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Save the Lifestyle

Spring 2019 Turkey Season Overview

Dennis Brune

ALPS Owner

Again in the Spring of 2019, I gave ALPS Team members the opportunity to have a day off with pay to turkey hunt, but with a slightly different twist this year—to get this day off with pay, you needed to hunt with either a brand new hunter, or convince a "dormant hunter" it was time to go again.

Listed below are those stories, straight from the pens of our awesome team members, in un-edited format, so you can see exactly what they had to say about their experiences. Current marketing experts suggest most consumers won't have the attention span to read more than 500 words at a time, so if you fall into that category, we completely understand, because what is listed below is way past 500 words! But if you are somewhat new to the sport of hunting, you might want to pick out at least several of the stories, because I do believe they will give you some extra insight into the "why" so many of us like to hunt and be outdoors.

Derek and Ellie

Husband and wife team, both from ALPS


Derek and EllieThis year ALPS has been able to provide all employees to take out a new hunter to experience the outdoors. I was lucky enough to be able to take my wife, Ellie. She has always been intrigued by my passion for hunting so when this opportunity came about, she found it a good time to be able to push herself to try this out for the first time. She has been out with me a few times earlier on in our relationship, but has always just been to accompany me and not be the "hunter".

When the morning came for our turkey hunt, you could see the excitement on her face. As the sun started to crest the hillside, "gobble, gobble, gobble", sounded off right down the hillside from us. We both looked at each other and got her situated for what we thought was going to be a very quick morning. Unfortunately, from that moment on, the day really slowed down. The rain started to move in and when that bird hit the ground he was nowhere to be found. We sat the rain out for a while and then tried another property. Still no luck.

We were able to get a lot out of this day, even though we weren't able to connect with a bird. Ellie was able to learn how to use a slate call, although we still have a lot of practicing to do on that. In between searching for turkeys, we ran into a mess of morel mushrooms to pick for dinner that night. I look forward to next turkey season and being able to take her out again, and hopefully being able to help get her first bird!


This year was my first-time turkey hunting with the intentions to shoot; this was actually my first hunt ever with these intentions. I've accompanied my husband, Derek (who was also my mentor), on other hunts prior to this day, but only to tag-along. I've witnessed a few successful hunts with him, and although it was bit traumatic for me (in a slightly over-dramatic, 'please don't shoot, I'll cry if you do' kind of way), I was open to the idea of accomplishing a successful hunt for myself. I've mainly been curious if I could get over my fear of shooting an animal, and if it would be something I'd truly start to enjoy.

Unfortunately, my mentor and I didn't see any turkeys this day, so I don't feel like I quite experienced the thrill of a true hunter, but I did learn quite a bit. Leading up to this morning, Derek taught me how to use a slate call, in hopes I would be able to call a turkey in myself (I didn't—I have much more appreciation for this skill now, it's hard!). Although I didn't make the cut to call a turkey in myself, it was so awesome to hear the birds talk back when Derek did it. Even though we weren't able to get a bird in front of us, it was worth it just to hear them gobble from afar!

It was a bummer for the both of us we didn't get to see any turkeys this day. But in the end, we were both very happy with the experience. Just being outside all morning was a great for us. We started with turkey hunting and ended with mushroom hunting. Overall, my experience hunting with my mentor was great. I know I still have a lot more to learn, but I think we are both up for the challenge!


ALPS team member, mentoring his wife Katelyn

Katelyn and I went turkey hunting on the last day of the season, Sunday, May 5. I've included two pictures in the attachment. I had a great time having her along with me, but I think she's going to be more of an afternoon deer hunter from now on. As you can probably tell from the photos, waking up at 4:00 a.m. wasn't her favorite part of the experience. We didn't see any turkeys, but we heard a few. She seemed to think that was pretty cool. After she figured out what it was we were trying to listen for, she stayed tuned in until we called it quits.

For me, the biggest difference between bringing a first-timer and going alone was the emphasis put on making sure the hunt was an enjoyable experience for her, rather than doing everything I could to kill a turkey. I probably wouldn't have stayed in a blind the entire morning, and I certainly would not have brought snacks with me if I were alone, but doing those things made her more comfortable. When I was younger and my uncle would take me hunting with him, he always suggested making yourself as comfortable as possible to stay out longer. If he was serious about killing a deer, he probably wouldn't have let a kid sit in his stand with him, drink soda and eating donuts all morning. I think it's important to understand what you're really out there to do when you have a new hunter with you.

