Monthly Archives: February 2011

Gov. Brownback to attend Turkey Hunt

Wednesday the Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt announced Gov. Sam Brownback will be at the April 14-16 event in El Dorado.

It will be his first time to hunt wild turkeys though Governor’s Hunt staff said Brownback has enjoyed some other kinds of hunting.

Last year’s event was Gov. Mark Parkinson’s first-ever hunt. He shot a nice tom while guided by ex-Gov. Mike Hayden.

This is the 25th year for the event started in 1987. Every Kansas governor since has attended and shot at least one wild turkey.

It was also first-ever hunts for Gov. Joan Finney and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

Raccoon defeats wrestling team’s bid for championship

And yet another way a raccoon finds to complicate a human’s life.

In the past I’ve had them tear-apart motors on feeders to get to corn and unscrew the lid of Mason jars to get to chicken livers we had stored for catfish bait.

Now one of the furry bandits costs a North Dakota wrestling team a chance at a regional championship.

Click here to read a newspaper report on the recent event involving a road-killed raccoon that somehow became unkilled after it was put on the wrestling team’s bus.

Officials were later concerned the wrestlers may have been exposed to some disease that could have been passed on to other wrestlers.

OK, so maybe you have to wonder why a coach would let someone put a dead raccoon on the team bus or why someone heading to such  an important competition would even want to put a dead raccoon on their bus.

Fur prices are up some but it’s not like the pelt would have bought everybody on the bus dinner. Raccoon meat is pretty good to eat but it’s not like there was nearly enough meat on that one critter to feed two light weight or one heavy weight wrestler.

You have to wonder if there isn’t more to this story…or at least what was going through the minds of those involved.

A natural-born wing-shooter

I’ve seen some pretty memorable displays of wing-shooting over the past 40-plus years in Kansas’ hunting fields.  Monday I notched another “wow” display into my memory while watching Pfc. Dontrell Welch on his first-ever bird hunt.

Pfc. Dontrell Welch with the first of many pheasants he shot on his first-ever bird hunt. He consistently hit birds more-experienced hunters missed amid high winds and extreme cold.

His first rooster at Ringneck Ranch had been in the air for at least 60 yards with a very stiff wind at its tail. Welch folded it like a pair of clean socks when it passed 40 yards away.

A few covers later he notched a neat double when two hens flushed 30 yards away.

Boom, boom, thud, thud.

Several times he dropped birds after they’d been missed several times by experienced shooters.

And most of the birds he shot hit the ground stone-dead. And he was shooting a borrowed 20 gauge with a full choke.

A quiet 29-year-old, Welch eventually said he’d spent much of his life hunting deer, squirrels, wild hogs and raccoons in his native Georgia. As for his great display of shotgunning Welch said he wasn’t really thinking or aiming, just concentrating on the bird and hitting the trigger. Several people there, me included, told him he has a natural-born gift for shotgunning.

He was on the preserve pheasant hunt as part of  a Fort Riley program that gives guys like Welch a chance to spend some informal time with higher-ranking soldiers.

You can read about the program and the hunt on Sunday’s outdoors page.

100 degree swing in a few days

Wow. What a difference a few days can make. Saturday afternoon was so warm and calm I repeatedly had to stop and let Hank rest as we made a sneak on a flock of wild turkeys.

The temperature was in the low 70s on Saturday's hunt for turkeys.

I was afraid his loud panting would spook the birds so I had him stay 20-30 yards behind me as I sneaked along wearing a t-shirt. We eventually got downwind of the flock of about 70 birds and I sent the Lab charging forward for a good scatter.

We had to head to the truck for drinks and a few minutes in the shade before heading to the tall grass where the flock had scattered and Hank flushed a small bunch from a plum thicket like over-sized quail. Getting the bird I shot out of the heat and cooled was a concern.

And then Monday I was dressed to the max in single-digit windchills as I attended a shooting preserve pheasant hunt for some Fort Riley soldiers.

Windchills are currently about -30 as Fort Riley soldiers prepare to head out on a shooting preserve pheasant hunt.

They swear they’re hunting again today when windchills may reach -30.

That would basically mean a 100-degree swing in a few days. It will be so cold I’m not sure if I’ll head home after lunch or stay another day and try it tomorrow. Any kind of problem on these barren back roads in this kind of cold can get very serious in a hurry.

Welcome to Kansas, I guess.