EL DORADO, Kan. — Tyler Gentry works in real estate, both in his profession and on his time off. Knowing the land is a key part of who he is. It made him a natural fit to help out with the Kansas One Shot Turkey Hunt in April. After all, this hunt carries the legacy of another that helped him pay his way through school.
Gentry received the Wayne Willis Scholarship in 2015, a grant funded by money raised through the Kansas One Shot Governor’s Hunt. That event’s organizers retired the name and the organization last year, but there were plenty who weren’t ready to let its tradition fade away. This spring, the Kansas One Shot Turkey Hunt was formed and held its first event, following in its predecessor’s pattern.
Gentry lived in Tennessee after college but always knew he wanted to come home. When he moved back to El Dorado, reaching out to the One Shot people was high on his list. He volunteered as a guide and helped hunter Ed Larson, with Bass Pro Shops, connect with a nice longbeard on the event’s first day.
Hunting spring turkeys is a field exercise in geography and mapping. That’s why Gentry is quick to call on his OnX Hunt app.
“I’m in real estate and do land management,” Gentry said. “I use OnX 10 times a day whether I’m hunting or not.
“This morning, we had birds gobbling and used OnX to see where they were, what terrain they were in and which property they were on. OnX gives you a whole new tool to determine the lay of the land.”
Gentry and Larson set up on gobbling turkeys before daylight, but they flew down and went the other way. Covering ground on foot, they found three more gobblers in the middle of a field but were thwarted this time by a lone hen that passed through in time to pull the big birds away.
Their third setup of the morning proved successful, though. They spotted a lone gobbler strutting in a field. OnX confirmed the bird was on land they had permission to hunt, so Gentry and Larson moved in. Low crawling let them cut the distance to 100 yards, then a few soft calls and some patience provoked the longbeard into meeting them halfway.
“It sure helps with Tyler knowing the birds and knowing the land,” Larson said. “Even though the birds didn’t follow the script, it made a world of difference having a guide who knew both the gobblers and the ground.”
For Gentry, the continuation of the Kansas One Shot Turkey Hunt helped him meet his mentors in the middle as well.
“I’ve always known I wanted to give back to an event that gave so much to me,” Gentry said. “It’s fun, it matters to people, and it’s important to keep it going.”