Ca'Lyn Zachary of Morrilton, Ark., says hunting at home was a bust this season. Fortunately, the turkey hunter scored his first ever trip to Kansas but even there struggled on public land for a few days. Zachary and his brother-in-law had been seeing a pair of huge toms strutting with hens on private land and tried a time-honored, but not always successful tactic, they knocked on the landowners door and asked him for permission to hunt. The very friendly landowner said "sure" and the two hunters were in business.
The next morning was silent without a gobble to be heard so the two moved to the field where they had been seeing the toms. I'll let Zachary take it from here in his own words:
"We set up our ole' buddy B-Mobile along with a hen decoy. Several hens soon entered the field and grouped up in the middle but paid little attention to our calls or decoys.
"We finally heard a turkey gobble in response to my cutting at around 7:30 but he responded only once. Then finally, around 8:15, I spotted a blazing red head in the woods near the creek. I immediately hit him with some cutts and a gobble from my Primos tube.
"He walked out into the field and erupted into full strut. He looked over at our strutter and fired off a gobble. Then his buddy joined him and they proceeded to sprint the 80 or 90 yards into our setup.
"My little brother-in-law took the first bird at just 11 steps, and I rolled the other one up with my Remingon 870 Tactical.
"The first bird was a large Eastern sporting an 11-inch beard and 1 1/2-inch spurs. He weighed 23 pounds.
"The one I downed was truly a giant. I'm still kicking myself for not sending him to the taxidermist. The bird was either a Rio or a hybrid and was my first ever double bearded bird. He had a very thick rope of 11 1/2 inches and the second beard was almost 6 inches. His hooks were 1 3/4 inches, making him a true limbhanger. That is if I could find a limb to hold him, because he weighed a whopping 26 pounds! (Yeah Ca'Lyn. You should have gotten that one mounted!)
"I thanked the landowner many times and despite all my efforts to give him a portion of my kill, he kindly refused.
Just more proof that they grow the birds huge in Kansas. Great hunt Ca'Lyn and thanks for sharing it with us. Few hunters will ever kill birds that size.
Ca'Lyn will be entered into the "Give Us The Bird Photo Contest." The deadline was set for midnight at June 30, but since I'm on vacation right now (beach side in Virginia) I figured it would be unpatriotic of me not to extend the contest until midnight July 4. So all you procrastinators get those last minute entries in. I'll be running pics throughout the week.