We?ve blogged about it, we?ve tweeted to the Twitterverse, we?ve posted some flyers, and this weekend is our Hunter?s Night Out. We?ve got our ducks in a row and hope to see you at the event. Just a quick recap of what?s going on.
We?re hosting 3 representatives that will speak about game management and food plot creation/maintenance. Each individual is going to give a presentation that lasts about 30 minutes or so with room for questions at the end.
Those 3 representatives are:
Yes, we?re going to feed you and we?re going to start eating around 5:30 so be there and be ready to eat. We are going to eat spaghetti so don?t wear your best shirt! The event is free of charge.
Be sure to get a ticket when you get there? you just might win a Thermacell!
We're also raffling off a ground-blind and some goodies. You can buy a ticket there if you want.
Event Location: First Baptist Church 203 Pigg Street Pageland, SC 29728
Hunting for a Cure is an organization that raises money to fight against childhood disease. The mission of Hunt for the Cure is to introduce children to the joys of wildlife, hunting, and the outdoors and to also raise funds through volunteers and sponsors to contribute to the fight against childhood disease. Hunters from everywhere donate hunts and individuals purchase these hunts at a silent auction at the Hunt for the Cure banquet. The highest bid wins the hunt and 100% of all the proceeds go to St. Jude?s Children?s Hospital in Memphis Tennessee.
Recently, Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, South Carolina was involved with Hunting for a Cure. Jimmy donated a few turkey hunts and the hunts were purchased by John and Tyler Largen of west Tennessee. Tyler is 11 years old and he and his father just started turkey hunting last year. From hearing Jimmy tell of their experiences turkey hunting in SC, I?d say that they definitely have a few hunts to remember.
Jimmy, Tyler, and John?s first hunt together was on Thursday morning. I asked Jimmy to give me some insight as to what all happened on some of their hunts. It really gets tough towards the end! Jimmy has described some of the memories of the few days of hunting below:
Our first hunt was on Thursday morning and we got in really tight on a nice tom. I took my wing out and did four ?Fly downs? with it and the long-beard immediately hammered! He flew down, but no matter what, he was not coming our way. He headed in the opposite direction so we pulled up and moved a half mile down the road. After we moved we heard two birds gobbling really well. So, we set up on the two birds that were gobbling. We called to them and they would gobble back at the calls really well, but they must have been with hens because they would not come near the area we were hunting. In time, they got quiet and we had not heard them for about an hour. We decided to move about a 100 yards and make a new set up. As you would imagine, when we stood up and walked to the decoys the birds flew off!!! They were within 75 yards and where coming in on us silently. I thought to myself that I really blew that one !! At this point, we decided to break for lunch and give John and Tyler time to take a nap because they had arrived late.
John and Tyler Largen on the float trip
We headed back out for the afternoon and set up where we had seen the birds that morning. About 7:00pm I could hear something walking to my right. I looked and saw a Gobbler coming. I was trying to get Tyler turned in that direction so he?d be ready to get his first turkey. About that same time his father, John, turned towards the action and the turkey saw his movement and within moments the bird was gone. Dad had gotten caught! We hunted until dark and came out. We decided we?d try again Friday morning and hoped for better luck.
Friday morning we listened for birds but did not hear any that were within our hunting area. We decided to be creative and do something different since this was a special hunt. We decided to try to float the river! This float trip turned out to be a hunt we would never forget.
In order to do this ?float trip? we needed a boat. After getting my dad?s boat out of the weeds where it has sat for the last 20 years, we made a quick run to Wal-Mart to buy a plug and some paddles. We were excited about our big float trip because the birds seem to gobble really well on the river, but they don?t appear to move too far away from the water. We figured we would just float down the river and call a little and when some turkeys responded, we?d pull the boat up and set up on them.
Jimmy Bradley and the boat After getting everything at Wal-Mart we finally got the boat to the water. Everything started out smooth, then we came to some rocks and I had to get out and pull the boat through. We got back into the boat and got into a good rhythm and were just taking in the whole float trip idea! We weren?t hearing any turkeys calling back, but to be floating down the river turkey hunting seemed neat at this point in time.
I continued calling ever so often, but nothing responded to my calls. Soon enough we came to some more rocks. Here again we had to get out of the boat to pull it through the rocks. We started back on our journey and drifted around a curve and I called some more. Still nothing was responding to my calls. We floated a little ways down the river again and, yes, had to get back out of the boat to pull it through more rocks. We got back on our way and called again and still nothing responded! Then we had to get back out of the boat to pull it past some more rocks! You should be getting the picture by now! By now our ?quick? cruise had lasted 4 hours and we hadn?t even heard a gobble, but we sure had seen a lot of rocks!
While floating down the river we made plans to eat dinner at Beth?s Country Kitchen because pork chops (YUM YUM!) were on the menu and I figured John and Tyler might like that because everyone else in Pageland does. We decided it couldn?t be much further to the bridge where we parked the truck. It didn?t take us long to figure out that we were wrong. We continued to pull the boat down the river which by now seemed to be more rocks than river. We started to get tired so we stopped for a break. When we stopped for a break John dropped his BlackBerry in the river. Our novel idea for a ?float trip turkey hunt? was turning out to be accident prone and more like work than hunting!
The River and The Rocks
Things really went downhill after that. We continued to walk and pull the boat over the rocks and our ?quick? trip ended up being 6 hours long. At the height of all of the bloopers, I slipped on a rock and fell into the only deep spot in the river! I was completely soaked and my wallet, camera, and range finder were soaked too! We realized our ?quick? trip had cut us out of eating pork chops at Beth?s. This was indeed a low-point for the whole squad.
Then we did the unthinkable?We abandoned ship! Due to complete exhaustion, we pulled the boat up into the woods and walked out. Our ?quick? trip ended up lasting 8 hours and I was beaten, battered, and thirsty! The only thing to do in this situation was to laugh about it. We laughed and had fun despite all the river threw at us on our float trip. Shortly thereafter, we went and ate a nice dinner at the Mexican restaurant in Pageland and talked about our fun-filled-day. This was definitely one hunt we will never forget. During the whole river trip we never heard a single gobble! I guess we all have bad days and this was one of mine!
Someone is going to be walking down the river and come up on an old john boat and wonder how it got there. All I can say is take it?It?s yours! You haul it out and you got a boat?.that is, if you get back to it before I do!
Even though no turkey was harvested on their trip, Jimmy the guys definitely had a trip to remember. I?m glad that I didn?t have to haul the boat over all those rocks, but I?ve done similar things before in my life! Jimmy says John and Tyler were troopers even through the blunders of the last day of hunting. So congratulations to them for being soldiers in the backwoods of SC!
Though the last day of hunting turned out pretty rough, we applaud Jimmy for donating a trip to Hunting for a Cure and also encourage you to do so if you can. If you would like to get involved with Hunting for a Cure, contact email@example.com and tell them we sent you.
In the mean time, I think I may go and find me a free john boat!
I woke up early Saturday morning in order to get setup in the field in plenty of time. Mr. J.E. Aldridge met me at the house and we headed out. We got to the field about 30 minutes before daylight. With the Thermacell, 2 decoys, some diaphragms, and a slate call, we set out to get a long-beard. Since most of the turkeys have come from the same general area, we positioned ourselves in a location that is different from where we normally sit. We hoped to be closer to turkeys as they entered the field. We set the decoys out about 15 yards in front of us and to the left.
I?m not turkey hunting expert by far, but so far, every time I?ve been we?ve at least heard some turkeys gobbling from the trees as we got there before daylight. Well, on this day we didn?t hear anything. I was hoping to get some up close and personal footage of a turkey since we were sitting a little closer, but not hearing any turkeys calling out early in the morning gave me a bad feeling about what the day would bring.
There was a front coming in and cloud cover was moving in and out throughout our hunt. The wind was blowing and we could feel the temperature dropping throughout the hunt. Since I?m clueless about turkeys, I don?t know if changes in weather messes with them or not, but I know it can affect the movement of deer some. I hoped that it would get better or that at the least we would hear a gobble somewhere.
