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A Legend Passes

Posted by Jeremiah , 24 November 2010 · 657 views

Wild Turkey Quaker Boy
I'm not sure which saddens me more...
The  fact that legendary wild turkey hunter, caller and founder of Quaker  Boy Game Calls, Richard Kirby, has passed away or the fact that it happened  over one month ago and I never heard anything about it until today.

To  say that Mr. Kirby was (and still is) a hero of mine is likely an  understatement. I remember watching his instructional calling VHS tapes  as a youth and practicing along with him for hours. I was hooked  on the notion of hunting turkey in the spring, using stationary calling  techniques, before ever even trying it. I just remember thinking, "Well,  if it works for Richard Kirby and Eddie Salter the way that it does on the  videos then it just has to work that way for everyone." Ah, youth...

I  was able to convince my father, without a whole lot of prodding as I  remember, that calling spring gobblers was something we needed to try  after a few fall outings of basically hunting turkey about the same way  one would hunt white-tail deer. (Rather unsuccessful indeed.) Dad had  never really spring gobbler hunted until I took up this interest in  trying. So, we both watched some of the spring turkey hunting videos  available several times over one winter in preparation for spring. It  seemed like it took forever for spring to roll around. I still remember  the first time we went out. Dad, still being somewhat skeptical, I think,  didn't even have a camouflage face net or gloves with him. He just didn't  think it would happen the way the videos showed, I believe. But, again, I  had that youthful confidence. So, I likely resembled a soldier getting ready for a special ops mission. Surely enough, dad struck up a  conversation with a love-sick tom on our very first set. I remember him  diving for cover behind the large oak tree we were sitting at. (Not  wanting the gobbler to see his face or the movement of using that old  box call of his without gloves on his hands.) Dad called that gobbler  all the way in as if it were on a string. Unfortunately, being so young  and totally inexperienced (with my "guide", whom may not have been able to coach me through the situation very well anyway, cowering behind a tree), I shot when the  bird was still at least 75 yards away. (This being with an old  scatter gun that probably only had a modified constriction and was more  than likely loaded with 2-3/4" 6 shot shells.) Needless to say, I didn't  even shake a feather on that tom; he sure did so himself while scurrying out of there in a big hurry though. I was just so excited and shook up  over the whole thing. It is still one of the coolest experiences I have ever had while hunting even though I totally blew it. (I wouldn't  get another opportunity to pull the trigger on a tom until I was 18 years old, by the way!)

I  will never forget that experience. It changed my outlook as well as my dad's forever concerning hunting - specifically spring turkey hunting.  For a good while, we both just devoured any literature, video, or television information that we could concerning turkey hunting. Richard  Kirby was consistently at the top of our list. Our VCR got a good workout in the late 80's through the early 90's. I wish I would have had the pleasure to meet Mr. Kirby in person. But, it apparently was not to be. I think that this spring I will take the Kirby-autographed "Grand Old Master" box call that my father acquired for me many years ago out for one last hunt before tucking it back away safely in a display case.

Rest in peace, Richard Kirby. You are missed by people you were never even aware "knew" you. My prayers are with your family and loved ones.

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Richard Kirby Passes

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