Turkey Hunts and Spring Planting (Episode 23 Transcript)

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ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer.tv is brought to you by Reconyx, Barnes, Eagle Seed, Muddy Outdoors, Trophy Rock, Antler Dirt, Nikon, and Outer Armour.

WOODS: Hey, we just put the Outer Armour blind out.  If you haven’t been in an Outer Armour blind, check them out.  You will love them.  They are solid and quiet.  They're made out of a special construction foam, above my head, but they're not too hot; not too cold.  Just right.

My 79 year-old father has never turkey hunted.  He’s a big deer hunter, squirrel hunter, fisherman, but never had an interest in turkey hunting, so tomorrow morning, we’re gonna introduce dad into turkey hunting the rough way by putting him in an Outer Armour blind.  Had some friends come over from church.  Those things are heavy and you saw us lift and get it all around, so just great shape for that.  And we’ll see what happens tomorrow morning right here at Rifle Range Field in the new, brand new Outer Armour blind.

WOODS: Let me tell you up front, I’m much more of a family man and a hunter than I’m a cameraman.  My dad is 79 years old.  His first turkey hunt ever.  First morning of Missouri season 2010, my dad’s first turkey hunt ever and I’d been doing a little calling and sure enough, a big mature Tom, ended up being three years old and it worked perfect.  Just had a jake decoy out.  I was so thrilled, I forgot to hit the record button and that turkey come right to the decoy and strutted at it and strutted around it and I’m filming, I think I’m filming.  I’m focused.  Everything’s great.  Everything but the record button.  So, phooey on me.  Uh, good guide, bad cameraman.

[Shot]

WOODS: Just tell me about it.

GLEN: Uh, he sneaked right up on me.  Uh, walked around the decoy and you said, wait until he stuck his head up and that’s what I done.

GLEN: Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, uh, mercy.

WOODS: That is a trophy.  Look at those big spurs.  That’s a trophy!  Big beard! Oh yeah!

GLEN: Ha.  And that was a good shot, huh?

WOODS: Hmm.  Hmm.  You did perfect, dad!

GLEN: Ha, ha, ha.  I had no idea I was gonna see a turkey the first day I ever hunted turkey in my life.

WOODS: First day you’ve ever hunted turkey.  79 years old.  And this is the first day you’ve ever turkey hunted.

GLEN: Yeah.  I remember when you was a kid.  You was interested in it and I’d take you down there and you’d go off in the woods and I hear the turkeys hollering or you one, didn’t know which.  Well, now when you moved here on this place, there virtually wasn’t any game on the place, was they?

WOODS: Hardly any turkeys here.

GLEN: Yup.

WOODS: I didn’t turkey hunt for the first few years, letting the population build up.

GLEN: Yeah.

WOODS:  And we’ve been trapping and planting and burning and doing things, but we have a good turkey population now.

GLEN: My boy talked me into it and I come down here to try it out.  And this one walked up and I took a shot at him and down he went.

Uh, I enjoy hunting of all kinds, but I just hadn’t ever turkey hunted before and I’m sure glad I come now.

WOODS: That worked out great!

GLEN: Wonder what makes ‘em orange back there.  I never noticed that.

WOODS: That’s just the way the sun’s shining on there.  See how they change colors as you change that?

GLEN: Oh.  Huh.

WOODS: That a full fan.  Boy, that’s a beautiful fan!

GLEN: Well, I’ll be dag gone.

WOODS: That’s a real trophy there.

WOODS: May 19th, first day of turkey season.  Season ends at 1:00 p.m. in Missouri.  Eric’s been spreading our, our Antler Dirt, our composted litter, but hung up here crossing this creek, so I wasn’t recording when my dad shot the turkey and Eric’s hung up, had to get a tractor to come pull you out.  This is reality, reality…, whatever, folks, you know.  Stuff doesn’t always run right when you're managing wildlife.  Doesn’t mean you quit or get upset because you're blessed to have a beautiful sunny day and good health.  We just gotta yank him out and go on.

WOODS: All right.  Oh, no.  All right!  There we go!  There we go!  That back end was hung up but we are in good shape now.

