For the past 22 years, Kevin Small, 38, has guided turkey hunters in northern Missouri. He started his own guide service, KT’s Trophy Hunts, five years ago and is a pro staff member for Traditions firearms and Mossy Oak. By his own reckoning, Small’s hunters usually have close to a 90 percent success rate. “But we’re lucky in this part of Missouri,” says Small. “We’ve got a lot of birds, and some big ones, too.”
**Calls **I take out the slate first thing in the morning and run it a long time, then usually switch to a box or mouth call. I often start with my slate M.A.D. call. But as the birds’ calls change in tone through the day, I go to my American Friction cutting call. I can really tweak that one. My locator call is a 903 Lohman owl hooter-it’s nice and loud.
Outfit I use a half mask because I can see better and put it on quickly. Then I wear layers of Whitewater-brand clothes with Gore-Tex for comfort. Break-Up is my usual camo pattern. I wear a Bucklick Creek Vest, which has a drop-out seat. It’s not the lightest thing in the world, but if you strike a bird you can sit instantly with support. You don’t need a tree to rest against. My boots are 18-inch LaCrosse Burlys. They’re light and make it easy to cross all the shallow streams where I hunt.
**Shotgun **Most often I use a Traditions ALS 2100 Turkey Hunter, and sometimes a Traditions Turkey Pro in-line in 12-gauge. They’re both really durable and reliable. I load Remington Hevi-Shot in my ALS-its knockdown power stays strong at longer ranges.
**Optics **My binoculars are a Swarovski 7×42 SLC. They’re great in low light. No scope on the gun, just TruGlo sights.
Bug Repellent A small amount of Ben’s 100 (95 percent DEET) always works.