Intense Turkey Hunting: A Calling Strategy That Worked (Episode 442 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

SCOTT: When you said, “60”, I’m like, “Come on.” (Inaudible) And then it got down to 40 and I was ready to do it.

GRANT: Rain and cold temperatures have made turkey season a challenge this year. But even with those conditions, we’ve bagged several mature toms here at The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: During the past couple days, we’ve started seeing hens and toms by their self. This is an indicator hens are finally starting to nest. And toms should be a bit more responsive to calling.

GRANT: Lone toms that have been used to being with hens all day long tend to be very responsive to calling.

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GRANT: After recently checking our trail cameras, we noticed a lone tom by himself in Boom North Powerline a couple of mornings in a row. Based on this MRI – most recent information – I felt it would be a good day for Rae to skip school and go turkey hunting.

GRANT: I suspected the tom was roosted to the northeast of the powerline on the point of a ridge.

GRANT: Oftentimes in mountain country, toms will roost on the point of a ridge so they can hear a larger area.

GRANT: Rae and I have been hunting together since she was a small girl. And I cherish every outing.

GRANT: Rae. Look at that. Turkey hunter, Rae.

RAE: Way too heavy.

RAE: And this kid was wearing an apron and it said, “Cook ‘em, Dano.”

GRANT: I felt it was a good sign we’d located a tom near the Boom North Powerline because last year Rae had a great hunt there.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) He’s just gonna strut around.

RAE: (Whispering) Should I shoot or not?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Not yet.

GRANT: I guess you did that. (Laughter)

RAE: That was (Inaudible).

GRANT: Oh, Rae. He’s got his eyeball right in the center right there. Rae was wanting to smoke that thing right there.

RAE: I was ready.

GRANT: Oooh, I can't shoot him. I can kill him. I can't shoot him. I can kill him. (Laughter)

GRANT: We got up early and got in the blind before light.

RAE: (Whispering) Am I allowed to mention that I’m skipping school?

GRANT: (Whispering) Huh?

RAE: (Whispering) Am I allowed to mention that I’m skipping school?

GRANT: (Whispering) Sure. Yeah, I don’t care.

RAE: (Whispering) Okay. It is April 27th, and we’re up here on Boom North. It’s looking like it’s gonna be a pretty good day. Haven’t heard many yet, but we’re hoping that we will. Um, dad was up here yesterday, and he actually saw a bird and we’ve had a good pattern. So, hopefully, we’ll get one.

GRANT: Soon after light crested the hill, we heard a gobble not that far in front of us.

GRANT: It wasn’t long until I could tell the tom had hit the ground and was moving our way.

GRANT: This was exactly what the tom Rae tagged last year had done, so Rae got the gun up on the FieldPod and got ready.

TYLER: (Whispering) Pull it down. All right. Go.

RAE: (Whispering) Okay. So, like, we just heard the bird super-duper close. So, I think he’s gonna come on in, like, really close.

TYLER: (Whispering) He’s right there. Don’t move. Easy, Rae. See him right there?

RAE: (Whispering) Yeah, I see him.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah.

RAE: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: It’s always exciting when you first spot that white head coming over the ridge.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: Everything was working out great, but it seemed the tom held up just before he got in shooting range. He strutted and gobbled, but wasn’t making any progress toward our setup.

GRANT: After many minutes, he veered off to the left and headed in the timber.

RAE: (Whispering) I see him.

TYLER: (Whispering) What?

RAE: (Whispering) Y'all ready?

TYLER: (Whispering) Where’s he at?

RAE: (Whispering) On the head. I’ll wait for him to move in just a bit.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

RAE: (Whispering) I gotta click the safety off.

TYLER: (Whispering) Can you see him now?

RAE: (Whispering) Yeah.

TYLER: (Whispering) Kill him.

RAE: (Whispering) Oh, I can't. He’s moving.

GRANT: (Whispering) Make sure you're really (Inaudible).

RAE: (Whispering) Right. Yeah. He’s too far. I can’t. I don’t have a clear shot.

TYLER: (Whispering). Alright. Don’t shoot.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Do you see him?

RAE: (Whispering) I can just see the top of his head.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) He’ll come over here.

RAE:(Whispering) No. I lost him.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) He’s coming. He’s coming.

GRANT: He entered the power line we were watching, but simply moved across right about the crest of the ridge and really didn’t offer Rae a clean shot.

TYLER: (Whispering) Do you see him, Rae?

RAE: (Whispering) No.

GRANT: Gobbler went out of view and got quiet. I gotta tell you. Rae thought her chances were over.

