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GRANT: (Shot) He’s down. The Proving Grounds does it again, Scottis.
SCOTT: That was a great hunt right there.
GRANT: Scott and I have been turkey hunting together every year since 1986. That’s a huge tradition of sharing hunts in Georgia, in South Carolina, in Missouri, in Mississippi, but we were able to bring it all home today here at The Proving Grounds.
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ADAM: Got my Grandpa here. He’ll be – you’ll be 88 in a month, isn't that correct?
JUNIOR: In June, yeah.
ADAM: In June, yeah – 88. Trying to get him his first bird ever. This new Caldwell Field Pod’s trying to figure out a way to hold it together the whole time, but this is perfect for us, so. ..you got anything to say? Add to it?
JUNIOR: Well, it, it’s real pretty day and it’s worth it, anytime I can be out with my grandson, why I’m gonna have a good day.
GRANT: Turkey season is shaping up to be an odd one this year because we were so warm early and then it’s snowing up in New England states right now. We got much colder last night than we were most of the winter, actually. Down in the 30’s, so we knew it would be a different morning as we struck out on 50 Acre Glade Ridge. It was a clear sunrise this morning, but the turkeys weren’t hitting it right at sunrise and I don't know if it was ‘cause it was ten or fifteen degrees colder than it has been, or what was going on, but it was kind of quiet right off the gate.
GRANT: After some time passed, Scott, Adam and I heard a turkey on the next ridge over. Seems like this year we can never get on the same ridge as those birds that start up at sunrise. That bird kept hammering on Boomerang Ridge, but Adam and I knew it was 400 feet down and 400 feet back up to get in his turf, so I was very patient trying to get something fired up on the 50 Acre Glade Ridge where we started.
GRANT: I let out a loud crow call and actually had a bird hit me somewhere on the same ridge.
GRANT: Hit the call a couple of times but that bird went dead silent all the time the old birds over on Boomerang Ridge, like a siren call, calling us into the crashing waves saying, “Come and get me boys. Come and get me.” Whatever it is, we loaded up and dove off the ridge, listening every now and then with our sites on Boomerang Ridge.
GRANT: I rarely think a straight line is the best way to approach a gobbler, but we weren’t calling, we did crow a time or two, making sure he was in the same location. But the straight line took us through a bedding area. I really don’t mind walking through sanctuaries or bedding areas this time of year as long as it’s not every day, all day long. And I felt the bird was over the ridge enough, by the sound, that we could walk through there without being busted. So, once we were in the woods, we stopped and the bird had drifted a little bit more – maybe two or three hundred yards down the ridge – but once again, I didn’t want to try to go to him. I wanted to find a flat spot, set up and start calling.
GRANT: I did some aggressive calling and he went silent on me – which I didn’t panic at all – ‘cause usually when a mature bird does that, it means he’s coming on in.
GRANT: Sure enough, maybe twenty minutes later, we hear a faint gobble, way down the ridge. And Adam, Scott and I kind of debated whether that was the same bird we were after or another bird just happened to pipe up down there.
GRANT: But as the silence lingered and lingered and I wasn’t hearing anything, I started thinking that bird had drifted off.
GRANT: As we were standing up and kind of collecting our gear and getting going, 200 yards away – ay, yah, yah, yah. And we instantly were back in the game.
GRANT: At what I’m estimating to be about 80 yards out, Adam and I whispered almost simultaneously, “I hear him walking.” But Scott looks at us like we got a hole in our head. Now Adam and I had the Wild Ears in and Scott didn’t. Now, this is a new thing for me, but I’m gaining confidence on every hunt what they're adding to my ears as far as hearing game and protecting them when a shot goes off.
GRANT: (Shot) And the next thing I know, I hear the shot and see the bird disappear behind the slope.
GRANT: Scott’s off, but you know what? Us fifty-year olds don’t run as fast as we used to, but he’s down there and crosses the fence in pretty good time and I see him slow up so I know that bird’s laying there and there’s nothing but congratulations and reliving memories at this point.
SCOTT: That’s gotta sting. Oh boy.
ADAM: I thought about going “Kee-kee.” (Laughter)
GRANT: And the plan was, Scott’s just got a couple of vacation days, so he was point gun and I was the back up. And I’m gonna tell you, when that bird come up and putted one time, if you hadn’t shot then, I’m afraid my Winchester would have barked.
SCOTT: Well, the thing is, you guys were hearing it before I was. I mean, I was relying on your information and you said, “He’s coming.” So I believed you, so I was up and ready.
GRANT: You know, I, I been – you know me. I’ve been deaf for the twenty years plus we’ve been hunting together, but with my new hearing assistance, I could hear that bird walking. It really added a lot of joy to my hunt. It added a lot of joy that I could hear it further than you could.
SCOTT: And I was glad to see that head because I was thinking he might be over on the right side, but he came up on the left and fortunate, just like you were saying, “Get ready.” And I was.
GRANT: Got a little curve to it. I’m not sure it’s a limb hanger. But it’s certainly got some curve to it. Three, four year old bird, and, uh, like I say, he peeped over that little rise and then the next thing that crossed his mind was a load of Winchester. (Chuckling)
GRANT: Sharing hunts on a property you have a relationship with, with a friend that you’ve known a long time is just about as good as it gets in the hunting world.
GRANT: You know, say the truth, you know. You packed it out; said it weighed 40 pounds, were tripping on a 12” beard or something, like that but…
SCOTT: It felt heavier than that.
GRANT: 10, 10-1/2, depending on which hair you want to call. We got one hair out to 11 there. You know, when turkeys are over feeding, they're dragging that beard about 10, 10-1/2 inches and that’s why most turkeys have a 10, 10-1/2 inch beard. The beard has to be growing very fast or turkey’s legs longer than normal to have a longer beard.
GRANT: This guy should have rubbed most of these feathers off right here breeding, but it’s not bald like a lot of turkeys we’ve harvested in the past. I just don't think he’s finding many hens to breed and I think that’s just another indicator that our population’s way down here at The Proving Grounds.
GRANT: One of the things I want to do with the deer or turkey, whatever, is what we call scouting from the skinning shed. Although, we’re just along the gravel road right now, but we want to open up their digestive track and see what they’ve been eating and what we have here is a strawberry, a wild strawberry. That information tells me these birds are going out in those open areas; strawberries are ripe right now. That’s a big food source this time of year and you can bet we’ll probably be hanging around some wild strawberries on a future hunt.
GRANT: Now GrowingDeer.tv has officially got a mobile site too. It’s not an app, you don’t need to pay for anything. Just go to GrowingDeer.tv and our site will automatically know which device is calling it and it’ll be formatted exactly for that device. Shoot me an email and let me know how it plays for you, but we’ve done a little testing already and everyone tells us that it’s actually playing faster on their smart phone devices than it is on some of their laptop connections.
GRANT: I hope y'all get out and have some great turkey hunting experiences in Creation this week. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
GRANT: Late into the breeding season, but there’s another story about that we’ll look at in just a second. (Laughter)