Colby and Ashley

Husband and wife team, both from ALPS


Colby and AshleyOur morning started early, with the alarm going off at 3:45am. We had a long drive, and a long walk ahead of us. The Smith Farm, where we hunted at, was about 30 to 45 minutes away from our Home. Our walk was the better part of a half mile up a hill to where I call Gobblers Ridge, and I know I Ashley was going to need to take a few breaks, I can only guess that being pregnant really take it out of you. But I have to say she was a trooper, no complaints just all smiles.

We get up to where we were going to hunt nice and early, having hunted this ridge religiously for the last few years, so I know if birds aren't bumped, or if weather doesn't move in where they will more than likely be. We get the decoy set up and get all of our gear in order, and just like clockwork, the woods waken and Turkeys start gobbling.

We sit there for a while quietly talking and making a few soft limb calls, and we are getting answers almost every time. When it is time for fly down, I make a fly down cackle. immediately we get a response. After the response we hear Thunder, which make the turkeys shock gobble, and we realize the Toms are coming closer. I know that if it starts raining the birds will get out of the woods and head to the low fields. And being up on a high ridge in a storm, with a gun, is not the place to be. So, we make our way to camp. By the time the rain stopped it was around noon. With only getting to hunt till 1 we made the call to call it a day.

Although we didn't have the chance to harvest or even see a bird, it was still a success. Getting to share the hunt with my wife was a lot of fun for me. She asked questions about calls, and what if situations. I hope that she will continue to want to hunt, she was a great hunting partner.


Saturday, April 27th at 3:45 AM the alarm went off. I would typically sleep right through this alarm, knowing that only Colby is waking up to go hunting. But, not this morning. I would be going out for my first real turkey hunt with my husband. I was pretty excited to get out in the woods, learn the ins and outs of turkey hunting, and hopefully harvest my first bird.

We had a little bit of a drive that morning to get to the Smith Farm, then a trek mostly up hill to where we were going to set up. I definitely got my workout in for the day! Once we reached the top field, we stopped and listened to see if we could hear any turkeys yet. We started hearing a couple over on the ridge so we made our way just into the woods and set up the decoy and planted ourselves down under a tree. It was so peaceful that morning in the woods. Colby made a few calls and I would ask questions about the different calls. It seemed like we were getting the birds to talk back every time he made a call. I tried to pay really close attention to see if I could tell how many Toms were around us that we were hearing. Colby said he thought there were four or five of them. I thought for sure one would come our way since they all seemed so close. Right about then we could hear the storm coming in so we decided to walk down off the ridge in case the weather got worse. We sat in one more spot a little way down the hill and quickly had another Tom talking back to us. Unfortunately, the wind started to pick up quite a bit and the Tom had gotten farther away from us. At that point it had started raining so we made the trek back down the hill to the farm house.

Overall this experience is one that I'll always remember. Even though neither of us harvested a turkey that day, we still enjoyed being out in the woods together. I'm so thankful my husband has a passion for hunting and is willing to share his knowledge with me. He has always invited me to go with him any time he goes out, and is always so patient with me as I learn. He is a great mentor to me and I know he will be a great mentor to our children and anyone else willing to learn.


ALPS team member, hunting with her brother

DebbieHi, my name is Debbie and I have worked for Alps Brands for 25+ years and am very excited about the mentoring program for turkey hunting. Growing up with 3 brothers in a family that hunts and fishes I have had many opportunities to spend a lot of time in the outdoors. I have hunted for deer, coyotes, and fished most of my life; but, I had not ever turkey hunted until just a couple of years ago. My older brother quickly volunteered to take me out turkey hunting and my love for this season has only grown over the last three spring turkey hunting seasons. On our first season, the second day out I bagged a Jake and ever since then my goal has been to learn to call on my own and to get a more mature bird.

I still practice my own calling (mouth and slate) so that I can get out there on my own, and also pass on the bug that I have been bitten by (my love for turkey hunting) to my husband and two daughters, but any opportunity that I get to sit alongside my brother as we turkey hunt, I truly treasure. No one can take the memories that we are making, whether we end the morning with a kill or not. I love being in the woods as everything wakes up and the anticipation of a gobbler coming in.


