Missouri hunt connects habitat dots

Turkey hunting has been an existential quest for Mason Stapp, 28, of Anna, Texas. The higher his hunting game climbs, the deeper his love for the birds seems to grow.

“It’s really hard to capture in words what I love most about turkey hunting,” Stapp said. “There’s the feeling of everything waking up in the morning, being part of the regrowth of the Earth from the dead of winter, hearing all the songbirds first thing in the morning and, if you’re lucky, hearing a turkey sing.

“The whole experience is fantastic, and it just gets better when you can share it with a friend or a family member or a child.”

Stapp’s journey began at the age of 8. He was allowed to start carrying a gun at 10 and, when he turned 16 and a driver’s license opened the wonders of the hunting world to his discretion, the adventure was well and truly on. 

“In the last couple years I’ve taken my turkey hunting to another level,” Stapp said. “I’ve started working much harder on the management side, trapping a bunch of nest predators.

“I just really enjoy the wild turkey”

The hunt Stapp won seems ideally suited to his nature. It’s to be co-hosted by Jordan Barnes, of @closeproximity, and Dr. Bret Collier. Barnes is an archery specialist whose streaming channel is packed with evidence of his own deep devotion to the ways of the wild. Collier, of Louisiana State University, has been actively studying wild turkeys in their natural habitat all of his adult life. 

Along with the hunt, set for the grounds of Missouri Bucks and Beards April 21 to April 24, this raffle came with an invitation from Dr. Collier to attend a rocket net trapping of turkeys at a future date and location to be determined.

“I’m really just looking forward to the experience and the camaraderie,” Stapp said. “I expect to learn a bunch. I’m a bowhunter myself, and I’m excited to learn from Jordan’s woodsmanship. Hopefully he can give me pointers on bowhunting for turkeys.

“Dr. Collier will be outstanding to learn things from that I can take back to my home turf and apply to make our population healthier and outstanding.

“I’m happy and thankful for the opportunity to be included in the TFT family,” Stapp said. “I’m extremely happy to be a part of it all.”

To see more about where they’ll be hunting or to book your own Missouri adventure, check out Missouri Bucks and Beards at https://northwestmissouribucksandbeardsoutfitters.com/.

Jordan Barnes, of @closeproximity, and Dr. Bret Collier will co-host the Missouri hunt for TFT.

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