April 7, 2012

It’s time again for governor’s turkey hunt

If tradition holds, about half of the hunters at this week’s governor’s turkey hunt in El Dorado will get their bird.

If tradition holds, about half of the hunters at this week’s governor’s turkey hunt in El Dorado will get their bird.

Two of Kansas’ top politicians hope they’re part of that group.

“I have this bucket list of things I’d like to do, and one of them is to get a turkey,” said Wichita mayor Carl Brewer, a first-time participant. He has never shot a turkey but has had good success on pheasants, geese and deer for many years. He’ll be guided by former Gov. Mike Hayden.

Gov. Sam Brownback is also hoping to shoot his first turkey. Last year was his first turkey hunt, but all he got was totally soaked after hours of hunting in horrible conditions with few turkeys seen.

“It can’t be any worse than last year,” Brownback said, lightly calling on a slate turkey call during a telephone interview. “It was a fun experience, but this year I’m looking forward to getting a bird.”

Hunt director Becky Wolfe is expecting about 75 hunters for the Thursday through Saturday event. Many are repeat guests with assorted business, sporting and conservation backgrounds.

About 20 will be first-timers. Two are part of a new Hunting Heroes program.

“We’ve talked about it for a long time and wanted a way to honor the (disabled) military and those who serve communities, like police and fire departments,” Wolfe said. “This year it’s two from the military, but we will include others in coming years. Hopefully we’ll have at least two per year from now on.”

This year’s heroes are Marines that lost multiple limbs while in Afghanistan. Marine Sgt. Jonathon Blank is from Augusta. Army Cpl. Kenny Kalish is from Independence, Mo.

Wolfe said hunters will meet their guides Thursday evening and head afield well before daylight Friday. Many will also hunt Saturday.

The public is invited to witness hunters bringing in their turkeys to get weighed and measured at the Community Building, 206 N. Griffith, all day Friday and Saturday. Visitors can check out an array of booths and displays promoting assorted outdoors-based businesses, artists and conservation groups.

Tickets for Saturday’s banquet at Butler Community College’s Hubbard Welcome Center are $10 and must be reserved at 316-321-3835.

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