ALPS team member, hunting with her son

I have always been around hunting. My Dad and five brothers were all avid hunters. I married a hunter, who also then taught our son to hunt. I have always enjoyed preparing and eating any game that was harvested. As much as I love being outdoors and even taking the hunter education class along with my son, I had never really even seriously considered hunting myself. That all began to change when I started working at ALPS Mountaineering. Listening to the stories and experiences of the turkey hunts from some of my female co-workers sparked my interest. I thought, if they can do this, maybe I can, too! Then came the first challenge from our owner, Dennis, to participate in the Rise and Fly campaign. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and spent two days in the woods, one day with my husband and one day with my son. We saw some hens and heard some gobblers, but none of them would come our way! Even so, we had a great time! There is just nothing to explain how neat it is to watch the woods "come to life" in the early morning!

Then this spring came the second challenge from Dennis—to participate in the Save the Lifestyle campaign. Once again, I thought this is something I want to do. My son shot a 25 lb. gobbler the first morning of the season and agreed to take me out hunting the second day. We heard several gobblers again, but nothing would respond to his calls. Disappointing? Yes, a little. But take-a-ways: I had no idea that hoot owls make the noises that they do! Hearing a turkey gobble runs a little chill up your spine! Fox squirrels are amazing little trapeze artists! Woodpeckers are very beautiful and interesting birds! Spending a morning enjoying God's beautiful creation with your adult son is priceless!

I hope to have the chance to go sit in a blind in the woods with him again and hopefully, just maybe, I may have the opportunity to shoot at a bird myself! Until then, I am convinced that he will pass along the passion that he has for the outdoors with his nephews and any children he may be blessed with!

Heather and Zach

Wife and husband team, both from ALPS, hunting with their son Landon


Before Zach and I had kids, we could hunt whenever we wanted. Then, we had babies and it was a struggle to decide who stayed home with the babies while the other hunted. Now as two of our kids are older, we are blessed to get to share these experiences with our two young boys!

This spring turkey season was our youngest boy Landon's first hunt of any kind. Since his birthday in January, he had patiently waited for what seemed like an eternity to a six-year-old. To say he was excited is an understatement! Zach and I were both excited as well, so excited, that we both wanted to experience his very first hunt together—all three of us. Neither of us wanted to miss that moment with him!

We spent a morning before season target practicing and familiarizing him with shooting a shotgun. He picked it up pretty quickly and really enjoyed checking the target each time he shot! It was an important part of the mentoring process, but it was also a great day spent with family doing something we all enjoy!

A few weeks later was opening day of youth season here in Missouri. The three of us, along with my dad and our oldest son Cole who would also be hunting, woke up well before dawn to make the drive up north to our hunting ground. After our arrival, we made the trek to our blind and in the dawning light could watch our little guy mosey down the path with a "strut." He was ready and I was proud!

The rest of the morning unfolded with a lot of excitement. We had a couple gobblers working and even a bearded hen made an appearance for us. We never got an opportunity to take a shot at a tom, but it'll be a hunt to remember. Even without a filled tag, Landon said he's ready to go again and that's all we could ask for!

It's opportunities like this first hunt with our son which help me realize how this tradition has come full circle for Zach and I. It's our turn as parents to share our passion for hunting and conservation to do our part to Save the Lifestyle!


This youth season for Spring Turkey was truly a special moment for me. I was fortunate enough to be able to hunt with my youngest son, Landon and my wife. This was Landon's first-time hunting and he was very excited. The morning started off pretty early with a 2-hour drive but both my boys were ready to go! Grandpa was able to hunt with my oldest boy while me and mom were able to go out with Landon. Landon was full of questions and to see him with his hunting gear on was truly a proud moment for me. Knowing he had been counting down this day since he turned 6 a few months ago, there was no doubt we could miss this.

We did have plenty of action around us most of the morning but wasn't able to seal-the-deal. I somewhat regret not having him shoot at a bearded hen but we had a gobbler working us pretty well, and I was sure he was going to come in…until some hens cut him off. Oh well. That's hunting and a good experience for Landon to understand that it's not always easy. Seeing the excitement on his face knowing he was old enough to be able to come hunting with our family is something I'll never forget and I can't wait to continue and teach my children everything I know about the outdoors, and also learning so much more with them.

