Well, what a wonderful week it has been to live in Kansas; half the state has burned to the ground and the other half can’t get their fire trucks out of the garage because they’re snowed-in! After church last Sunday I overheard a conversation between a rancher in our congregation and a visitor from out-of-state. “Does it ever rain in this bloomin’ state?” asked the visitor. “Oh sure” answered the rancher. “Do you remember the story in the Bible where it rained for 40 days and 40 nights?” “Yes” answered the visitor, “I’m familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark.” “Well,” began the rancher, “That time we got over two inches!”
Yesterday’s blizzard conditions in the northwestern part of the state reminded me of the first youth turkey hunt I attended eight or nine years ago. It took place the first Saturday of April in Reno County near Hutchinson, and I was privileged to tag along to get a story. It was cold the evening before, but when I stepped out of the garage early Saturday morning I was greeted by a frigid north wind AND a couple inches of snow. I sat huddled with the youth hunter and his guide in a blind made from large tree limbs stacked together. I’m usually on top of the whole “dress-right-for-the-weather” thing, but that morning I got it wrong. I nearly froze, but I got to see a first-time youth turkey hunter bag a beautiful Kansas Wild Turkey.
Kansas Youth and Disabled turkey season starts April 1st and runs through April 12th, and kids, if you’re signed up for one of these hunts, you are in for a great time. You will each be paired with a seasoned Kansas turkey hunter from the area where you will hunt, and those guys will do whatever it takes to help you harvest a turkey.
There are a few things you should do in preparation. First, make sure you have the required tag and license. If you are under 16, you need ONLY the youth turkey permit. However, if you are 16, you will need an adult turkey permit AND a resident hunting license. This will be checked when you all gather as a group the evening before the hunt, and you will not be permitted to hunt if you don’t have them by the morning of the hunt. Also when you gather the night before, you will all “pattern” your shotguns; this entails shooting a few shells through the gun you will carry on the hunt so you know just how the BB’s from the shells hit the target, as every shotgun is a little different. If I were you, I would shoot a few shells through that gun at home before you go “to get a leg up” on the process. And be sure to check the weather so you can dress appropriately for the day; I could think of nothing worse than being too cold to enjoy the experience.
As for our need for rain, and with Easter Sunday upon us, I hear it’s been so dry that the Baptists are now sprinkling, the Methodists are using wet-wipes, the Presbyterians are giving rain checks and the Catholics are praying the wine will turn back to water. Continue to thank God for His creation as you Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected].