What I Use: Loaded for Birds
Kevin Small, Turkey Guide, Rutledge Missouri
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.