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  1. #351

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    A huge line of storms rolled through central/east Kansas last night, and more irregularly popped up this afternoon. Drought be gone!!

    The birds were acting quite frisky tonight in the suburban groves and meadows.

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    This tom seems to be double bearded .

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    Available habitat for these suburban turkeys is shrinking with a big apartment complex under construction.

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    These clouds were dumping hail on my public land birds at the time of this picture. Hold out for the weekend guys, I'm coming for you.

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    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  2. #352

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    Turkey hunters in south central Kansas wishing to "match the hatch" might want to look for soybean fields with waste on them, or perhaps just planted fields.


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    A poison ivy and tick free weekend!
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  3. #353

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    Saturday the 4 am alarm didn't get a chance to go off, as I was awake at 3:55. Less than an hour later I was crossing into the newly planted corn field, as I was headed to the roost area where the birds were heard last weekend. With almost all Kansas lakes being quite low (this lake of over 6 feet lower than normal) these birds were more flexible in their travel plans than in a normal year.

    In drought years past, kansasson and I have found birds traveling areas that would normally be a mud flat of 3-4 feet depth, and they were using these areas for dusting and resting, as well as nice open strutting areas. As I reached my destination area, the first birds of the morning were waking up. A hen and jake decoy were deployed with care, making sure that if anyone was going to shoot at my jake, I would not be in danger of being in the background. As the turkeys started gobbling up and down the treeline, I spotted multiple birds on roost directly in front of me, only 120 yards across the dry lake flat.


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    As these birds flew down, there was the the usual morning squabbling, and then I saw birds coming through the willows, heading across the flat, but angling away from me and my decoys. Hens, jakes and several rope draggers all swaggered into the flat, and took to showing off for each other how pretty they thought they were.

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    Fading further away, they disappeared into the woods. Sporadic gobbling from several areas let me know that they hadn't fully left the area, and every so often small groups would head back to the roost area, tantalizing close.

    As the morning rolled on, turkeys headed down the flat, towards the lake. They made sure to hug the opposite edge, over 80 yards away. Some turkey sense was telling them to stay away from the non moving hen and jake on my side of the open area.

    Later still in the morning, two jakes were heard doing their best to sound like big boy gobblers, and horribly missing the mark. Heading my way, they looked a little bit like bike racers, each taking turns drafting off the other bird, and generally headed my way. As they approached my location, they slowed down, and kept nervously looking over at my decoys. Angling closer, it seemed like they would end up coming all the way in. I had told myself that I wasn't going to shoot a jake this day, but i did practice muzzle control, and cheek weld on my 12 gauge. There were several moments when had it been legal for me to do, I am convinced that I could have had a two-fer.

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    I pulled the jake decoy, and moved the hen decoy into the shade. Birds continued to trade back and forth from the treeline bordering the ag fields to the east, and the woodlot directly across the flat from me. On the few occasions that I called, the sounds would stop the traveling birds and they would crane their necks to look in my direction, but fully failed to move in my direction. I had thoughts of moving locations, but doing so would probably end up spooking the birds, and perhaps pushing them away from the lake flat.

    Watching all of this movement, I hatched a plan to be put into effect on Sunday.

    Once again the alarm didn't get a chance to go off, as I rolled out of bed early. I find that this earns significant kitchen pass points, as it doesn't wake Mrs. kansasdad. Heading into the backwater area where the turkeys had been hanging out, I decided to not walk in on the lake flat, but do an end run and set up where the birds had been traveling into the ag fields adjacent to the lake flat. Gobbling started a few minutes before sunrise. It seemed that there were more birds up river than yesterday.

    I patted myself on the back on my ninja skills when a doe came down the riverbank, and found some tasty morsels to munch on for breakfast about 10 yards from me.

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    She pushed off, and as I fought dozing off, I was snapped back into hunting mode when two hens strode into view in the middle of the lake flat. Heading towards the lake, they had a tom in tow, and had a purpose in their steps. I breathed on the mouth call, causing the trio of turkeys to pause momentarily, and then off they continued.

    Time continued to roll, and a feeling came over me that I needed to switch locations. I wanted to move as close as I could to the lake flat edge, and picked up my gear ready to head out. Over a half mile away I could see a strutter working his magic, and he started gobbling and double gobbling. In my binoculars I could see that he had a full fan, and he was heading in my direction. Moving, I decided that using a large cottonwood trunk as my backdrop, and a couple of horizontally growing willows as a screen to hide behind from his advance, I put my gun on the monopod and waited for the gobbling lovesick tom to walk into the lethal zone. I could keep track of his approach, as he was gobbling every 20-30 seconds. As he uttered his last gobble, he strode into view and turned his head and appeared to look at me directly. Knowing that he was in range, I made sure to sight down the rib , centered the bead, and ended my spring turkey season.