GRANT: We remained quiet, thinking the tom would drift back out and after a while, we heard a gobble behind the blind.

GRANT: I peeked out the rear window of the blind; the tom was about 40 yards and going the other way.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: Once we got turned around and he was still in the field, then I started calling.

GRANT: The tom would respond to my calls, but he was hung up. He wasn’t coming our way.

RAE: (Whispering) He’s (Inaudible).

GRANT: I cranked up the calling and started cutting. He was strutting and putting on a show, but going back and forth – not toward us.

RAE: (Whispering) He’s in full strut.

TYLER: (Whispering) He’s in full strut. There might be another turkey over there.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah.

RAE:(Whispering) He’s doing something.

GRANT: Quite a bit of time passed and then we spotted a hen coming to the tom.

RAE: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

GRANT: I felt this was good news and I changed strategies from such aggressive calling to trying to call the hen to us.

GRANT: I felt very strongly if I could attract the hen, the tom would follow.

RAE: (Whispering) Yeah.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible) That’s her.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, that’s her.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) That’s impressive.

GRANT: That was a good choice because the strategy worked. The hen slowly and faster and faster, started moseying our way.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. That’s good (Inaudible).

RAE: (Whispering) Yeah.

GRANT: (Whispering) Make sure you (Inaudible).

RAE: (Whispering) It’s dead.

GRANT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)

RAE: (Whispering) I’m shooting.

GRANT: (Whispering) Wait until he gets to the leaves and his head’s sticking straight up.

TYLER: (Whispering) Wait until he gets to this side.

RAE: (Whispering) Yeah, I know. Can I shoot him when he’s facing us, though?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah.

RAE: (Whispering) Okay.

GRANT: (Whispering) Right, right (Inaudible).

RAE: (Whispering) He’s almost there.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s (Inaudible).

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) I don't know.

GRANT: (Whispering) It’s okay, it’s okay. He’ll follow her, Rae. It’s okay.

GRANT: A lot of calling and patience.

RAE: (Whispering) Yeah, I can see her.

GRANT: The hen ended up walking within a few yards of the blind. But the gobbler was hanging up a little bit.

RAE: (Whispering) Five yards. And then I’m good.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Okay. (Inaudible)

RAE: (Whispering) Are you ready?

TYLER: (Whispering) No. One second.

RAE: (Whispering) He’s in range.

TYLER: (Whispering) Wait, wait, wait, wait.

RAE: (Whispering) I’m gonna hit the plastic. I can't.

GRANT: (Whispering) You're doing good, Rae.

RAE: (Whispering) He’s going too far over. I’m gonna have to move. And I’m not gonna make it. I’m gonna hit that stick. He’s gotta come back over.

GRANT: (Whispering) Can you kill the turkey?

RAE: (Whispering) No. He’s behind the stick. I will hit that stick.

GRANT: The gobbler was in clear view from Tyler and I, but Rae is looking out a side window and there’s a limb right where she needs to shoot.

RAE: (Whispering) The stick. There’s no way. I can't. Unless I stand up and shoot. (Inaudible)

GRANT: (Whispering) You can stand up. Which way do you need to move?

RAE: (Whispering) I can't.

GRANT: The tom’s head’s up and he clearly knew something was going on. And I’m telling Rae, “Take the shot; take the shot.”

RAE: (Whispering) He’s straight in front of me, but the stick is covering everything.

TYLER: (Whispering) The hen’s off in the woods.

GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah. He’s gonna, he’s gonna (Inaudible).

GRANT: I’m getting anxious and I know Rae is a great shot. I never want her to take a shot that she’s not comfortable with, but I’m starting to tell her, “Move the FieldPod. Do something. Make it happen.” Because this tom is getting ready to leave the field.

GRANT: (Whispering) He’s gonna go right. What are we gonna do? (Inaudible)

RAE: (Whispering) You gotta move. I gotta be where you are.

GRANT: (Whispering) Come on, Rae. Make it happen. Put it on his head and kill him.

RAE: (Whispering) I can't. Move the chair.

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Can you find him, Rae?

RAE: (Whispering) Ready.

GRANT: Go.

GRANT: You nailed him; you nailed him. You nailed him!

RAE: Oh, my gosh. Oh. Are you sure?

GRANT: Oh yeah, I’m sure, baby. I am sure. Let’s get this safety on. You nailed him.

RAE: Oh, my gosh. Ahh.

GRANT: I knew you could do it.

RAE: That was insane. Oooo. I feel like a sniper or something. Ooo.

GRANT: I knew you could do it.

RAE: That was crazy.

GRANT: I knew you could do it.

RAE: It’s been like four hours.

