Outdoors Newsletter
April 21, 2014

Brownback has short hunt on short stay at governor’s hunt

Gov. Sam Brownback was a no-show at all three social events at last week’s Governor’s Turkey Hunt in El Dorado. He did, though, slide down from Topeka long enough to shoot a nice turkey early Friday morning, the first day of the 28th annual hunt.

Always pressed for time with political matters, Brownback’s schedule was especially tight last weekend because of the wedding of his daughter on Saturday.

According to John Moore, his guide, they got set up near a roost in Butler County and Brownback shot a bird about a half-hour after the start of legal shooting hours.

“We just got lucky, and got it right off the bat,” said Moore. “The birds were on the ground maybe 20 minutes when we finally got him coaxed over and we shot him.”

Moore said there were several jakes in range when Brownback shot the tom at about 15 yards. The bird weighed 21.75 lbs. had a 10 3/4-inch beard and one-inch spurs. Brownback didn’t stay to attempt to fill his second permit.

“He was in a hurry to get out of there,” said Moore, who has been guiding on the annual hunt in El Dorado for about 20 years. “I think he would have hunted through the morning, but once he had a bird he was pretty much gone.”

More updates

Some good fishing patterns are trying to get rolling, though frequent cold fronts have been playing havoc on white bass and crappie spawns. Hopefully the next few warm days will get the whites spawning on rip-rap and up what few rivers have decent flow. Crappie have been in and out of the shallows at several lakes. They, too, just need some steady weather to really break-lose.

Most turkey hunting reports have been coming in pretty favorable. The Governor’s Turkey Hunt in El Dorado had a success rate of about 70 percent, the highest in quite a few years. Most people reported seeing a lot of yearling jakes and two year-olds, which bodes well for the future.

Most bird northward migrations appear to be about on track. A few warblers are starting to show up in central Kansas, but the main push is clearly yet to come.

Most Kansas conservation and sportsmen’s conservation groups are breathing sighs of relief after some outdoors-threatening bills got stymied in the legislature a week or so ago. They’re also nervous about what could happen when the legislators come back on April 30.

Upcoming coverage

Sunday’s Outdoors page will have a feature on the Kansas Singletrack Society. It’s a Wichita-based group of mountain biking enthusiasts who manage four local biking trails, including the two-mile track at Air Capital Memorial Park, near Kellogg and Maize Roads. Several of the members met me there Tuesday afternoon to talk about the group, their trails and their programs. The photography opportunities were pretty good so there should be a photo gallery at kansas.com/outdoors to go along with the feature.

The page will also have coverage of Thursday’s Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting at the Great Plains Nature Center. This will be the first meeting where season dates for waterfowl seasons will be discussed. It has been the most pretentious subject at commission meetings the past several years.

Next Monday through Wednesday I’ll be at Elk City State Park, working on the six-part, monthly feature on a particular state park, with a related article on that Sunday’s Outdoors page, too. I’m hoping the redbuds are still in bloom along the well-known Elk River Hiking Trail, and the crappie are in the shallows. As much as most of Kansas needs the rain, I hope the showers in the forecast for Sunday don’t flood the lake. It doesn’t take much rain for Elk City Reservoir to turn into Elk City Inland Sea.

Down the road a bit I’ll be working on a feature on the stone fences of Kansas. I’m guessing we have thousands of miles of the 100-year-old-plus structures that were laid one stone at a time, with little in the way of modern tools or conveniences.

I’m also hoping to write a column about a particular kind of turkey that’s by far my favorite. The story will begin with an old southern gentleman’s opinion of God’s three greatest gifts to him. It should be a fun article.

Michael’s World

Spending Friday and most of Saturday hunting turkeys with Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas, was one of my more enjoyable assignments. She was joined by her father, Mark, guide Pat Post and a couple of cameramen shooting a segment for Limitless, her upcoming series on the Outdoor Channel.

She’s an impressive young woman, and those who only judge her by her looks are missing out on many much stronger attributes. I particularly like her maturity, dedication to her military career and healthy living, intelligence, sense of humor and flat-out deep love of hunting and about anything else outdoors.

Post had done a great job of scouting and lining up great hunting properties and there was no shortage of turkeys. It’s always a joy to spend time along the clear streams of Chase County.

He also showed us his secret weapon, a hybridized turkey decoy that pulled three toms away from a hen and had them come from about 350 yards away to about five yards. He calls his special fake Stinky. I made my version and haven’t named it yet. We’ll see if it works in the next few days, I hope.

After filing all of my outdoors page stories on Friday, my young friend, Jacob Holem, and I will be off to try to fill my second turkey permit near Garnett. A friend has opened some pretty sizable turkey properties to me and I want Jake to experience the fun of move and call hunting. He’ll do a lot of the calling.

This week’s freeze was timed for just when our first asparagus spears of the spring were coming up. I got a few clipped, lost a few to the cold and have more coming. Hopefully we can have our first nice batch on Easter.

My planned vegetable garden expansion got put on hold, partly because of the drought and largely because Kathy has decided we need a new, circular flower bed added to our backyard. It will be fun working on it with her...that ought to get it to rain!


Michael Pearce


Lemon-Herb Turkey Breast

2 lbs. boneless wild turkey breast

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tsp. rosemary

1 tsp. oregano

2 tbs. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 cloves garlic

Mix all ingredients but the turkey. Pour the mixture over the turkey breast in a Crock-Pot and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, basting the turkey occasionally with the sauce.

Bass Pro Shops