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Midwest Bucks is the driving force behind my addiction to bow hunting, but not far behind is getting up close and personal with gobbling thunder chickens in spring.

A Few First


In the outdoor world there are so many things that bring us outdoorsmen and women pleasure. For some it may be seeing the first rays of the sun that crest the horizon on crisp fall morning. For others it may be an early morning boat ride across “glass-like” water waiting to release their first cast for the day. Still others find pleasure listening in anticipation for the long bawl of a coon hound that picks up the scent of their quarry.

Beau TurkeyYes, there are so many amazing things we can experience, but one I am very thankful for is the fortune of guiding people to their first spring turkey harvest. I have been blessed to be with a good handful of people as they have put a notch in their turkey tags while I was right beside them. I want to tell you briefly about a few of the recent memories I have been able to make with family and friends.

My brother; two years younger than I, has hunted like me, for most of his life. Growing up we hunted, dove, coon, rabbit, and deer and enjoyed every minute of it. I started turkey hunting when I was sixteen years old. I was hooked from the first gobble I heard that morning and when I saw my gobbler pile up after being shot I knew that addiction would never go away.

It was not until four years ago that Beau and I sat down sixty-yards from a creek, next to a giant Cotton Wood tree. We had four birds gobbling hard after flying down from the roost. The only problem is that they were all across a very deep ditch. Closer and closer they came and then, taking turns they flew across the creek out into the field. As soon as their feet touched the ground they were coming gobbling the whole way to the decoys. Finally after calling and waiting on these birds for half an hour they were running to my full-strut decoy and Beau was ready to put1 down his first mature Gobbler. After taking careful aim, it only took him three shots seal the deal. He says, “He was just a little nervous.”

Jason’s story is one of pure excitement and redemption. After an unsuccessful morning hunt and missing a beautiful coyote at eighteen yards with his shotgun I was wondering where we could go to get on a bird? I decided to lead us on a little Cut-and-Run adventure. We tracked through the Iowa hardwoods and finally came across an old logging road. After several long yelps on my box call with no response I was actually turning to walk back to the truck.

“TW, there are two birds right there,” Jason exclaimed! Sure enough two long beards had come in quite looking for love. Those birds came across the field, right up the tree line and stepped out at the end of the logging road where Jason could finally get a shot and harvest his first turkey ever.

Larry Richardson holds a very special place in all of my family’s heart. Back when my Dad was nineteen years old Larry had the privilege of leading my dad to Jesus Christ. In a sense both of my brothers and me are here because of the relationship that Larry had with my dad over thirty-five years ago.

Seventeen years ago, Larry started making the trip each fall to our house in Southwest Missouri to deer hunt. Finally it worked out that Larry was going to be able to make the trip to my hometown of Stockton to chase some long beards with me. After a series of close calls but an otherwise unsuccessful first day, day two found Larry and I walking hard wood oak flat towards the truck. Periodically I would call as we walked. After an excited cutting sequence followed by a few yelps I had a bird strike-up and sound-off. Larry was sixty-five years old at the time and hard of larry turkeyhearing, so unfortunately for him, he was unable to hear that wonderful sound. Quickly I instructed Larry to sit down as I started calling to this lonely bird out looking for love. Slowly but surely that bird gobbled his way to the end of Larry gun barrel, all the time strutting, spitting, drumming, putting on the most beautiful display an Eastern Turkey could perform. Finally Larry squeezed the trigger and with the blast of the muzzle it was over. My dear friend, at sixty-five years old had his first turkey on the ground.

These stories of being with people while they harvested their first mature gobblers are so much fun to look back on and remember. With each one remembered it makes me excited to have a few more first turkey stories to come. I have two boys, four and five years old that hunt with me now and we have another baby on the way. I find myself now dreaming of the days when I am leading them through the woods and they are holding the gun waiting on a big love sick tom to come into range so that I can mark another “first” in my hat.


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