I have never been much for hunting turkey as a team with another hunter but I often think about two older gentlemen we came to know in the Missouri Ozarks who really made a successful turkey hunting team.
To this day, I think about them a lot.
These two men were elderly by any definition. When I first met them, Jack had to be at least 80 years old; he had been in World War II and, in fact, had lost one of his eyes in combat.
Paul, also a veteran and a retired Illinois State Police trooper, was at least 70 when I first met him.
They lived in southern Illinois but somewhere along the line, they had heard about how good turkey hunting was in Missouri and they decided to give it a try.
Their choice of location to hunt in Missouri was in the Sunklands Conservation Area, a 40,000-acre public area along the Current River in Shannon County, where my buddies and I have hunted for years.
Because they were both retired, and living on fixed incomes, their hunting trip to the Missouri Ozarks was going to have to be an inexpensive one — or it wasn’t going to happen.
One of them had a small, single-axle camping trailer and the other had an old pick-up truck. So, the plan was to camp out in that trailer in the woods until they each killed the two turkeys allowed on their tags.
All of their food during the three weeks of hunting, if it took that long, was going to be cooked at their campsite. Most of it was canned food since they had no refrigeration.
To pay for this trip, they came up with a unique plan. They would drive out on various public highways near their home in Illinois.
Jack would let Paul off and then drive a half-mile down the road and pull over, get out of the truck and start walking in the opposite direction from Paul.