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Local lead Governor's Turkey Hunt

Staff writer

At least four people from Marion County will participate this week in the 29th annual Kansas Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt. Its stated mission is “to provide hunting opportunity and youth education in the great Kansas outdoors.”

Janet Post of Burns is the executive director. Her husband, Pat Post, Bill Shirley of Marion, and Derek Benson of Peabody will serve as guides.

Hunters from all over the country are invited to participate, and each hunter is assigned a guide. Guides are responsible for contacting landowners and getting written permission to hunt on their land.

From the hunt headquarters in El Dorado, the hunters will fan out across the state Friday and Saturday, traveling as far away as Manhattan, Pretty Prairie, Fredonia, and Olathe.

Pat Post has been a guide almost since the event’s inception in 1987 under Governor Mike Hayden. Janet Post has been involved in the hunt for 21 years and became the executive director in 2013.

This year, 75 hunters and guides will participate in the turkey hunt scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

“We try to find a good mix of people,” Post said. “They can include CEOs, judges, politicians, sports figures, car dealers. The one thing they have in common is that they like to hunt turkeys.”

Two outdoors TV celebrities expected at this year’s event are David Blanton of Realtree and Preston Pittman of Mississippi.

Bill Shirley of Marion has been a guide for three years. This year he will guide a Bushnell executive from Overland Park. Bushnell manufactures sports optics. Shirley received written permission from Bob Kelly and Dale Geis to hunt on their land.

Derek Benson is in his sixth year as a guide. He has partnered with a CEO of UMB Bank, outdoors enthusiast Alex Rutledge, and an attorney with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

He is excited that his partner this year will be Billy Yargus, the winner of the national turkey-calling competition last summer. Benson won the state contest in 2013.

Callers use a flat horseshoe-shaped diaphragm that fits in the mouth and has a reed. Applying pressure on the reed with the tongue creates the turkey sound.

Benson said he spends a lot of time scouting out turkey locations before the hunt. Most of his permitted hunting ground is around Peabody.

He was concerned about the possibility of bad weather affecting this year’s hunt. Rainy weather is forecast throughout the week.

“We can hunt in the rain if it’s not storming,” he said.

Those who harvest turkeys will take them back to El Dorado to have them weighed and measured. The man with the largest turkey will be named “Top Gun.” He will win a gun, and his guide will win a turkey statue. The landowner will receive a piece of wildlife art.

Janet Post arranged social events that will begin Thursday evening and will culminate Saturday with a “One Shot Banquet” that includes awards and live and silent auctions.

“People like the hospitality,” she said.

Last modified April 16, 2015

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