You can see how clean the stream is.  Clear water means there’s absolutely no nutrients draining out of the local ground into the water.  This, you can see every gravel on the bottom of this stream, literally, five, ten, feet deep.  It’s not that deep here, but, and that means ligotrophic or sterile, no nutrients, low nutrients and we add this compost, organic matter to our food plots and it’s what I call Antler Dirt.

[Shot]

WOODS: All right!  Two for two for my brother-in-law!  That’s a big bird!

DARRELL: That’s a pretty good size, ain’t he?

WOODS: (Whispering) Check this shell in there.  Check shell in there.  Real quiet.  Real quiet.  No, let’s just let them rest.  They’ve heard a bunch of calling now.  Oh, that was cool!  Darrell made a great shot!  And while it was still flopping and we were kind of “high five-ing”, Darrell said, “Here comes some more,” and two more come in.  I’ve got a tag so he passed me the shotgun and I could see ‘em and they were within range, but the way I got the camera set, it would have been off camera so I opted to see if we could call ‘em back toward where the camera was.  And they’d had enough, so they just eased out, but, man, did we have; that was incredible!

WOODS: We are exactly right where this big turkey fell and I want you to look.  How long do you think that is, Darrell?  They measure on the outside curve here.

DARRELL: I’d say it’s an inch and a half.

WOODS: The breeding season, turkey breeding, is just barely starting, because when they really get to breeding, an old dominant bird like this will have wore all these feathers off his breast where he’s mounting hens.  So, it’s just starting.  Now, he’s been strutting, because look how these are wore off.  He’s been dragging and strutting…

DARRELL: I noticed that.

WOODS: …and just like he took a belt sander and wore that right off there.

DARRELL: Huh.

WOODS: Unless your turkey’s got abnormally long legs which would lift him up higher so the beard doesn’t drag off, your bird’s so healthy that the beard is growing faster than he can wear it off.  And you get some turkeys like that.  But 12, 13 inches, anywhere near is a huge beard.  I got “record” on this one, so we got it rolling.

DARRELL: Got it good.

[Shot]

DARRELL: Yup.

WOODS: And, uh, and then, soon as he shoots, two more adult birds come in.   Look like this big.

DARRELL: I, they were at least that big or bigger, I think.

WOODS: Boy, I love it!  So, years of planting, Eagle Seed beans, a big forage soybean, that’s where they're in this field.  To see, trying to scratch a few beans out of here.  We’re getting ready to plant, starting later today, probably.  And, I just heard another one gobble.

DARRELL: Yup.

WOODS: And trapping predators; removing predators. There’s probably more predators in a lot of America right now than there has been in decades.  But, here at The Proving Grounds, we’ve been intensively trapping for four years, five on part, four on all and it’s really paying off because Missouri’s turkey population is going down.  What articles about it is, it’s not as big as it used to be.  Hunting’s not as good.  Thinking about even possibly restricting seasons.  That’s not a case here.  Plenty of turkeys.

DARRELL: I think a lot of people are starting to figure out there’s too many coyotes.

WOODS: Too many coyotes; too many coons; too many skunks and, uh, we’d rather eat a turkey.

DARRELL: That’s right.

WOODS: All right.  Let’s go weigh this thing and, uh, see how it all works out.

DARRELL: All right.  Sounds good to me, brother.

WOODS: Thank you, Darrell.

DARRELL: Thank you.

BRAD: So, the reason why we’re calibrating our drill today is so that we know how many seeds per acre, we’re putting out in our field.  Knowing how many seeds per acre to put out in your field is based on what your soil conditions are in your area.  In our area, we’ve got about moderate quality soils.  We’ve been adding Antler Dirt for the past several years.  When we first started, our soils were very poor.  We had to go down to about 20,000 seeds per acre.  Now that we’ve been adding Antler Dirt, our nutrients are rising, our water holding capacity is rising, we’re able to put about 26,000 seeds per acre.

So, the reason we calibrate our drill is so we can match our density of crop out in the field to what our soil conditions allow us.  In particular, on our no-till drill, we have to calibrate about 20% less than what we actually want to put in the field.  That’s called our little rock factor.  As we drive across the field our planter bounces, bouncing out more seed.  So, when I calibrate, I calibrate for about 22,000 seeds per acre when I really want about 26,000 seeds per acre.