COLUMBIA — Turkey hunting season will begin again on April 21 in Missouri and it is a safe bet MU senior Justin Robertson will be somewhere in the wild that morning looking for a clean shot. But he will not be using a gun.
What began as target practice in a basement has turned into a deep passion for bowhunting. Growing up in the Kansas City area, Robertson first started learning how to use a bow when his cousin introduced him to it. Ever since then, the bowhunter in Robertson has been unleashed.
“I’m constantly thinking in my daily life,” Robertson said, “but when I am hunting in the woods I can relax and clear my mind.”
Though he shot his first turkey with a shotgun, Robertson has used the bow and arrow ever since. He practiced for ‘two to three years’ before he began harvesting any deer or turkeys because he did not want to have any problems with accuracy.
“Its hard to shoot with a bow and arrow because there’s lots of things going on around you,” Robertson said, “so you have to be very consistent and you have to take it seriously.”
He added, “You don’t want to just injure the animal because it will just suffer; I am interested in a clean kill.”
Four years of living in Columbia has provided an increase in opportunities to shoot the bow and arrow. Bow hunting is legal in the city limits of Columbia in designated parts of the year and in designated wildlife areas.
In the upcoming season, however, Robertson said he would be going to places just outside the city limits. These include the Three River Conservation Area just south of Columbia and the Rocky Fork Lakes Conservation Area. He will typically hunt by himself for reasons like less possible noise and more relaxation.
Not only does Robertson hunt by himself, he also acts as his own butcher and processor. He said doing the butchering himself ensures quality meat that he then grills, smokes or puts into spaghetti.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, the regular turkey-hunting season will last from April 21 to May 11. Robertson plans on this being the last season with his current equipment. He is graduating this year and is hoping to receive a new bow for the occasion.