In time the sun had completely risen and still we hadn?t heard or seen anything. I randomly called, but nothing seemed to work. Then around 7:30 a hen walked out into the field about 120 yards away to our right. She was walking to our left and this meant she was going to cross our face. I thought she would get a little clearance from the tree line and get out in the field more, but she hugged close to it the whole time. Though, she was by herself and she didn?t stay long. She walked about 20 yards and then flew back up in the trees. I had barely even called at her and she was gone. The thought of a big tom following her was just entering my mind right before she flew away. I don?t know if she was spooked or what. She didn?t respond to my call and left within about 5 minutes of entering the field.
We sat a while longer when another hen came back out in that general area. It could have been the same one, but I?m not sure. This hen did the exact same thing. She walked down the tree line about 15 yards out from it. This time she walked from our far right all the way to our far left and it took her about 20 minutes to make the journey. During these 20 minutes I called and made every sound I could without trying to ?over-call? as Mr. Puette had mentioned to me. No matter what sound I made, the turkey just kept on strutting. I don?t think she really acknowledged any of the sounds as she walked and pecked at the ground and passed by nor did she care about the decoys. We weren?t going to shoot a hen, but it would have been nice to at least get some more footage for the site. After she passed by, Mr. J.E. and I were talking and I told him that I think that turkey might be deaf, thus the title of this blog entry.
That pretty much sums up our hunt. We stayed a little bit longer and then eventually left. We did see a hawk that was chasing after something in the field and that was neat to watch. We also noticed on the way out that the farmer had seeded the field. Looks like there will be some corn around next year. I bet the deer will love that. So there is no really good footage or turkeys to brag about, but we did come across some turkeys that didn?t hear well. Though, maybe the lack of attention to us is a sign about my calling abilities! I guess I?ll keep practicing.
If you read the blogs, then you know I went to Washington DC last weekend. On Saturday Will took the guys from Southern Outdoor Experience hunting and they get a good turkey on film. Will and Adam had planned on going turkey hunting the next day with some friends from up the road. They met Chip and Terry and got in the woods early. Bear with me as I try to re-tell the story of their hunt, which is a little difficult given that I wasn?t there in person.
From the story I heard, the guys got in the woods early at one of our hunting locations. Adam and Will went and set up in one direction and Chip and Terry went in the other. Adam said that when they sat down they started calling a little just to see if they could locate any birds. It didn?t take long before they heard some turkeys that were still in the trees. They sat and waited as the sun began to rise. The area they were hunting on this specific trip is more of a wooded area than the other location where we?ve been turkey hunting this year (which you may have seen on some of the films). The woods gives the birds a little more cover and it makes it more difficult to see them coming! Will and Adam were glad to hear a lot of turkeys gobbling in the distance. Since they had located the birds, they didn?t want to call too much more and they just waited in anticipation. At about 7:30 and they heard a loud boom come from the other side of the tract of land. This meant that Chip and Terry had a made a shot. Shortly thereafter, they went to check on the boys and they had already bagged a good turkey. Chip and Terry were excited about getting a good gobbler! So in the beginning of the video, you?ll see Chip holding the turkey that he shot. We don?t have any footage of this hunt because the camera was in the other location and my camera was with me in DC.
So then what do they do?... They move shop and go to a different location and set up. I think he said they arrived around 8:15 or so. They went out to the field and put a hen decoy up and this time they all sat together. Terry started calling and it wasn?t long before turkeys at this location started yapping back at him. The guys were really impressed with Terry?s turkey calling abilities. Chip always says that Terry?s really good at calling and the boys got to witness it firsthand. They were able to capture some of the footage of this hunt. If you listen in the video, you can hear where Terry?s calling and also hear some turkeys call back in the distance. It?s pretty neat, but you?ll need your volume up.
Will said they had been sitting there for a while and then a hen came out down to the right of the field. The hen came all the way to where they were and got within 15 yards of them. (This is the hen you?ll see in the video) Terry was talking to the hen and it had no clue that they were even in the world. She was just gobbling right away. It?s neat to see the hen that close on video and I know the boys had ice in their veins with it right there on them. Will just held still on the gun as the hen wasn?t going to be shot.
