Pat Strawser, a custom call maker out of Millersburg, Pa., gets a lot of opportunities to share his turkey hunting knowledge with other hunters. And while Pat has enjoyed the chance to hunt with countless others and enjoys pulling the trigger himself, he says there is no greater experience in the woods than to experience a hunt through the eyes of a child still learning the tradition. Fortunately, Pat got the chance to help a number of kids take longbeards this spring, including this big Osceola taken by McKenzie Mull of Wichita, Kan.
This was the 14-year-old girl's first Florida bird. It boasted a 10-inch beard and 1 3/8-inch spurs. McKenzie shot the tom using a 20-gauge Benelli, a good choice for a young shooter as it offers minimal recoil while using loads that provide more than ample punch.
Hunting in Florida this year, Pat also got the chance to share a few hunts with adult friends including a successful day afield with Wayne Vickers of Ohio. The two scored on this nice Osceola during a March hunt.
And finally in what is perhaps the best framed pic of the group, Pat shows off a bird he killed back at home in Pennsylvania. Look closely at the call and if you know anything about custom turkey calls, you'll note that the box in front of him is not his own work, but that of the late, great Neil Cost.
"This was one of the first turkeys I ever killed with one of ol' Neil's boxes," Pat writes. Not unusual since the value of some of Neil's calls since his death have kept them more on shelves where they are safe than out in the woods. During his life, Cost always believed in making calls that were functional first, then attractive, but with some going as high as $11,000 and up since he passed away, yeah, I'd be hesitant to take mine afield.
Not Pat, he used this gem to call in this Pennsylvania bruiser that tipped the scales at 21 pounds and sported a 10 7/8-inch beard and 1 1/4-inch spurs.