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Continued: Double your fun: Minnesota turkey hunters find spring and gobblers, in Kansas

  • Article by: DOUG SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 24, 2013 - 1:59 PM

I had shot two birds, one each of the first two days, and accompanied Kalahar after that, hoping to see him kill a gobbler. The next day, after a fruitless morning hunt, we set up a ground blind on the edge of a pasture, and waited. Just as I was nodding off, we heard a gobble.

“Over there,’’ Kalahar pointed. Three big toms approached. We called, then waited. All three came straight to our blind.

Kalahar fired, dropping one tom in its tracks. A second gobbler took flight, and Kalahar, shooting out the window of the blind, dropped it, stone-dead.

A remarkable feat, especially considering that most states, like Minnesota, allow just one-bird bag limits. And those states with two-bird limits usually require that they be taken on separate days.

Not so in Kansas.

This year, Kalahar did it again.

“I can’t believe it,’’ he said. “Another double.’’

In Kansas, the percentage of turkey hunters bagging at least one bird has averaged about 60 percent in recent years, twice the success rate in Minnesota.

Last spring, hunters in Kansas killed 31,239 turkeys, nearly triple the number harvested in Minnesota.

And we weren’t the only nonresidents to sample Kansas hospitality. More than 13,000 nonresidents came to hunt gobblers last year. Those nonresidents have even higher success rates than residents, likely because they hunt harder.

Turkey numbers here are healthy. Driving into Topeka for dinner one evening with our hunting hosts, we saw scores of birds in fields, sometimes in groups of a dozen or more.

“I’ve never seen that many birds,’’ Hillesheim said.

It’s not easy

But that doesn’t mean easy pickings.

“People driving down the road see all those turkeys and think, ‘How hard can it be?’ ’’ Kalahar said. “But you have to get them within shotgun range, and that’s hard.

“Turkey hunting’s not easy.’’

It takes persistence, patience, skill — and some luck.

I hunted hard, from dawn to dusk, but after three days had spotted just 10 hens and one gobbler, and he was ambling in a distant field.

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