetops for feathers. He was perched no more than thirty-yards from the front of my barrel, grasping a limb, strutting, and gobbling. I’ve never shaken so badly before in my life. I was incredibly nervous, due to his dominant presence within the woods and beard that swung like an elephant trunk! I could easily make-out his razor-tipped spurs that nearly glare-blinded me when the sun hit it at a particular angle. This was no average bird; this was a super bird that sported a showcase of awesome attributes.
I awaited his fly down departure as a dog would his next meal. Drooling with anticipation, I couldn’t help but crack a smirk at my luck. How easily we could have flushed him if we shattered a dry twig, or lost our footing, yet we somehow did everything right. All of a sudden he began wobbling and skipping limb-to-limb. My barrel followed his swift moves, branch to branch. The Rio spread his wings and plummeted into the depths of ground level. The gobbler distanced himself at forty-yards. This was a range I was more than comfortable shooting at. I buried my glowing bead up side his head and jammed a wad full of bb’s into his vitals.
I arose from my snug cedar hideout and jogged my way to my biggest bird I’ve ever shot in my life. He was twenty-four pounds, sported a twelve-inch beard, and had spurs that hooked an inch and a half long.
I’d like to thank David Schotte for not only aiding our tv show, The Next Generation, with a handful of incredible episodes, but teaching me how to be a better turkey hunter. For a gentleman who’s guided hundreds of turkey kills, he’s got to be one of the best teachers I’ve had. I cannot wait until next year already!