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Achieving Grand Slam Success in the Chapters of Life

Spring has arrived, marking the onset of turkey season—a cherished tradition for my family consisting of my husband, David, and our three sons. David, strategically aligning his vacation with April 15th, always prioritized Turkey and Mushroom season. As an early achiever in bagging a turkey during the inaugural season in Callaway County, David set the bar high for our boys to follow suit.

Throughout the years, I have regaled countless tales of our turkey hunting escapades. Initially, I marveled at how the boys recounted their adventures with intricate details. Now, with time, I too vividly recollect each hunt and turkey tale we shared.

The hunts were peppered with amusing and exhilarating moments. Picture this—settling in, convinced of your camouflage, only to have a curious cow breathe down your neck unexpectedly. The tranquil government lands scouted meticulously beforehand would inexplicably host a herd of cows on the morning of your hunt. The irony of the pastures being leased out by the government precisely during turkey season remains a mystery.

With David relinquishing his hunting pursuits, our middle son, Randy, has seamlessly assumed the role of the family’s avid hunter. His ethical approach, characterized by profound respect for landowners and adherence to outdoor regulations, has earned him a reputation as a responsible hunter, ensuring continued invitations to hunt on various grounds.

Randy, encapsulating his turkey hunting journey, reminisced, “My foray into turkey hunting commenced at the tender age of 8, predating the concept of youth seasons. We all partook in the regular season together.” Guided by our trailblazing patriarch, David Kleindienst, renowned for his turkey hunting prowess, Randy and his brother Daniel embarked on their hunting expeditions, often culminating in success. Daniel’s initiation into turkey hunting at the age of 8, yielding a 26-pound gobbler with a 20-gauge shotgun, was swiftly followed by Randy’s inaugural hunt at 9, armed with the same borrowed gun.

Over five decades, turkey season has remained a pinnacle of the year for Randy, attributing his sustained success to his father’s early mentorship. Embarking on a quest for a grand slam—comprising four turkey subspecies—Randy achieved significant milestones, with two subspecies secured. Aiming for the elusive Osceola in Florida, renowned for its challenging nature, Randy, alongside his hunting companion Jake Bowman, navigated the treacherous terrain teeming with wildlife.

Battling formidable adversaries like mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds, alligators, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes, Randy’s perseverance paid off as he clinched the Osceola turkeys, completing his grand slam at age 61. Grateful for the opportunities afforded by the nation and the invaluable guidance from his father, Randy humbly acknowledges his ongoing pursuit of emulating his father’s outdoor acumen.

As turkey season unfolds, I anticipate another triumphant tale from our son, continuing the legacy of our family’s passion for hunting.