With the turning in of my final MBA assignment yesterday, I was left in contemplation about what was next for me. Certainly more focus on my full-time job was in store. Perhaps I’d turn my business idea into a new company in the coming months. Or, maybe I would just relax. Who knows, I thought. So naturally I began rummaging through my hunting pack for no apparent reason. No hunter needs an excuse to admire and take inventory of hunting gear. I removed turkey calls, binoculars, gloves and flashlights until I reached the bottom and there it was; an unfilled Kansas turkey tag right before my eyes. In that moment, my next step after graduation was decided for me.
And how fortunate I was to also have a close friend, Caleb Phillippi, with a great piece of Kansas property just an hour out of Kansas City. We had been chatting earlier in the season about making an afternoon hunt during the week, and with my classes finally finished, the chance was finally here. We coordinated the trip and I snuck out early in the PM today to meet him.
Birds were everywhere when we arrived so we carefully used the terrain to maneuver our way towards a large field of corn stubble. We peeked through the edge of timber jutting into the field and immediately spotted several toms moving away from us. I belly crawled through a small drainage ditch towards them because they were unresponsive to my yelps. This late in the year, the grass was tall enough where it was hitting me in the face as I moved forward. Certainly annoying, but no more so than when I found myself crawling through several inches of water I was unable to see when I first started my crawl…
The whole thing turned out to be fruitless and I was left soaking wet. The toms had reached the opposite corner of the field by the time I got anywhere close to arising for a shot. It was time for a new game plan. Caleb and I regrouped back at the tree line to come up with our new stalk strategy. A heavy rain had gone through in the morning and an increasing wind was making for an ideal sneak scenario. We circled around the field and moved through the brush in “pro stealth” mode as Caleb referred to it later on. He was right though. The brush was so thick you couldn’t see the ground, yet we moved along soundlessly.
We ventured into the opposite tree line where we believed the turkeys had gone. I checked the edge of the field periodically and we were getting close to where we’d last seen them. I paused and told Caleb I wanted to check the edge one more time before closing in. Thank god I did. As I scanned the field, my heart almost exploded out of my chest as my gaze finally fixated on three toms hugging the trees less than 30 yards away. Best of all, they were moving towards my direction. I turned around and frantically whispered to Caleb, who had taken the liberty to check his phone at this moment, to get the camera up and get ready. Neither Caleb, nor I, are a master of sign language, so I’m sure my frantic hand movements and muffled whispering had him truly baffled.
No time to explain. 15 seconds passed and they were at 20 yards now and closing. I turned around and raised my shotgun. I centered my bead on the closest one through a foot-wide window in the brush and squeezed the trigger.
At 3:45pm and less than 2 hours into our hunt, I had my first Kansas Tom. What a way to start out life after my MBA.