It's safe to say that hunting is so much more than the kill, and anyone that thinks otherwise might be missing the big picture.

Nick and Lynette

Brother and sister team, both from ALPS


Nick and LynetteMy turkey hunt started as a family weekend at our family's property in the Ozarks. I was taking my sister on her first turkey hunt. We arrived at the cabin on Friday evening and cooked a good dinner and then sat by the fire as a family, including myself, my wife, daughter, sister and both my parents. Knowing we'd have to get up early we all went to bed earlier than normal. We woke up early on Saturday morning and got all our gear ready and headed out the door. The eastern sky was just starting to show signs of light as we walked up to the ridge top. We made it to a good place to listen for and locate a bird. It was cloudy and windy, which make it difficult to hear. We never did hear anything gobble. After not being able to locate any birds, we moved to a good spot to sit and do a little calling. We never did get a response to calling or even hear a gobble in the distance (very rare for the area). I blame it on the wind. We decided to give up and head back to the cabin. I took a path that I knew went through a good morel mushroom spot and when we hit the spot, I spotted a morel instantly. I pointed it out to Lynette and then she started looking around and spotted one too. She got excited because it was the first morel she'd ever found. We ended up finding 15-20 large morels. She said finding the morels made her day, so at the end the day it didn't matter that we didn't get a bird. It's always great to be out in nature so for me the day was a great success.


When ALPS invited their employees to participate in their STL mentor day I immediately knew I was interested in participating. My brother Nick, also an ALPS employee, and I grew up in an extremely outdoor-loving family. Some of my favorite memories from my youth are from family camping trips, days spent fishing and playing in the woods behind my childhood home. While my brother and father are avid hunters, I'm currently not a hunter, but with the help of my brother and the support of ALPS I'm hoping that will change.

My family owns hunting property in southern Missouri that my brother and father have labored over extensively through the years. From growing and maintaining food plots to designing and building the solar-powered cabin, they've built something that our entire family appreciates, not just the hunters. After Nick agreed to take me out turkey hunting for the first time, we marked a weekend on the calendar and planned our weekend trip to the cabin as a family.

We woke up early Saturday morning, got ready to go and headed out the door. As we walked through the dimly-lit woods I quickly realized I was out of my element and was happy my brother was there for me to look to for guidance. The weather wasn't great. It was cloudy and windy with occasional light rain which made it hard to see and even harder to hear. After some time, Nick said he didn't think we'd have any luck and we headed back to the cabin. As we walked through the woods along a trail, Nick stopped and pointed to the ground. Right in front of us were several morel mushrooms. While I had never been turkey hunting, I have been mushrooms hunting many, many times without any luck. To say I was excited would be an understatement! In total we found about 15 mushrooms in that one spot.

The remainder of our weekend consisted of looking for more mushrooms, fishing and sitting around the fire as a family in the evening. While we may have not had any success in getting a bird the weekend was still a great success and I'm definitely interested in going out hunting again.


ALPS team member, hunting with her son Jonathan

LynnI grew up on a small farm that has approximately 80 acres and my mom still lives there today. When the Spring STL program was announced, I asked if she would keep an eye out for turkeys in case I wanted to hunt there. Her property is rarely used for any kind of hunting, but she usually sees plenty of wildlife.

Early in the season, she saw a group of about 10 turkeys on her property off and on several times, not too far from her house. Hunting on her property ended up being a last-minute decision and took place at the very end of turkey season, and she had not seen any turkeys for at least a week at this point.

About a week prior, in anticipation of hunting, I practiced shooting at targets. Since I am still not all that familiar with guns, I felt like I for sure needed to familiarize myself with shooting again. Shooting was an enjoyable experience in itself. I had one-on-one instruction and that really helped my confidence and comfort level with shooting.

On the Friday evening before our planned hunt, Jonathan said we had to put the turkeys to bed. It sounded funny to me because I had not ever heard of this and had no idea what that meant. He explained to me that it meant to try and get the turkeys to get in their roosts for the night. We walked into the woods and he started hooting like an owl—but did not get any response.

