-By Brandon Wikman
School has been dismissed for summer and final exams have thankfully been forgotten. It couldn’t have ended at a better time, considering I was able to squeeze in a last minute turkey hunt in one of the best big game hunting regions in the country: Kansas. Kansas is saturated with gigantic whitetails and tubby-toms!
In the comfort of my hotel room in the quiet serenity of north central Kansas, I write to you, my latest blog. I arrived in Hanover, Kansas Tuesday morning just in time to jump out of my car, change into my camouflage clothes and slip into the shadows of dawn.
I met with my good friend, David Schotte, owner of Blue River Whitetails at his house. I’ve been here three times in the last three years and haven taken six gobblers back to Wisconsin. Kansas has to be one of my favorite hunting locations, considering the abundance of wildlife, awe-inspiring landscape and the goodhearted small town people.
Schotte reassured me that he had pinpointed a gobbler by roosting him the night before with an owl hoot. The gobbler had apparently lofted himself high above the ground in a cottonwood tree on the backside of a field. Schotte felt confident that this turkey was going to be a done deal, but as we all know, a done deal in the turkey woods is something that is few and far between.
Schotte and I tiptoed our way down a small gulch and into the grounds of a surefire roosting area. 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 a 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 had 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 the forty-yard range. This was a range I am 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 have one more tag left for Kansas and won’t head back home until the end of this week. I may not top the Super Rio, but I may strike it lucky with another long beard out in Kansas country!