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Hunting is my passion, as I can imagine it is the passion for most everyone here. I was born with this drive to pursue wild game, to harvest an animal and bring to my table the meat provided. Ever since I was old enough to remember I have been hunting. Growing up in Dallas, Texas with a father who has a passion for the outdoors I can remember long sits in the deer blind, the pre-dawn hours nestled into the tall milo fields waiting on the first signs of doves and of course the great fishing that the lakes around our house provided.

“Trials & Tribulations”

by Meagan Duffee-Yates, Field Staff
2015StruttingTomTurkey season is a time that hunters dream of; crisp mornings with no wind, beautiful sun rises and that thunderous gobble roaring over the land. My season started two weeks before opening day, when I was asked by our states conservation department to be a mentor hunter for a young and high spirited young girl. She had never hunted turkeys and she was nine years old. We attended the mandatory pre-hunt class and made plans for the following Saturday. I could not have asked for a better morning, and gobbles were heard all around. But the boy’s were with hens and we were left experiencing the sight of a beautiful hen turkey at twelve yards. We may not have left the field with a bird, but we left with memories that I am sure will not be soon forgotten.
2015TomHeadOpening day here in Missouri was a little different. The night before I had roosted a particular bird, he was strutting in the field thirty minutes before dark. I had visions of opening morning with my tag around his leg. Instead the winds had picked up and by 6am they were blowing at 20 miles per hour with gusts as high as 30. I heard one gobble and then silence. Patience was not on my side and after three hours of nothing I moved into the woods. It was a let down. An hour and a half later I found myself moving back to where I had set up before, and just as luck would have it three jakes were in my field, right where I had been sitting that morning.
2015TomFieldWalkIt seemed my season was going to be like that. Public land hunting mostly, with birds gobbling and getting hung up on private property. Sneaky jakes who caught me by surprise or that silence that follows toms when they have been chased off by coyotes running into my set up. I feared going a season without filling a tag, a first for me. I had two days left of the season to fill a tag and Wednesday May 6th was looking perfect. I set a blind out the night before, in the same field I had seen my tom the day before season. What were the odds of him being there? It was private land, 300 acres all to myself. But my tom could have gone chasing lonely hens on surrounding property, he could be on the dinner plate of another person.
2015Tom3Wednesday was perfect and I walked into the field with the light of a full moon and no wind. I had just set up my decoys when he sounded off, directly behind me where I had roosted him two weeks prior. I gave a few soft tree yelps and his voice thundered through the hill tops to let me know he was there. As soon as it was light enough for him to see I could hear him leaving his roost, rushing the few feet from the safety of the woods to the field where my decoys were waiting. He wasted no time in going into full strut, drumming in the dim light of the dawn hours and putting on a beautiful show. He never gobbled and I never called to him, I allowed him to play into my decoys and let him strut and drum. I put the bead of my shotgun onto him and pulled the trigger, the silence of the early morning shattered by the gun. It was over in ten minutes and I was thrilled.
2015Tom4My husband joined me on the last day of season and though we heard many gobbles we were unable to seal the deal. But it was an experience that I will cherish as my husband is not a hunter. I belly crawled out into a corn field to a few hens, hoping a jake or tom was hidden among them. My season ended with my husband at my side and a tag filled after such hard work. I am looking forward to the fall and attempting to hunt turkey then. I hope that you all were able to enjoy the woods this spring and were able to harvest those beautiful birds that call the forest their homes.


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