We stayed overnight at Mom's to get the earliest start possible without having to get up and drive anywhere. We got into our blind by 5:30 a.m. I tried to be as quiet as possible, but my "mentor" said I was being too loud. It was a rainy morning so it was nice that we were in a blind and covered. We sat and waited, watched and listened for what seemed like forever. Jonathan tried a box call, a slate call and a gobbler call. We didn't see or hear any turkeys—but it was enjoyable to be so close to nature, all the sounds and peaceful surroundings. It was still raining around 8:30 a.m. so we decided to go eat breakfast and come back later. We went and ate and then got back into the blind about 10 a.m. The weather had started to clear up but we still did not see or hear any turkeys. We decided to give up on the turkeys and go fishing about noon. The weather was really beautiful by then and we decided to further enjoy spending the day outside.

We tried hunting again for a short time Sunday morning. I hadn't completely given up hope and I was enjoying spending time outdoors anyway…and since my mentor happens to be one of my favorite people, it was nice to spend that much time with him. We again didn't hear anything or see anything that remotely suggested any turkeys were near. I would definitely go turkey hunting again; it was really enjoyable despite the fact that we were unsuccessful at getting a turkey.

One other thing I would like to mention is that everyone at work was so helpful in giving me the equipment to use along with advice, tips and tricks. I love that our ALPS team is so genuinely supportive of each other. I am so appreciative that I was given this opportunity through work—I am 100% positive I would not have even thought of or considered turkey hunting this spring without the suggestion from ALPS.


ALPS team member, hunting with her husband

TammyThis was my second time turkey hunting with my husband. We listened to a couple gobblers across the creek all morning, but had no luck calling them in. We did see one hen that we watched walk across the field for about an hour. Unfortunately, we did not shoot a turkey, but it was another great experience. I love watching the outdoors come alive at dawn. I am now going to do the training for my own hunting license.

Rachael and Kelly

ALPS team members


On April 22nd I had the privilege of being apart of a mentorship that would endeavor the opportunity of saving the lifestyle of hunting. My mentee was my lifelong friend and co worker Kelly Brueggemann who was fresh into the lifestyle hunt of turkey. The morning was an exciting opportunity to pass on the tradition of learning to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors as well as conserve. As we geared up for our hunt, I was ambitious to demonstrate to Kelly how to call for our game. I decided to take Kelly to my in-law's land located in Hermann, MO that had sights of turkeys throughout the season. As we settled into our blind that was designated within the wood-line overseeing a valley ravine, the hunt was about to begin. Teaching Kelly to call in for a bird was a true value tradition that I was proud to pass on. My grandad taught me the core values of being in the outdoors and I was grateful to take those tools and pass them along to my mentee. Within the hunt, as we were calling in; we had the success of hearing a putt call which was rewarding to Kelly from learning how to call! The bird did not make it over the ravine for us to see, but hearing the sounds was a success as well. By the end of the hunt we did not have a bird in our hands, but the true satisfaction of being in the outdoors and learning to use the box call was true mentorship to me. Passing on the tradition of hunting and the values that come from working and learning to appreciate the outdoors is the most important aspect of the hunt in my view and to say we had a successful hunt is an understatement.


On my third turkey hunt ever, I learned how to call in a bird. And both myself and my mentor are pretty sure it worked. I'll explain…

My mentor, Rachael Frederick is my co-worker, my dear friend and also my cousin-in-law. We hunted on my aunt and uncles land, located in Hermann, MO. Uncle Larry had been keeping an eye on the birds this season and informed us of their patterns so we were pretty confident that we'd have some sort of contact. Aunt Sharon's blind was set up for success: tucked just inside the opening to the woods, overlooking a wide-open valley.

Being in the woods when it "wakes-up" is a beautiful thing to witness. The sounds, the views, the scent… it's both peaceful and chaotic at the same time. We heard it all… owls, song birds, frogs, the cool morning breeze racing through the trees. However, what we hoped for; the sound of a big ol' tom, jake or hen was missing.

Rachael taught me how use a box call before we left the house that morning and she also demonstrated in the blind for the first round of calling. After each cluck and yelp, a crow would answer in response. An owl also enjoyed engaging in conversation with us, getting closer and closer with each "hoot!" My turn on the call was up, and I was a little nervous. I didn't want Rachael's awesome calling to be spoiled by my unexperienced hand. To my surprise we heard a "putt" in response! Then another and another. Our encounter was short, as the bird never popped up over the hill, but it was rewarding all the same.

I really enjoyed my time out in the blind and would love to give it another shot next year! Thanks Rach!