Not too long after that they said a tom came into the far opposite edge of the field. He was a few hundred yards away and terry worked his magic and started calling him in. The turkey didn?t ever see the decoy and didn?t really get within shooting range though, but they said the turkey made a long journey to get near to where they were. They told me that the turkey call was echoing and confusing the turkey. This may have been the reason the turkey?s walking path was irregular. End result of the hunt was no shot, but some good footage of a hen and a sighting of a nice tom.
And here?s the footage
I must be the bad luck charm or something because when I leave these guys have birds all around them. 2 turkeys in 2 days + 1 within 15 yards?I?d say that was a good weekend of turkey hunting. Maybe I?ll keep going on road trips so good things will keep happening, but I think the wife-to-be may have something to say about that.
As turkey season draws to an end, we?re just about ready to put some seed down and it?s not just any seed, its Tecomate Seed?you know, the good stuff! You may think that we?re busy turkey hunting every weekend, but don?t forget that we?re also preparing some food plots for next deer season. Yes it?s that time of year! I encourage you to look at the ?Show Us Your Food Plots? page to see some of the user posted images of food plots on which site visitors around the state are working. Feel free to post yours too! You can even film a YouTube video of yourself and tell us what you?re doing/planting/anticipating. We like to see what?s going on around the state and hope to create a food plot synergy if you will! Though, I know some of you like to keep your ?best kept secrets? and food plots to yourself.
It seems hunting can be a year round task, which is a good thing if you ask me! It kind of reminds me of my football days in college. Many think that you just play during the season and come back next year at about the same time of year and play again, but its oooh so different when you?re inside the system. There was always something to do, film to watch, weights to lift, miles to run, practices to attend, meetings etc. Of course we only did that kind of stuff because we wanted to be successful. So I?ll draw the same analogy to hunting. We work hard in the off season running soil samples, clearing woods, and planting food plots in hopes of being successful. Optimistically we?ll be able to get some good deer walking around these food plots to share with you via photo or video. And as our coach would tell us, what you do in the off-season will directly affect what happens during the regular season.
With that said, what exactly do we need to do to prepare to put seed down? Well, there?s really not that much that needs to take place. We should already have our soil samples analyzed, lime down, and the soil should be ready to be seeded. As you can see in the pictures of this blog, we?ve cut the field again to knock down some of the previous year?s growth mixed with some volunteer plants that have come up. We should be ready to seed.
Just before we plant our seed we will broadcast the recommended rate of fertilizer and light disc & drag it into the soil. In doing so, we will reduce the chance of the fertilizer burning the new seedlings after they germinate. Now we are ready to plant our seed. In the larger areas where we?ll be planting, we?ll use a tractor to broadcast the seed. For the remote food plot area, where we used the GroundHog Max, we?ll spread seed with a spreader and an ATV/4-wheeler.
From my perspective, I?m excited (and a little nervous) to see what?s going to happen with all of this. I don?t think I?ve ever actually planted something like this in my life. We?ve had something similar to a garden at my house before, but for me this is a different adventure. Remember, I?m a web guy and my farming skills are little at best. I?m eager to see what will happen and to see if we can get some deer out of these locations. Even if we don?t harvest any of the deer though, at least I?ll know that the deer are eating something that will help them be healthier and help them reach their potential when they get to be mature bucks.
More to come at the seeding!
Recently we?ve posted some trail cam pics of turkeys and mentioned that we were getting after them and would elaborate further when the time was right. Well, the time is now right and we?ve got some good news to share.
On random weekends and throughout the week over the past month we?ve been hunting with Jamie and Jacob Satterfield from the TV show ?Southern Outdoor Experience?. You all see where we attempt to get turkeys & deer on camera, but these guys have a real TV show and they hunt in style if you know what I mean.
We were in contact with Jamie and Jacob and had lined up some hunts with them as we prepared for turkey season. Every time they came down the birds were out and about, but getting a shot on them proved to be difficult. I like to say its ?Murphy?s Law? that whenever you take a camera hunting that nothing will move. Though, these guy?s camera is a just a little bit different than mine if you catch my drift.
Jamie and Jacob returned this past weekend to hunt again. While Garth and I were checking things out in Washington, Will and Adam stayed home to do some turkey hunting. We were all crossing our fingers hoping that they would finally get a good shot on a bird. From my perspective, I was sleeping in DC and I start getting flooded with text messages from Will saying ?Big Bird Down, Big Bird Down? and I knew what that meant. I was sleepy and yet excited. It wasn?t long before I got the post game from Will and he told me the story of the hunt.
