The 27th annual Kansas Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt came to a close Saturday evening at the One Shot Banquet, held at Butler Community College’s Hubbard Welcome Center.
“Thank you all for coming,” said the Hunt’s Board President Rusty Patterson.
During the course of the evening, those in attendance heard about Kansas’ turkey management, conservation efforts around the country and passing along the hunting tradition to future generations.
“What we have in Kansas is something we need to pass on,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Operations Secretary Robin Jennison.
Youth hunters Hunter Harlow, Jacob Meis, Ashton Park, Kaleb Price, Gage Woodard and Courtney Jackson were recognized, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s JAKES Essay winner Amber Grigsby and Hunting Heroes Jonathon Blank, Michael Curtis Hall and Roger Dakin.
“The youth program started in 2002,” said Nancy Johnson. “Passing hunting on is what this is about. We are thrilled to have had six youth hunters each year.”
After Johnson thanked the youth hunters’ sponsors, Joel Pile talked about the Hunting Heroes.
“We are in our second year of our Hunting Heroes program,” he said. “This is an amazing program.”
Blank then presented the Hunt’s Executive Director Janet Post with a turkey call to thank her for supporting the program.
Next up was former governor and founder of the Hunt Mike Hayden, who talked about the efforts it took to build Kansas’ turkey population up to where it is today.
“The wild turkey was completely expatriated,” said Hayden. “For over 70 years, there was no turkey season in Kansas. It wasn’t easy to restore the wild turkey.”
Wild turkeys were reintroduced into Kansas in the 1960s.
Several past Top Guns, hunters who brought in the biggest turkey during the course of the Hunt, were recognized, as were the top five finishers in this year’s Hunt.
According to Hunt emcee Rob Keck, 39 turkeys were taken during the Hunt.
Top Gun was Mike Miller, with a score of 73.6875. Second place went to Jason Vanderbrink, third place went to Mike Hayden, fourth place went to Mike King and fifth place went to Adrien Hansen.
As the banquet came to a close, a live auction was held to raise money for future Hunts.
“I thank all of you for being here,” said Keck.