April 12: Dan Thurston

While seeing huge flocks of turkeys is exciting, Dan’s Kansas hunt proves that all it takes is one long beard to make contact.

In a rare circumstance, instead of his PSE, Dan had a 20 gauge Winchester SX3 on this gobbler mission. Mark and Wade met up with Dan on fellow DOD field staffer Greg Glesinger’s new farm in Kansas where the three were going to hunt Easterns. Dan arrived at the farm around 1:30 and didn’t waste any time getting suited up in his Nomad camo to begin hunting.

The guys were running and gunning when Mark got a response back to his yelping. They began maneuvering in to get closer, then hunkered down under a cedar tree to wait for the tom’s arrival.

As is often the case, this old tom didn’t come charging directly in. He kept going back and forth on the edge of a ridge. Knowing they had to close the distance, the guys crawled through a drainage area and Wade snuck out to set up the Avian-X Breeder decoy as an added enticement.

Mark’s calling eventually broke the gobblers will and brought him within 30 yards of Dan’s gun. That was all it took for Dan to let the Winchester bark. A spread of 20 gauge Long Beard XR shot dropped the first and only tom the guys saw that afternoon.

It had been a few years since Dan had killed with a shotgun and he quickly remembered just how much fun it is to hunt with one. Even though they weren’t covered up in birds, all it took was one for Dan to punch his tag in Kansas.

As told to Tim Kjellesvik.