Michael Pearce

Governor’s Turkey Hunt off to strong start

Lori Winningham, Butler Community College Interim Vice President of Academics, was one of many successful celebrities at the first day of the annual Governor's Turkey Hunt in El Dorado. Her guide was John Moore. Winningham shot a larger bird, with three beards, a few hours later.
Lori Winningham, Butler Community College Interim Vice President of Academics, was one of many successful celebrities at the first day of the annual Governor's Turkey Hunt in El Dorado. Her guide was John Moore. Winningham shot a larger bird, with three beards, a few hours later.

So far, so great after the first day at the 30th annual Kansas Governor’s Turkey Hunt based in El Dorado.

As of the 5:30 p.m. end of registering turkeys, with 42 of 73 hunters had brought in turkeys to be scored. That success rate is believed to be the highest ever for a first day of the event.

The hunt uses the National Wild Turkey Federation’s scoring system of body weight+2Xbeard length+10x the length of each spur.

Hunter Joe Bisogno is in the lead with a bird that scored 70.375 points. It weighed 23.8#, had a 9 7/8” beard and spurs of 1 3/8” and 1 5/16”. He was guided by Warren Resner.

Governor Sam Brownback shot a tom scoring 63 points. It weighed 23.75 #, had a 9 5/16” beard and spurs of 1 1/16” and 1”. He was guided by Will Johnson. His son, Mark, also shot a mature tom.

Four of six Kansas youth hunters bagged birds. The biggest was shot by Avery Schill. It weighed 23.89#s, had a beard of 9 /16” and spurs of 1 1/4,” each. She got the bird in Chase County, guided by Tanner Swift.

Several hunters went back to the woods after registering their first bird, to try to fill their second permit. Lori Winningham, of Butler Community College, shot a second bird that had three beards and spurs of more than 1 1/4”.

Her first bird, the one that counts in the contest, scored 61.56. She was guided by John Moore. Thursday was her first day, ever, or hunting.

Outdoors television show host Michael Waddell, possibly the biggest name in the hunting industry, shot two mature toms in Chase County. He was hunting with guide Pat Post.

Most hunters reported seeing a lot of turkeys, especially two-year-old gobblers. They also said it’s early in the annual breeding cycle, and many of the biggest toms are still with hens.

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