GRANT: I knew you could do it. That was an epic turkey hunt, there.

RAE: That was crazy.

GRANT: You earned that turkey.

RAE: That was crazy.

GRANT: You earned that turkey, baby.

RAE: Finally, I, like, get in position. Like, this is happening really fast. Like, normally I wait a couple seconds, you know. Like, calm myself down so it’s a good shot and I’m prepared. Well, I was like, like “This turkey’s going out of range.” And so, get up; I get my sights on, like right there. Like, I shoot trap, so I’m used to, like, kinda like putting my sights on, so I’m like pulling and moving on. You know? But, I’m like, “It’s not trap. Just put it on there and shoot.” And so, I was like, “All right.” Like, put it on there, once I see the head, I, I’m good. I go, like, “One, two.” And then, pull the trigger. Boom. Like, turkey down.

RAE: And, so he’s out there right now. I think I actually shot him at 61 yards is what we finally decided. Which is a pretty far shot. And he’s down; he’s dead and it was a really fun hunt.

GRANT: He’s got a big beard on him.

GRANT: Huge spurs. Look at these spurs. For the Ozarks, for rocky country.

RAE: Good gravy.

GRANT: Look at that hook.

RAE: Good night.

GRANT: He can hang a limb. He may actually be a limb hanger.

RAE: Dude. Yes.

GRANT: Look at those hooks.

RAE: What? Look at that shot; look at that shot.

GRANT: You thumped him, girl.

RAE: What?

GRANT: 61 yards. You can tell. We’re so late. Usually, by this time of season, they’ve worn all their chest feathers off from mating. But he’s barely got any worn off. It’s a really odd year. But, it worked out perfect for you.

RAE: Oh yeah.

RAE: He was about to go out of my sight, and so dad’s, like, “Shoot it.” And I’m like, “I can't.” And he’s like, “Shoot it.” And I’m like, “All right.” And so, I have to move over and get through all the sticks and stuff. I put the crosshairs right on top of his head ‘cause he was a little bit far away. Pulled the trigger. And he was down.

GRANT: While they were taking some pictures, I eased off to the side and had a little quiet time. What a blessing it was to take Rae hunting and share this experience. Great hunt; a lot of challenges. Great test of patience, persistence and making sure you do it right.

GRANT: I knew you could do it.

RAE: That was insane.

GRANT: This was a long and very exciting and challenging hunt. You tend to remember those hunts more and you walk up, make a few calls, flies off the roost, boom, they're dead.

GRANT: All hunts are great. But the hunts that present more of a challenge tend to stay in our memory and are much sweeter much longer.

GRANT: I’m really excited about this upcoming growing season. We’re receiving some rain. I constantly am learning more and more about the Buffalo system – an inexpensive way to manage land and provide better quality forage for wildlife.

GRANT: I shared last week that the Eagle Seed blend we planted last fall is still providing high quality forage for our critters and doing amazing things to improve our soils.

GRANT: The forage is protecting our soils from wind and water erosion. We’ve had some heavy rains recently. It’s actually keeping that water on site versus it running off. And, it’s keeping the soil temperature moderated – not getting too hot; not getting too cold.

GRANT: On top of all that, the annual clover in that blend is providing super high-quality forage right now and putting nitrogen in the soil. It’s like a time release blend. Some of the varieties fed deer early fall, mid fall, late fall, and now, well into the spring.

GRANT: No single species could do that throughout the winter and no single species is as good for the soil health.

GRANT: Here in a week or two, we’ll terminate that fall blend with the Goliath crimper.

GRANT: A technique that seems odd but, we’ll be sharing it with you soon. We tried it last year – based on research from multiple universities – is we’ll be drilling through our standing fall blend and then crimping after we’ve planted.

GRANT: It seems just backwards, but several universities showed a pretty significant increase in bean yield by planting and then terminating the crop on top of that.

GRANT: It’s easy to walk through food plots and see what’s happening on top of the soil. But the real magic – that’s happening below the surface.

GRANT: Oh yeah. Look at all those worms. Five right there.

GRANT: An easy indicator of healthy soil is the presence of a thriving earthworm population.

GRANT: 18. Wow. 27 right here. Oooo, baby. 27. 28. Get that one, Jacob. 28. 28. 29. 35. Three dozen worms that we found in one shovel full.

GRANT: Think about this whole little field. This is a small little quarter-acre food plot. Three dozen worms right here. Three dozen. Think about the hundreds or millions in this little spot. Certainly, tens of thousands.

