When Phil and Kristen Rutt left Quarryville to become the new owners of the Buffalo, Wyoming, Triple Three Outfitters, six volunteer firemen began plans to visit the Rutts to harvest a Wyoming wild turkey, introduced into the state in 1935. “We started discussing the possibility of this trip more than a year and a half ago,” said Scott Kreider.
“We had four Quarryville volunteers, one from the Gap and one from the Lampeter fire company,” said Scott Kreider. “We were talking about our volunteer service on the way out. We arrived at 186 volunteer hours combined for the six of us.”
The group ranged in age from 45 to 51. “That’s a lot of hours for no older than we are,” added Kreider.
On April 29, the six flew out of Baltimore and landed in Dallas/Fort Worth before traveling on to Rapid City, South Dakota.
“From Rapid City it was over a three hour drive to Buffalo,” said Scott Kreider. Upon arriving at Triple Three the six found the accommodations above expectations. “It is a top-notch outfit,” said Herr. “The hospitality and food was outstanding.”
The weather forecast cooperated as well. “Conditions were rather ideal,” said Scott Kreider. “Right around 50 degrees.”
“A little mist one morning, but no rain or snow,” added Kevin Kreider.
While all agreed the experience without the harvest would have been enough, all six hunters harvested a Wyoming gobbler.
Wenger was the first to score, harvesting his bird on Monday. When asked what length beard the bird possessed Kevin stated, “All our birds had about an eight inch beard and three-quarter inch spurs.”
Three gobblers fell to 12 gauge shotguns loaded with number five shot on Tuesday. Alexander was the first to connect, while Herr filled out his tag at 3:10 p.m. and Scott Kreider one half hour later.
Wednesday morning, Beiler joined the successful foursome when he laid to rest a tom that flew out of his roost and landed nearby at about 5:30 a.m. Later that day Kevin Kreider pulled the trigger on a bird at 6 p.m. “I saw him earlier in the day, but connected the second time he appeared,” said Kreider.
Herr said that the cottonwood bottoms proved to be where the turkeys habituated and that’s where the hunters set up.
“We had a guide take us to a spot, but we set up our own decoys and did our own calling,” said Scott Kreider. “The guides were simply there if we needed them.”
Rutt offered the successful hunters a tour of the prairie, home to elk, antelope and deer.
“And cattle,” said Herr. “I never saw so many cattle. They were everywhere.” During the tour the group found sheds, both deer and elk. “I didn’t have room in my luggage to bring them home,” said Scott Kreider.
All the local firemen are planning a return trip.
“Yeah, we’d love to go back,” said Scott Kreider. “It was a wonderful experience.”
He has been the most successful turkey hunter over the years, having harvested more than 20 turkeys in his hunting career. In addition to the Wyoming bird, Kreider has filled two Pennsylvania tags, one in Potter County and his first Lancaster County spring gobbler this season. His brother, Kevin, has six turkey kills to his credit, Herr three.
While the turkeys' fanned tails were brought home to Lancaster County as trophies, the group dined on their harvest out west. “Yep, we dined on at least four of them when we were out there,” said Herr.
Triple Three Outfitters also offers antelope, elk, deer - both mule and whitetail - and prairie dog hunts.
“Some day I’d like to schedule a big game hunt with Phil,” said Kreider. “But for now I’ll settle for another turkey hunt.”