I grew up turkey hunting the Ozark mountains in the River Valley of Northwest Arkansas and shot my first turkey at age 7 sitting in my Dad’s lap. Since then, Dad and I have shared a number of memorable moments in the turkey woods. My Dad was invited on a turkey hunting trip to K&K Outfitters several years ago, and knowing how much I share his obsession for all things turkey, his first statement to me upon returning home was, “We have to go back!”
Dad and I made our first trip to hunt with Keaton Kelso and K&K Outfitters in 2013. We killed three gobblers that year (should have killed a 4th except yours truly missed not one, but two gobblers), and in 3 days of hunting I saw and heard more turkeys than I had seen or heard in 10 years prior to that in Arkansas. We left the camp in 2013 with anticipation for returning in 2014.
In 2014, we were fortunate to again visit Keaton and ended up killing 4 gobblers on the first day. The morning birds both had double-beards and nice hooks. During the afternoon hunt, four gobblers came in and we ended up doubling for the second time that day.
Doubling on gobblers even once with your father and, in your eyes, the best turkey hunter around, is more than special.
Doing it twice in one day, well, you leave camp again with anticipation for the following year. As fate would have it, family obligations kept us from attending camp in 2015. In 2016, we again arrived in camp with anticipation of what the next 3 days of hunting would offer. Dad and I joked on the trip up to camp that it was hard not to be optimistic. As most turkey hunters worth their salt know, “optimistic” and “turkey hunting” can lead to disappointment.
Well, we killed 3 gobblers the first morning, all with 1.25″ in spurs and 10.5-11″ beards. We killed the last gobbler in typical Kansas fashion. He came up a cattle path around a creek and stood 8 yards from my father drumming and strutting for about 10 minutes. He eventually moved far enough for me to take the shot and our Kansas hunt had ended for another year with tags filled. After I made the shot on the second gobbler, my Dad jumped up, gave me a high-five, and said, “That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!” As you can guess, we left camp again in anticipation for 2017 and beyond.
To add a comment about Keaton, his guides, and the accommodations, they are all first class. Keaton is the first person up in the morning and it is very apparent that he cares about his hunters’ success. His guides are knowledgeable, personable, and also put in the time to help hunters have successful and enjoyable hunts. The camp is well maintained, the cabin and sleeping quarters are all clean and comfortable, and the food, well, let’s just say you won’t go hungry. Keaton’s wife Karen contributes to the cooking and her homemade meals always lead to second helpings.
Lord willing, we will have the opportunity to enjoy the best turkey hunting around for many years to come.