Will said they arrived early and Jamie placed 2 hen decoys about 15 yards out in front of them. They started calling a little after sunrise. He said initially they heard some gobbles in the distance, but after a while it calmed down and there was a long period with no sign of a turkey anywhere nearby. Then, along about 8:15 or so, Will spotted a bird down in the right corner of the field. The turkey was walking out from the woods into the edge of the field. The bird turned out to be a really nice gobbler and Jacob started calling. When the turkey heard the call, he perked his head up as if to see where the sound came from. Will said that when tom perked his head up, he saw the decoys and immediately sprinted about 50 yards directly to the hen decoys. Of course this was the perfect set up for the S.O.E. crew to get a good South Carolina turkey on film. Will said that the turkey came right in and got really close to the decoys and was strutting his stuff big time. Then Jacob took the bird while the camera was rolling! It turned out to be the perfect hunt. After the hunt, Will said that Jamie and Jacob did some cut-away shots and some a wrap-up segment and that was it.
I could tell Will was excited and Jamie even emailed me a picture of the bird while I was away. When I got the email I saw what all the hype was about. They got a nice turkey and hopefully some nice footage. In time, we hope to see the hunt on TV somewhere and if we do, we?ll make a fuss about it over here of course.
Now Will was rolling some film during the hunt, but we didn?t want to potentially mess up their hunt fidgeting around trying to capture the bird on film. We also don?t want to post any footage that they may put on their show. So, in the blow video you will see the set-up and then the post game segment after the turkey is down. There is a blatant gap where the bird approached and kill-shot happened. Obviously we don?t want to spoil anything for S.O.E. So, given the constraints, here?s the video that we are airing.
You may wonder what Jamie and Jacob are like being that they hunt on TV and all that. These guys are just as down to earth as the next and are easy going, good people. They were very appreciative and thankful to us for taking them hunting. You wouldn?t know they were on TV if you just met them on the street. Overall, it took a few times and some patience, but in the end Jacob was able to get a good South Carolina turkey.
The next day brought another hunt and another turkey?more to come.
On the way up to DC I spotted a huge Gander Mountain store on the left side of the road somewhere near Richmond, Virginia. We made a mental note to stop on the way back down just to see what is was like. I?ve always heard of Gander Mountain and have seen the magazines, but have never seen an actual ?brick and mortar? store like this. It seemed relatively new.
The store is huge and sits right off of interstate 85. There?s no way to miss it if you?re ever up that way. We did learn some valuable information about Gander Mountain though. Garth asked the guy why there were no Gander Mountains in South Carolina and he told us that the organization is having trouble setting up stores in South Carolina and Georgia due to some tax issues. He didn?t elaborate on the matter, but we told him that we?d love to have them anywhere around the state if possible. According to the greeter, the closest store to South Carolina, well at least Pageland, is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The store was really nice, clean, and big. For the most part it was really similar to a BassPro, but they did have some different name brands and different gear around. They also had a lot of flat screens around the store which I thought was neat.
As we were walking and videoing around the store the clerks and workers were looking at us kind of oddly?imagine that! As we got near one specific section we met Jamal Stanton who is a worker in the store and also a member of several pro-staffs. Jamal said he?s a big turkey and deer hunter and since he was standing beside a Thermacell display, he gave us a Thermacell testimony. See Jamal?s endorsement below.
We continued around the store and just looked at the displays and products. It was a really neat store. I did take the opportunity to buy a diaphragm call so I could practice in the car on the way back down the road which made Garth very happy! And if you listen to the sounds I making, then you can see why I need practice!
Garth did attempt to insert some comedic value in the video tour of Gander Mountain so be ready for it in the below video. Also, sorry to spin the camera so fast on the one shot. I got dizzy watching it myself. Another area for me to tighten up in! I'll get better.
So I don?t know if you?ll ever be around Richmond, Virginia or Fayetteville, North Carolina, but if you are, it?s worth your time to give Gander Mountain a stop!