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    All that was left was the tagging, photos and a walk back to the car. I message the family group text of the good news of a birthday turkey, and I texted Mrs. kansasdad asking her to bring a brush to church so that I could spruce up the camo hat head. And then I realized that I must have left the turkey sling I have used for the last several years back at home. This was a big bird, and I decided that I was not going to walk out with him flopping on my shoulder, allowing his bloody head to stain my pants. Using the batwing and the compression straps of the pack, I secured the bird and started walking out. Making good time as I was determined to not be late for church, I headed down the lake flat, through the woods, across the ag fields and back to the car. Keeping my head down and concentrating on not stumbling on crop stubble, I noticed my shadow on the field.

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    Dropping the heavy pack, I felt the expected sensation of walking-on-air-steps for the next few steps, caused by dropping the pack, harkening back to the high adventure packtrips of scouting years. (Can I even say BOY Scout years now???)

    Thanks Kansas
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  4. #354

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    Very nice!! Great pics! I should be better at taking them during a hunt.

  5. #355

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    Thoughtful hunt account as usual Mark.

  6. #356

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    Congrats!

  7. #357

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    Congratulations!

  8. #358
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Co
    Posts
    1,966

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    My dad slept in...I ended my first Kansas Turkey adventure with 2 hours of being in the woods. 1 shot 2 birds not necessarily what I was trying to do but I'm happy...3 Jake's came in 1 left. Great way to break in the new Browning
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    I'm turning off Real Life Drive and thats right I'm hittin Easy Street on mud tires

  9. #359

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    Double the adventure! Congratulations

    Perhaps that third jake has your dad's name on him.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  10. #360
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    Jun 2010
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    I hope he holds out for 1 of the bigger birds...but that's not like him lol
    I'm turning off Real Life Drive and thats right I'm hittin Easy Street on mud tires

  11. #361

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    My dental office celebrates birthdays on/near the actual date with a "themed" lunch with everyone pitching in something for the meal. For my birthday, they don't even ask what the theme will be, they know that it is "Chef Salad". Mrs kansasdad usually gets the deli turkey, ham and roast beef, someone else brings lettuce, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc etc. This year I told them that I would be bringing in something extra from the usual, some "free range, hormone free turkey" which gave me all sorts of inquisitive looks.

    A trio of Hank Shaw books now reside in my library (clicking on the Amazon link residing somewhere to the right of these words brings a little kick-back to Big Finn and company) and I was looking forward to doing something with my most recent tom's legs/thighs.

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    Hank's recipe for carnitas caught my eye, and so off I went.

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    When I do this to my next dark meat legs and thighs, I will separate them to allow them to nestle into the slow cooker a little bit easier.


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    Mix up the dry spices, and dump them in on the water just now covering the meat.


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    Set it and forget it...... for hours. Hank estimated 3 hours minimum, an old tom will take longer to get tender. I ended up going lower temp, longer time and kept it up going overnight.


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    Second half post coming soonish....
    Last edited by kansasdad; 05-14-2018 at 05:18 PM. Reason: spelling can be hard!
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  12. #362

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    Talk about falling off the bone.....this was easy to pull apart and shred. The tendons for the most part stayed attached at the joint of the leg.

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    And quick as you'd like the first one is done. The texture of this turkey is nearly identical to a really good pot roast that has been shredded, but nowhere near as greasy.

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    In Hank's recipe, he says the meat is good for a week in the frig. When it's time for a meal, he says his favorite way to finish the meat is with a hot skillet and lard (the good stuff, not Crisco) and drizzled with a honey-lime dressing. He hits the heat long enough that some of the ends are crispy, while other parts are still soft.

    I was very surprised that everyone at least tried some on the side. Several comments about how surprising the texture was (beef like) and how mild the taste of the meat was, and compared very favorably to a slightly overdone, dry Thanksgiving turkey most folks might use as a reference.

    I didn't weigh the harvest, but I would imagine that there was somewhere in the neighborhood of over two pounds of free range turkey dark meat that made it to the office. Much less came home, and one assistant asked the next day if she could take some home for her husband to try.

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    A final thought: clean up after yourself in the kitchen!! As in camping, I try to leave the place nicer than when I found it.

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    In the interest of full disclosure, I need to note that at the three hour mark, i pulled one of the legs out of the slowcooker and tried to whittle off a little bit for a taste. To describe the texture as rubbery is too generous. It felt like cutting into a bouncy ball from a gumball machine. It needed much more time to get where I needed it to be.

    Modifications that I will consider for next time:

    Turn the heat up, shorten cooking time,

    As already mentioned, separate leg/thighs for easier placement in pot.

    Ditch the cinnamon stick and the cloves in the spice mix. Mrs kansasdad says those are best placed in pumpkin spiced cookies. She has requested a garlic/onion base for spices next time.

    Serve as the original recipe calls for with a taco/fajita style presentation.
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  13. #363
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Co
    Posts
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    Some video from my hunt
    https://youtu.be/rieJQaceUqk
    I'm turning off Real Life Drive and thats right I'm hittin Easy Street on mud tires

  14. #364

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    Looks good. I've still got two sets of dark meat from our turkeys in the freezer.

