Kurt has been my friend since we were knee-high to a duck. We started out as toddlers, chasing crawfish and salamanders in the creeks and fishing and hunting once we were old enough. Kurt and I have been together for every major phase of our lives. Every stupid thing teenagers do, we did together.
As the years pass, we started families, and I moved away to find work and adventure. Although the two of us see each other about once a year, it's as though we never were apart. So, once I became somewhat financially stable, I surprised Kurt with a plane ticket to Kansas and a turkey tag. However, it didn't quite work out that well. (Three days before he was supposed to arrive, the aircraft carrier went under, grounding their flights... Sky Bus.) So out came the credit card and he arrived basically on time.
We drove to one of my favorite places in the United States. The Smoky Hills of Kansas. With abundant deer and turkey, it's a paradise for hunters. And probably, the most beautiful place in an otherwise flat state.
We made several stops at tourist destinations along the way, such as mushroom rock, an important place along the Oregon and California Trail. And took several photo-opportunities.
On the first day of hunting, I called in a gobbler to 20 yards. However, he came in completely silent, and we caught a glimpse of him running away when we stood up to move.
We walked our tails off on this hunt. We also found prairie dog and coyote to play with while crossing the never ending prairie of Kansas. I do know that out of 3 shots fired on the first day, there were no gobblers on the ground.
On the second day, we mostly screwed around and did things that most guys in their early 20's do... we drank. All day... and now I know, I shouldn't have done that. But, I recovered. Day 3 and 4 were spent in a cold and wet tent, where I learned the incredible importance of seam sealer and silicone spray!
But on day 5, we popped over a hill on the way back from checking out a prairie dog town, and there stood a nice tom just 20 yards away. Kurt pulled up with my 12 gauge over-under and fired two quick shots... and the bird ran away. After 5 days of hunting, it was time to return. And after 5 shots, it was time to hang it up.
I still remember this trip often, and I can't wait until we can get together again on a hunt. We’ve had to delay it for 2 years now, because one of us keeps getting his wife pregnant (Kurt)... Okay, I guess both of us.
But someday, 20 years from now, and hopefully 20 hunts from now, we'll look back and laugh at Kurt for missing all those shots, and remember life before responsibility. Hopefully, we will be enjoying this laugh with our sons, Carson Steidl and Wyatt Demiter and whatever Kurt has on the way next.
I'm sure you can tell by the pictures, but we had no problems seeing turkey!