Missouri hunter Alex Rutledge, longtime prostaffer for Hunter’s Specialties and probably the quintessential spokesman for the sport of turkey hunting, was in a truck heading for Louisiana yesterday when he called to let me know how the H.S. Strut crew had done in Alabama.

Fellow H.S. prostaffer Eddie Salter killed a tom in the Red Tide state just days before, after missing one. That’s right, even the Big Guys miss, but I won’t bust Eddie’s chops too bad since word has it he darn near cut his foot off in a chainsaw mishap just the week before. Reliable sources said even with a partially separated foot bandaged to the hilt, Eddie had no plans of backing down on a chance to hunt. Before the rumor mill quits churning, no doubt the grapevine will have painted the hardcore turkey hunter as hitting the woods, toting his own leg in his turkey vest and hopping among wandering flocks like a one-legged kangaroo. I’ll try to track him down to get the real story.

Meanwhile, Alex is in the Sportsman’s Paradise to film a hunt with former NFL quarterback Bubby Brister and another hunter, Wayne Hagen. He says back at home in the Missouri Ozarks, flocks are just splitting up and gobblers are cranking it up as they roam in search of hens. Missouri’s season opens a week later than usual, which of course, has many guys worried that the birds are going to do their thing early. My sources say don’t worry about that. Missouri still produces the best turkey hunting of virtually any state and this year should be no different.