SSC Hunter’s Corner
SSC Member Kelly Probst
A Favorite Species
Putt putt putt putt - GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE … BOOM! - cheers, cameras, taxidermist, awards, memories, thankfulness! This is the onomatopoetic synopsis of a turkey hunt with The Turkey Gal, SSC member Kelly Probst. After moving to Northern California, Kelly became a huntress about ten years ago when she was shown the ropes by SSC member Rick Harder (whom you may have seen at the 2016 Awards Dinner at Randy Thomas’ house).
She then targeted her favorite species: the turkey. Before hunting, she already had an appreciation for animals, holding 24 world titles for Morgan show horses. Someone who already understands and appreciates animals is definitely a candidate to receive guidance from an SSC’er, and Kelly is so thankful that she was shown hunting “the correct way.” She emphasizes ethics, limited harvest, and population management. “I enjoy everything to do with hunting,” Miss Probst enthusiastically said, “and I have met such great people through SCI.” As I myself have mentioned in previous newsletters: SCI is the place to form relationships! - and if you’re looking to get plugged in, come to SSC’s annual Membership “Meeting” (i.e. super fun minibanquet) April 22! While you’re at it, bring a non-SCI buddy, sign them up, and dinner for both of you is free! Details are in the newsletter.
Back to Kelly: As soon as I began to question her about her passion in hunting, she immediately expressed her fondness of turkeys and the unique sport of hunting their species. She has taken boar, deer, and ducks, yet always focuses on turkeys, her favorite quarry. I laughed when she revealed that her first turkey gun was a Remington 870 20 gauge, which was my first turkey gun as well! Kelly admires both the sheer magnificence of turkeys, and their hilarious antics. “I enjoy watching them grow, from hatch to harvest.” I asked what game she planned on taking in the years to come, thinking maybe big game in an exotic hunt. Answer: more turkeys! Kelly explained the different kinds of turkeys in the SCI record book, and she wants all of them!
At the 2016 awards banquet, Kelly received an award and spoke about her massive turkey that scored #2 for non-typical at 8-3/4 beard. She described the hunt, “It was 6:00 in the morning. We walked off to the blind, rather than driving. You have to be quiet and stay unnoticed - these birds have tremendous eyesight.” She described the situation as her trophy tom was called away from his hens. “You have to master that call,” she said. “To lure a tom from his hens is the awesome challenge of turkey hunting.” She then blasted the tom. Thinking it would be a totally typical trophy tom, she noticed five beards on the behemoth! “We’re just so blessed,” she said when telling the story.
Kelly loves sharing little details about turkey hunting (example: protect your trophy by scaring off jakes that peck your downed tom), so feel free to ask her for turkey-tips at the 2017 Awards dinner! Kelly considers herself an activist for conservation, “I love guns and rights. I believe in numbers and only taking so many of a species during a season.”
Kelly spends four days a week at her local sporting clay range with a group of 400 youth to teach them skills with firearms. “They learn hunting, and sportsmanship with firearms. No ‘accidents’ ever happen, even with 400 guns.” Instructing the youth and passing on the heritage of hunting is the only way to keep hunting alive for the generations to come. Going to banquets, sharing photos with friends, and even serving at meetings and events is futile unless the legacy of hunting is passed on to the youth. Kelly gets that, and loves to put in her time.
With the turbulent political climate of California, I questioned Kelly about the importance of conservation in this state. After all, just letting one state in the union slip away isn’t that bad, right? Wrong. Forty million people will change the direction of the entire nation. That is a guarantee. Hunters need to speak louder and act stronger than ever before. Kelly stresses the importance of influence over the potential hunters in the “non-hunter but not anti-hunter” crowd. “Just being around hunters and going out in the field along for the ride will get you hooked,” she explains passionately. This is great advice. As inconvenient as it may be, bringing a non-hunter along for the ride might just change the course of conservation forever. The abundance of wildlife maintained through successful conservation in Northern California has contributed to Kelly’s ardent enthusiasm for hunting. Hunter’s cannot afford to lose California.
Miss Probst expressed praise and thankfulness for the Sacramento Safari Club board, specifically President Don Giottonini. “Don’s been wonderful. He’s nice, and he will listen to my input. He is very open to change, which is very good.” (Come say hi to Don at the Membership Meeting!). It is amazing that a “club” can mean so much to a member. But wait, SSC is more than a club, it’s a lifestyle! Whether bagging trophy turkeys or shooting clays with the youth, Kelly Probst is a knowledgeable, eager huntress who cares about people, wildlife, and guns, living out the values of SSC. She shows integrity in her ethics, and responsibility with firearms. SCI is proud to have her on the side of hunting. Her exuberant delight for turkeys is encouraging; a favorite species definitely creates lasting memories!
Hey SSC’ers! Know of a hunter who stands out? Know of an avid sportsman who has some exciting stories? Know of an aging outdoorsman whose legacy just begs publicity? They could be the next spotlight hunter/huntress in Hunter’s Corner! Email Colleen Cline for details