This past weekend while the rest of the crew stayed home and was getting the job done turkey hunting, Garth Knight and I went up to Washington DC on a road trip dubbed by Garth as ?The last road trip before Clint is on lock-down?. We went up to visit a friend of mine named Andy Polk who works for Congresswoman Sue Myrick. We had a really good time and even made it to a Nationals baseball game. Their new park is really nice and I would recommend it to you if you?re ever going that way.
Our road trip to DC and the details of our trip are probably not important to you and also wouldn?t be a good fit for this blog. Though, while we were there I talked with some people who are informed about politics and they offered some insight from which I think you may benefit. I?m not big on politics and don?t hope to start some political debate on a blog entry, but rather simply hope to convey information to you.
On to the point?Recently Supreme Court Justice Stevens resigned from his position. A Supreme Court Justice?s term is usually for a lifetime and therefore they retain a lot of power. With the recent resignation, President Obama will make a selection for a replacement justice. I researched on the net to find some information that pertained to Just Steven?s resignation and found this quote from Reuters.com:
Obama is expected to choose someone who will follow the same basic judicial philosophy as Stevens and is unlikely to change the court's overall ideological balance, which has been closely divided with five conservatives and four liberals.
Stevens has supported abortion and gay rights and gun restrictions and opposed the death penalty. In recent major business cases, he wrote rulings allowing lawsuits against tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.
See Full Article
I bring this to your attention to point out the notion of gun restrictions that President Obama is looking for in the next justice. I don?t believe the new justice being selected will have any immediate consequences for gun owners. Though, I do want to highlight the underlying concept of making it more difficult to own or purchase arms. Given the right scenario or, say, another justice resigning, you never know what may happen. Sometimes it?s good to be aware of what?s going on at the top so we?ll know how it may affect us. For my part, I?ll be looking to buy my guns before they start making it more difficult than it should be. Also, rest assured that the NRA will be all over anything that may come of this in the future.
After the showing we had yesterday, we all felt like we couldn?t do any worse if we went back out again today. Though, after we hunted yesterday, Adam went and bought a new slate and a diaphragm call. He was pumped up about practicing calling birds in and I think he even went hunting yesterday afternoon just to see if he could get one to talk back to him. Adam is pretty driven and when he gets something in his mind to do, then he usually works at it until he gets it done. I have no doubt that he?ll be a good turkey caller before too long and his efforts today yielded some pretty impressive results. Keep in mind that this was his first time turkey calling without a deer antler.
We all met early again over at my place and headed out. We didn?t drop the striker for the slate on the way in this time so already it was a success in comparison to yesterday?s hunt. This morning we didn?t hear many turkeys gobbling from the trees in the dark like we did yesterday. We got set up and had our two decoys out in front of us. We sat and waited and could hear one turkey gobbling way off in the distance to our left. He was very talkative, but remained at a distance and didn?t seem to get any closer as a response to Adam?s calling.
In time, the sun had risen and was up really high and we still hadn?t seen a turkey. We were a little frustrated at the lack of action, especially since we actually brought the slate striker today! We talked a little in between ourselves and even thought about leaving. Then Adam looked at us and said ?Hey, patience kills turkeys? (referencing to a quote that Mr. Puette told me only a week earlier). I said, yep ? you?re right and we decided to stay in another hour just to see what would happen.
We sat and sat and the temperature started to warm up some. Due to their positioning, Will and Adam couldn?t see as well as I could. I had a better perspective so I was constantly scanning the tree line looking for any movement. After a while, I saw something directly across the field from us that looked like the shape of a turkey, but it was so far away that I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me much like they do when deer hunting. I ?whisper-yelled? at the guys and said ?Throw me the binoculars? and they reached to get the binoculars, but before they could grab them I saw the turkey move. I repeated ?there he is, there he is, can you see him?? and they immediately perked up. I could clearly see the turkey, but it took a few minutes before he came into Adam and Will?s view. Adam was randomly hitting the slate call and I told him to talk to the bird. He started slowly ?purring? at the bird and instantly the turkey puffed his feathers up. I whisper-yelled again ?Can you see him? and by this time they had him clearly in their line of sight. We were all excited and the bird was headed our way.
