Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time:

More on the high cost of hunting

As we keep looking at the hunts coming up in 2016 we will talk this week about hunting in the West.

Our first hunt out west will be in Wyoming, hunting with Carol and Don Ballard of Upton. Their prices are still the same at $250 for the total number of days it takes me to tag out. To date that has been one day each year.

Carol and Don are great people. She is a research doctor; he is a guide. She can put you on the turkeys as fast as he can, and she does it more often. I stay at their ranch and the food is melt-inyour month wonderful. Last time I hunted with them was in 2012, and my hunt lasted about four hours. The eating and drinking with good company lasted almost all night.

As with all hunts, there is always a funny story the outfitter. I was in a blind on their ranch and had killed a nice Merriam long beard when I heard a noise behind the blind. Keep in mind, there are many wild things in Wyoming that would like to make you the hunted, and of course a meal. The window zipped open and a face appeared. I recognized that big smile as Don put his head through the opened window and said, “Hey buddy, I heard you calling and shoot. Did you get him?”

I pointed to the big tom I had put in the blind with me, and Don said, “You know you sound just like a turkey, I just wanted to tell you that. You want me to take that one back for you?” I handed him the big boy and turned around just in time to see another one face to face, hoping it didn’t see or hear Don. Advantage me. All toms have on their mind is another hen at that time of year. I pulled the trigger and down he went. I looked back and there was Don going down to pick it up.

I still laugh over that hunt. I never touched the long beards other than putting the one in the blind and getting my picture taken.

Wyoming has stayed with its $72.50 price for tags, but what that state did was instead of letting you have two tags, they put one in a drawing and put on a conservation stamp that costs you $12.50 more. So in order to get two stamps, you must get drawn and pay the fee for the conversation stamp. If you don’t get drawn, you end up with one turkey tag.

Who in their right mind would drive a total of 3,000 miles for one turkey? What just a few years ago cost $72.50 now costs an extra $95. It’s another example of raising the cost to hunt. Next week, we will take a look at Kansas.

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