  15. #365
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Co
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    Just got this picture from my dad. A Kansas Rio which gives him a grand slam this year and really this is his first Rio ever. A little bummed I got off work so late today as I was planning on heading over. Either way pretty cool
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    Last edited by Mudranger1; 05-22-2018 at 08:50 PM.
    I'm turning off Real Life Drive and thats right I'm hittin Easy Street on mud tires

  16. #366
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Co
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    Well he went from not being able to buy luck to 2 days in a row.
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    I'm turning off Real Life Drive and thats right I'm hittin Easy Street on mud tires

  17. #367

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    Velveteen shotgun.

    Congratulations to him!
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  18. #368
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Colorado Springs, Co
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    Quote Originally Posted by kansasdad View Post
    Velveteen shotgun.

    Congratulations to him!
    About 20 years ago now when he first really started hunting turkeys, he got this bright idea that the guns were too shiny. He did this to his and mine...needless ro say I lost my shit when I saw mine... nothing you can do. The blue is coming off when you peel the tape off...was such a nice looking gun
    I'm turning off Real Life Drive and thats right I'm hittin Easy Street on mud tires

  19. #369

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    Last weekend the tail-ender (youngest) kansasdaughter graduated with honors from high school. Various family members were in town for the weekend, and Aaron (kansasson) was jonesing for a turkey hunt. We were happily surprised to learn that lifetime license holders who live out of state get to pay resident fees for turkey permits.

    The severe thunderstorms that rolled through south central Kansas meant business with straight line winds and heavy downpours. I'm sure turkeys on a roost had a miserable morning, and woke up quite grumpy. That translated to us leaving the house much later than normal, so much so that we arrived after sunrise.

    Walking in, we didn't hear any gobbling on the public hunting area that has been my (almost) private playground this spring. I knew that my old hunting boots weren't waterproof anymore, and within 50 yards of walking, I was squishing in soggy socks already.

    We set up within yards of where I killed my second tom of the season and got comfy, as the plan was to not put out any decoys, and not attempt to call these hard pressed turkeys. We waited in vain, as we never saw or heard a bird in the now filling with vegetation dry lake bed.

    We decided to sneak out of the lake bed and peer onto the field we call "Applecore field" for the multiple applecores once found behind a log blind in a long ago turkey season. Standing in the trees that ring the field, we could see a half dozen birds working the far side of this huge ag field. Corn had been planted on the uphill portion of this field, and I suppose that once the ground allows, soybeans will be planted on the lower 3/4 aspect of this field. These birds were heading towards the east side of the field, and we decided to get moving with lightspeed to intercept.

    Arriving at the field edge and poised to strike, we were disappointed to find that the expected tom was nowhere to be seen. The cut corn was playing tricks with our eyes. Birds kept appearing and then disappearing, and finally we had to come to the conclusion that if there had been any toms or jakes on first sighting, they had given us the slip. Binoculars confirmed that none of these hens had a beard, which would make them a legal target, and we watched these hens begin to split up and head back towards their supposed nests.

    The temperature was fast approaching uncomfortably warm, and the sun was now high in the sky. Aaron wanted to go check out the ag field on the other side of the watercourse, so I watched his progress via the "Find a Friend" app, After checking out the field and finding it void of birds, he started back to where he had left me keeping watch over Applecore field. I knew that he was heading back towards me and i figured he was practicing his ninja skills. Had I been a turkey, I would have been a dead turkey, as kansasson has learned his sneaking lessons well.

    We decided that we would go ahead and check out one more ag field before we had to call it a day. Peeking around the shrubs that have grown up at the periphery of this cut soybean field, I saw birds feeding at the far end of the field. I looked long at these birds, counting four of them. And all of them were sporting a red head of legal birds. kansasson and I had a discussion on tactics. Our options discussed were decoys v no decoys, stay put v move, call v no calling. In the end we decided to move closer, which meant we had to belly crawl across ten yards of open field, and then work our way up the timber to hide our advance.

    Figuring we were halfway up the field, we sneaked into position under the Russian olives that line this part of the field. The four jakes were walking at a moderate pace, nearly even with us, and heading towards the bottom of the field that we had just left. A last ditch attempt at calling, only sped up their rate of travel. DOH!

    This is the face of a turkey junkey who realizes he has just been had by a bird with a brain the size of a pea.


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    We tried to figure out where these birds might have gone once they walked within 20 yards of where we would have been tucked into the bushes, hiding, waiting malice in our hearts.

    On the way out, we did find a beautiful example of Kansas state reptile, the ornate box turtle.


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    Although we didn't get a turkey today, the fact that Aaron got to flick his safety off as the jakes strolled by at a safe distance was a great bonus. I figure any day you get to spend with your favorite hunting partner is fantastic!
    No one can go back and make a brand new start, however anyone can start from now and make a new ending.

  20. #370

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    Great writeup! I had the same expression after a couple of encounters this spring.

    I'm digging the pic of the box turtle. They are quite common around our cabin. Have had to teach the boys about letting them be as they like to "collect" them.

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