Aim­ing for turkey tri­fecta

The Commercial Appeal - - Nba Autos - By Larry Rea Got an out­doors item of note? E-mail Larry Rea at lrout­doors@att.net or go to his web­site at lrout­doors.com; lis­ten to Larry Rea on “Out­doors with Larry Rea” on Satur­day morn­ings from 6-7:30 on ESPN 790-AM.

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. — Right away, you know Pat Kalmer­ton isn’t from th­ese parts. Sure, he’s turkey hunt­ing in North Mis­sis­sippi, but the ac­cent gives him away.

Plus, how many folks from Sheboygan, Wis­con­sin, come to Mar­shall County, Mis­sis­sippi, for a few days of turkey hunt­ing, es­pe­cially when you con­sider this wasn’t just any turkey hunt?

Kalmer­ton, 34, was on a re­cent quest to do some­thing few hun­ters have ac­com­plished. He came at the in­vi­ta­tion of farmer Bob Woods and his son, Robert, to kill Mis­sis­sippi’s sea­son bag lim­its of three gob­blers in less than a week us­ing a com­pound, cross­bow and shot­gun.

Or what Kalmer­ton, us­ing a bet­ting term, calls a turkey hunt­ing tri­fecta.

So it was on a re­cent day that Kalmer­ton was in the woods and fields of the Wood­ses’ 3,500-acre farm, ac­com­pa­nied by Robert Woods, Rod Hulsey and Chris Jen­nings.

Robert, 27, who played foot­ball on a cou­ple of state cham­pi­onship teams for coach Hugh Freeze at Bri­ar­crest Chris­tian in Mem­phis, was the group’s leader. Jen­nings is Mem­phis-based Ducks Un­lim­ited’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions co­or­di­na­tor. Hulsey is a lo­cal mill­worker and long­time friend of the Woods fam­ily.

It was through the love of avi­a­tion that Kalmer­ton and Robert Woods be­came friends, which led to an­nual trips to the Woods farm in pur­suit of deer and turkey and fish­ing for crap­pie, bass and cat­fish.

They met at an air show in Oshkosh, Wis­con­sin, sev­eral years ago. Robert was study­ing com­mer­cial avi­a­tion in col­lege be­fore a hunt­ing ac­ci­dent led him back to work­ing along­side his fa­ther on a farm that has been in the fam­ily for more than 100 years.

Kalmer­ton is co-owner with his dad, Roy, and brother Jerrad, of Wolf Pack Ad­ven­tures (wolf­pack­ad­ven­tures.com), spe­cial­iz­ing in Lake Michi­gan trout and salmon fish­ing out of the port of Sheboygan.

It was on a salmon fish­ing trip on Lake Michi­gan that Woods and his dad told Kalmer­ton that he needed to come hunt in Mis­sis­sippi. On his ini­tial trip to the Woods farm Kalmer­ton’s dad, Roy, a re­tired game war­den, killed his first white­tail deer, a good-size buck.

Thus was born a friend­ship that led to this year’s hunt.

“Dad and I used to go up there (Oshkosh) ev­ery year be­fore I started farm­ing,” Woods said. “We met Pat and struck up a friend­ship. It’s hard to for­get Pat.”

By that, Woods means Kalmer­ton’s out­go­ing per­son­al­ity.

“Hey, I love what I do,” Kalmer­ton said. “I’m living my dream.”

By age 12, Kalmer­ton was work­ing as first mate on char­ter boats; by 20, he’d earned his U.S. Coast Guard cap­tain’s li­cense. Now, he not only guides an­glers on Lake Michi­gan, but also helps de­sign and does pro­mo­tional work for many of the na­tion’s top fish­ing and hunt­ing prod­ucts, in­clud­ing Fra­bill all­weather gear.

On this day the group was hunt­ing in the Mar­i­anna area south of Red Banks, Mis­sis­sippi, on land that Woods’ great­great-grand­fa­ther first cleared and farmed.

Nor­mally, turkeys have been plen­ti­ful, but things have changed in 2015, ac­cord­ing to Robert, who be­lieves an ice storm that struck the area in March greatly af­fected this year’s hunt­ing. He is also among a grow­ing num­ber of Mis­sis­sippi turkey hun­ters want­ing a zoned sea­son.

“Our sea­son is early as it is (March 14-May 1), but the ice storm put ev­ery­thing about three weeks be­hind,” Woods said. “The last week­end of the sea­son will prob­a­bly be where it needs to be. I truly be­lieve we should have a split sea­son (start­ing ear­lier in the south and later in the north) di­vided by U.S. 82.”

So does Hulsey, who started turkey hunt­ing about four years ago.

“Th­ese birds have been tough (to kill) this year,” Hulsey said. “Turkey hunt­ing thrills me like noth­ing I have ever done be­fore. I would love to see the sea­son start for us the first of April and end in May.”

While he didn’t ful­fill his quest for a tri­fecta (he missed a big gob­bler with a shot­gun) Kalmer­ton hopes to try again in 2016, prob­a­bly on the Wood­ses’ farm.

“We had two birds that were work­ing,” he said of this year’s hunt. “I thought we were go­ing to dou­ble up. There were birds run­ning all over the place. But you know what? I had a great time and I’ll be back.”

That’s Wis­con­sin slang for “Y’all come back.”

In the end, Kalmer­ton prac­tices what he preaches. His com­pany’s motto is “Re­spect the el­der. Teach the young. Play when you can. Hunt when you must.”

Sounds like what some­body from North Mis­sis­sippi would say, right?

LARRY REA/SPE­CIAL TO THE COM­MER­CIAL AP­PEAL

Pat Kalmer­ton (left) of Sheboygan, Wis., went on a turkey hunt re­cently hosted by Robert Woods of Holly Springs, Miss., on fam­ily land in Mar­shall County, Miss.

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