Adam kept lightly striking the slate call ever so often as the gobbler slowly strutted his stuff across the field. It was awesome. He would walk for a bit, then puff his feathers up and walk some, then like deflate and then puff up again. It was like a cycle that he went through and he did this 3 ? 4 times within the minutes that he strutted across the field. There was no doubt that this turkey was hearing what Adam was doing and responding to it. Even once the turkey stopped and gobbled real loudly in response (and you can hear it on the video if you turn the volume up). We were all glued to our seats as this big boy was strutting in the field like he owned it. The bird was coming closer and closer.
As the turkey got closer I noticed that I started getting some shakes going on ? the same kind of rush you get when a big buck walks out in front of you. My heart began to beat more as the turkey responded and kept drawing in closer to us. It was neat to watch this bird come out from about 200 yards away and come directly towards us. I really thought that we were going to get some great footage of a kill shot.
Finally, the turkey got close enough to us and he stopped and perked his head up. He saw our decoys and when he saw the decoys his whole demeanor changed. The turkey came up from the other side of a small hill. It wasn?t until he topped the crest of the hill that he could see the decoys. As soon as he saw the decoys he started walking differently. He seemed to be more in a hurry and then he went hard to the left and was seemingly pacing back and forth for a minute or so. He did this twice and then made a b-line for the trees. As rookie hunters we really have no clue why the turkey did this, but our current theory is that when this turkey saw the decoys he felt that the male decoy was larger than him and got intimidated and immediately fled the scene. The turkey we were calling had a beard, but it wasn?t a huge one. This is what makes us believe this notion.
After the turkey went back into the woods we were all just sitting there deconstructing what had just taken place before us. We were all pumped and excited and we all felt that same rush. It was a pretty intense few minutes for some novice turkey hunters. Again, we sat for a little while and then two more birds came from the corner. I spotted them and then we went back into stealth mode in the woods. Though, these two birds were just feeding and were hens. They came out in the field and worked their way past us. This was fine with us and we tried to give them time to leave, but we were ready to go. We got up and I interviewed Adam and during the interview Will saw the hens working back down. We paused the video to try to get closer and call them in, but had no luck.
All in all I think it was a much better hunt than yesterdays. To see the turkey blow his feathers up like that and come across the crest of that hill was a neat scene for me and one I won?t forget. I hope to see that again in my life! We headed back to the truck and yet again to Bojangles. I don?t know if it?s a good thing to tell the wife-to-be, but I think I may have caught turkey fever!
You'll best see this video if you blow it up to full screen and watch in 720p, but give it time to load
This past week Adam and Will were fired up about turkey hunting. They had been going turkey hunting with some soon-to-be mentioned hunters earlier in the week and I believe the boys are starting to get ?turkey fever? if there is such a thing. They had been sitting with some experienced hunters and watched them call in some birds and I believe it got to them. Their enthusiasm mixed with my recent luck of being in on a successful hunt made a combination for three rookies wanting to go turkey hunting. We decided that we?d go about mid-week.
As the end of the week approached, Adam and Will had been making turkey calling, decoy setting up, and game-planning plans for our hunt. On the Friday night before hand I had to go to a shower (which was a very enjoyable one for me). I got a bunch of grilling stuff! While I was at the shower, Adam and Will were at home practicing their calls, watching instructional videos, reading up on the web on exactly how to call correctly and the best positioning of decoys. Will had also gone and watched where the turkeys went to roost the night before. By the time the shower was over I was exhausted and ready for bed. We agreed to meet at my place early the following morning in order to get set up before daylight. Will was to be the hunter, Adam was to be the caller, and I was going to document the whole thing.
Will arrived to my house first and he showed me the decoys he bought + he was striking the slate call showing me how it sounded. Will said that Adam had practiced with the diaphragm and was bringing it with him. As we waited in the drive way on Adam, we loaded some stuff up. Adam arrived shortly thereafter and we all piled into the truck. As we sat in the truck, Adam told us that he?d forgotten the diaphragm call at his house as he rushed to leave his house. He also told us that he stayed up until 1am researching and getting ready to be the caller for the hunt. We could tell he was excited?like I say, these boys have caught turkey fever. Even though Adam forgot the diaphragm, we thought we?d be ok because we still had the slate call and figured that would be good enough.
