TURKEY ONE – Rick Barthelmass of Fenton, MO, got his first turkey with the help of friend and caller Mike Benecke on their first morning of the 2017 season. You’re never too old to try something new!
RAY’S SURPRISE – Ray Eye took this 24-pound, river hills gobbler with a .20 gauge Mossberg at 20 yards after the gobbler pitched from its roost above the Jacks Fork River on a rainy day and landed in front of him. Ray was in a Missouri Department of Conservation public area.
WHITELEY WONDER – Opening weekend of firearms season worked out well for the Whiteleys this year, Larry Whiteley reports. At left, Hunter Whiteley took this 11-pointer as well as a big doe on the opening morning. At right, a smiling Anna Whiteley is proud of the nice doe she got on opening weekend.
TURKEY TIMES TWO – Paul Hollis of RTP Outdoors went to Nebraska in April to find a turkey and came home with two, a Merriam (at left) and a Rio.
MOTHER-TO-BE – John Robertson, originally from St. Louis County and now living in Kansas City, caught this 9-pound-plus largemouth bass at Stockton Lake, fishing just ahead of a severe thunderstorm on the weekend before Memorial Day. He used a Missile Baits Baby D Bomb in the Love Bug color. His fishing partner, Greg Kitzelman of St. Louis County, snapped the photo. Because the big fish was about ready to spawn, they weighed it in the boat and released it.
TRUMAN HAUL – Tom McCracken, left, and Big Warren, both from St. Louis, caught three limits of white bass and crappie while fishing with guide Steve Blake out of Sterett Creek Marina on Truman Lake. Blake can be reached at (660) 525-0692.
FIRST CRAPPIE – Jerry Pabst reports that his grandson, Robbie Grabowski, age 8, got his first crappie, this 13-inch black beauty, out of a private pond in northern Illinois. Not a bad start, says Jerry.
LATE ARRIVAL – Frank Wagner, owner of Schwarz Studio Taxidermy in St. Louis, got this late-season Illinois gobbler in Pike County. He called it in to a strutting decoy with hen decoys right off the roost.
LONG LIVES – These mature gobblers were taken on April 24 in Hickory County, MO, by two guys who are working to build up the species – John Burk (above), Missouri and Illinois biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation; and R.L. Bennett (not shown) the Missouri state chapter president.
Bob Ballenger, 87, retired assistant principal of Rolla High School, now living near Stockton, MO, caught this 28-inch walleye at Stockton Lake by slow-trolling a live nightcrawler on a 3/8-ounce Roadrunner head. He was fishing with his wife, Ruth, who netted the fish and took this photo. The fish weighed just over 8 lbs.