Mother Nature Can Be One Tough Old Bird

Congrats to Cody Kowalczyk on his first wild turkey taken near Rend Lake in Franklin County, Illinois.

Turkey hunting is challenging enough when the weather is nice. Add in 40-degree temperatures, pouring rain and 30 mph winds, and you've got your work cut out. That was our situation in Southern Illinois this past weekend. My three buddies and I headed to Franklin County near Rend Lake for some castin' and blastin'- crappie fishing and wild turkey hunting. 

Despite Mother Nature working against us, we had some success. Young Cody Kowalczyk took his very first wild turkey, a beautiful tom with a 10-inch beard. Most of the big toms were with hens, so calling them to us was tough. Cody put a stalk on 6 toms following 3 hens, and intercepted them in some heavy brush. One shot with a load of Remington Nitro #5's put an end to that party.  His dad Cliff also killed a dandy 23-pound bird with a 1.25" spurs. We hunted with Jason and Ryan from Boneyard Outfitters.

Since you can only hunt turkeys until 1:00 pm, we figured we would spend the afternoon on Rend Lake with our buddies Todd Gessner and Jason Johns with Todd Gessner Outdoors. The weather didn't seem to bother the fish. We all pounded the crappies on jig and minnows with a slip-bobber. The fish were in the bushes along shore, in about 2-3 feet of water. The water temp was up to 64-65 degrees and the crappies are starting to spawn.

We had outstanding accommodations at the Seasons Resort on Rend Lake. The great food and warm hospitality made a day of hunting in the rain seem not so bad. Mid-April is also wild morel season in Southern Illinois, so we topped of the trip with a nice haul of morels. 

We were 50% on the birds, but we all went home with some fish and a few mushrooms. It sure beats working.  If turkey, crappie and morels (the Southern Illinois Slam) are up your alley, you better head south asap. 

Before you go, check out:

The Seasons Lodge 

Todd Gessner Outdoors  

Cliff's Taxidermy 

The Boneyard Outfitters

For photos of the trip and more information on Southern Illinois, go to

Dan Sefanich


Leave a comment