We got to the field really early and got all our stuff out of the truck. We headed down to the field and I led the way because I had the bright light on my head. As we walked in the dark, we heard a gobble in the trees really loudly which meant they were really close. We were excited that they were already up and gobbling so early. We had to walk about 350 yards to get to our location. About 3/4?s the way in Adam noticed a ?shed? antler on the ground. We stopped and looked at it for a moment. It was a pretty nice shed?about an 8 point. After pausing for a moment, we continued to our location. We set up in a section of woods that is really like an island of woods out in the middle of a field. Will put the decoys out and then all of a sudden Adam says ?Where is the slate stick?? and we all stopped and thought for a moment and in one instant a sense of worry took us over. Will told Adam that he?d handed it to him back at the truck. Adam remembered and somehow, in between the truck and the island of woods, Adam had dropped/lost the slate striker. The immediate panic mode set in and we searched the ground for the striker. The growth in the field was wet from the early morning dew and the more we walked the wetter our pants legs and boots got. It was not a good situation. We literally had turkeys gobbling at us from the not-too-distant trees as the sun was just starting to come up? and we were looking all around for the striker. Adam thought he may have dropped the striker at the shed rack where we paused for a moment, so we turned around and went back and couldn?t find it there either. We were running out of time. We needed to get situated. We were posed with the situation of hearing turkeys gobble at us, the sun coming up, decoys on hand, but no way of making any sound to get any turkey?s attention. What would you do in this situation? Well, what we did was grab the shed rack and used it as the slate striker. It was not the best scenario in the world, but it was our only hope. I mean hey, you have to get creative in scenarios like this!
We made our way back to the edge of the woods and sat down. Believe it or not, the turkeys actually responded to the antler-against-the-slate combination a few times throughout the morning. In the video below (if you turn the volume up real loud) you will hear one response that a turkey made to the antler/slate call. I told the boys that Bruce Puette said you didn?t have to be a great caller to get a turkey, but somehow I thought we were pushing the limits with our shed antler stunt we were currently pulling. We knew the odds were against us, but we remained hopeful as we continued to get random responses from gobblers across the way.
We had one hen fly in the field really early. She flew down into the very middle of the field and slowly but surely she worked her way towards us. She remained solo the whole time. Eventually she went on past us, but it was fine with us as, by this time, the antler call didn?t seem to be working like we wanted. Though, we could still hear turkeys gobbling off in the distance in the trees across from us. We decided to move closer to the other side and set up at the big oak in the middle of the field. Since we were going to move we wanted to look for the slate striker for a second. We looked for a few minutes and couldn?t find anything, so we pushed on ahead to the big oak tree in the middle of the field. We sat there for a while, and nothing seemed to happen. We ended up moving one more time and we heard the turkey gobbling a lot, but in the end nothing happened.
Since I like to draw positives from any situation, I?m chalking this hunt up to a lesson learned?and that lesson is: Be sure your slate call striker/diaphragm/any necessary hunting gear is secured in a bag before you leave to go hunting! Initially Adam was upset because he dropped the striker, but in the end he was a good sport about it and even gave an interview about what happened that you?ll see at the end of the below video.
I post this blog because we aren?t professionals and don?t claim to be, but we sure do like to hunt! Instead of not mentioning it or being ?ultra-cool?, I like to keep it real and therefore I posted the blog to let you know how our hunt went. We?re not above messing up and it will probably happen again. I?m sure you may have ended up on a frustrating hunt or two in your day and, well, today was one of those days for us. I don?t guess our chances at getting a turkey were too high this morning, but sometimes in life you have to be able to look at a situation, smile, and not take yourself too seriously. Sure the boys practiced calling all night and sure we woke up early only to scratch a slate with a piece of an antler, but I mean look at the bright side?at least we were able to wake up and to go out and hunt somewhere. That?s a blessing in itself! I try to learn my lessons and be able to laugh about it. So feel free to give us a hard time when you see us, there probably will be more material like this to come and we?ll keep on learning our lessons! Every once in a while a not-so-perfect hunt happens and today was that day for us, but we still went to Bojangles afterwards!