DIFATTA: A trip to the Sooner State to find gobblers

By PHIL DIFATTA,

Outdoor information tends to get a little slim this time of year, and folks often ask me how I think of something to write week after week. That's a good question, too, especially when you consider my limited “thinking” capacity!

Turkey season went out with a bang May 1, for instance, so there goes a hot topic. No more turkey tales to lie, uh, write about. All in all, it was a good year, though. I worked really hard for the one fine bird I got, but I know of several hunters who tagged the legal limit in spite of frequent rains practically every day this spring.

But now it's all over but the crying... Oh, wait. Not so fast. It's not over, at least not for me and a hunting buddy, Scott Haigler. Oh, it'll cost us, but we're going to extend the season a week or 10 days. You see, as of this writing, I'm packing my bag and gun for a trip to the Kiamichi Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma, where the season won't close until May 6.

I first hunted the Kiamichi with legendary turkey hunter and World Champion caller Ben Lee so long ago I can't remember when (limited “thinking” capacity, or what?).  Ben, who was at the height of his fame, for some reason asked me, a lowly beginner of a pretend outdoor writer, to accompany him and his crew. The turkey hunting there was so great that I've been back every year since.

I met some wonderful Okies there and on one of my return trips I bought a parcel of land. It's all of five acres, but it allows me to hunt roughly 10,000 acres of PRIVATE land. And I only paid $2,500 for the whole shootin' match - the best $2,500 I ever spent (unless you ask my wife).

So, every year Scott and I make the eight-hour drive to Antlers, Oklahoma, and spend an enjoyable few days hunting and fishing. I know of at least three lakes on the property, and a great catfish creek runs through it. If the turkeys don't cooperate, we can, and do, fish. You just can't beat it, at least not for a reasonably priced trip.

What only adds to the time there is the fact that some Mississippi friends have bought into the Kiamichi Wilderness Association, and we try to plan simultaneous trips. Rickey Hankins, of Purvis, is one of 'em. Rickey and his buddies visit us as our camp, and vice versa, and the tall tales flow like a river around the campfire after a hard day of hunting or fishing, especially when a few “adult beverages” are involved.

In all seriousness, folks, you can't get much better than good huntin', good fishin', good times and, most importantly, good friends. So, the next time you find yourself thinking you just can't afford it, think again; you probably can. Enjoy the wholesomeness of the great outdoors, whether it's in Oklahoma, Mississippi or some other state. And when you go, remember to take a kid with you … every time you can.

President Jimmy Carter

Although I am one who disagrees with most all of former President Jimmy Carter's political views, I'm gonna say that he and I have at least one thing in common, and that's turkey hunting. According to Grand View Outdoors, while hunting at Real Tree Farms in Georgia, the 94-year-old recently bagged a nice gobbler. Congrats.

Spring squirrel

Don't forget that spring squirrel season runs from May 16 – June 1 this year. The daily limit is four, and it's a great way to introduce a kid to hunting.

PineBelt News outdoor writer Phil DiFatta may be reached at pdifatta@hotmail.com. Readers may also text photos, with contact info, to 601-596-4475.