GRANT: Working every day, better than any disc. Loosening the soil; letting air and water go in and out of the soil as, as it was meant to. Recycling nutrients. Even breaking down rock and recycling nutrients and making them in a form that plants love. You can't buy any better fertilizer than what these worms are making.

GRANT: I mean, did you have any idea there’d be 30 some odd right there in that one shovel?

JACOB: Not that many.

GRANT: Just think about that. 30 worms working 24 hours a day; seven days a week. They go down deeper when it’s dry or up shallower when it’s wetter.

GRANT: It’s still a little cool. We’re not in prime worm season yet – if you will.

JACOB: Yep.

GRANT: I mean they're here year-round, but they're closer to the surface as it warms up. We’re still, we’ve got jackets on; a little cool this morning.

GRANT: And think about that. They're just – all day long. They're not, like, sleeping. All day long, they're working through here loosening soil. People talk about, “Why don’t you disc?” This is my disc. And it doesn’t take any diesel fuel or new tires or labor. This is my disc.

GRANT: And they're aerating the soil perfectly. We can't create an aerator that does a better job.

GRANT: They're allowing the water to infiltrate in and making – the little ones are making perfect little root channels for roots to follow and where the worm slides – of course, it’s got a little slime on ‘em. You can see it on my fingers.

GRANT: Where the roots slide, that slime is nutrient rich. That’s just like a super fertilized channel for the root to go down.

GRANT: I’m, uh, there’s just nothing bad here. This is all good. It’s not good. It’s great. This is how the Garden of Eden was meant to be, if you will.

GRANT: And it’s working right here with no inputs except the four basic rules. Of course, we want something growing year-round ‘cause they feed on this. Right? They're feeding on last year’s crop which is breaking down and decomposing.

GRANT: They're feeding on that and we’ve got something growing year-round. We’ve got multiple species of plants growing.

GRANT: In here, we have different species. This is the Buffalo fall blend. And we want something growing year-round. We, we want the soil always covered. We never want it bare.

GRANT: And you feel how loose it is?

JACOB: Yeah.

GRANT: People ask me all the time, “Well, don’t you have to till to loosen the soil?” I mean, look at that. Look how all the worms have – it couldn’t be better.

GRANT: Earthworm castings. Well, they're rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. And it’s free.

GRANT: I just want to take a random shovel here. Probably can't get too deep due to the rocks in the Ozarks. Oh yeah. Got that cottage cheese look.

GRANT: You can tell where worms have been all through here. Where worms have been aerating the soil and going through. And I’ve got about maybe a quarter of a shovel there. Two in my hand; I saw some getting away. Four or five worms right here in the quarter of a shovel.

GRANT: But just look how easy and crumbly this moist soil is. And we’ve had rain. Moist soil because the worms have been making channels through there as they're foraging and moving around. And water infiltrates in; doesn’t necessarily pack the top of the soil ‘cause of all the duff from last year’s crop laying on top of it. So, it’s hitting that instead of the soil and not compacting it.

GRANT: The worms are feeding on that older duff as it dec- decays and breaks down. Of course, in the daylight, like this, they're going a little bit deeper. At night – we’ll probably come out here pretty soon with a flashlight at night and show you what’s actually happening on top of the soil.

GRANT: It’s a big change for a lot of people. But there’s no doubt about it. Healthier soil is undisturbed soil. Soil that’s not disced and not tilled.

GRANT: Another indicator of the health of our soil – I mentioned earlier, we’ve had some really heavy rains recently – but the creek is running crystal clear.

GRANT: Had a couple of significant rains in the last 48 hours – actually, a local flood warnings. And you can tell the creek – it’s rocking this morning. But you can also see every pebble, every stone on the bottom. There’s no siltation.

GRANT: We just talked about earthworms and making pores in the soil. So, water infiltrates in instead of running across. When it runs across the top, it carries sediment – we call it erosion. Gets in streams; causes pollution.

GRANT: But, if you’ve got a healthy landscape. We’re in really steep land here. Water runs off rapidly. But it’s all covered. Either by forest or by food plots that are never tilled.

GRANT: And with that, the soil stays in place and actually builds up instead of running off.

GRANT: I’m sure most of y'all noticed in areas where there’s a lot of discing or soil tillage, after a heavy rain, the local creeks and lakes – well, they're full of soil. And that’s not good for the soil quality or the water quality.

GRANT: Based on what we’ve learned in the past, I’m super excited about this growing season and some new techniques we’ll be experimenting with. We’ll be sharing all of this with you throughout the summer.

GRANT: The more I learn about healthy ecosystems, the more I appreciate Creation. But, most importantly, I appreciate the Creator. Make sure you take time every day to slow down and listen to what He’s saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.