Turkey Hunting | Strategies For Strutting Toms (Episode 439 Transcript)

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DANIEL: (Whispering) He’s coming. He’s close. He’s coming to the decoy.

CHASE: (Whispering) Oh. Hey buddy.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Right on his head now. Shoot.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Smoked him, Chase.

GRANT: Last week, we shared that first-time turkey hunter, Chase, tagged his first tom here at The Proving Grounds.

JOHN: Is he getting heavy?

CHASE: Kinda.

GRANT: After youth season, Daniel pulled out his Prime and started preparing to hunt in Kansas.

GRANT: Kansas has an early archery only season and Monday Daniel and Tyler packed the truck and rode west.

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GRANT: We’ve been planning this hunt since last fall with our good friend, Mark, from Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland. Mark’s family farm is in central Kansas and it happens to have several large alfalfa fields.

GRANT: Commercial alfalfa fields are very attractive to turkeys this time of year. The vegetation is short; there’s a lot of bugs working it; so you’ve got forage and bugs in one area.

MARK: I’m guessing they're gonna fly down right on this alfalfa.

DANIEL: Hmm. Hmm.

GRANT: During the late afternoon before Daniel and Tyler arrived, Mark went out, roosted some birds and then they all three got together and developed a strategy.

MARK: (Inaudible) I think, but…

DANIEL: What’s their behavior looking like or…

MARK: I’ve seen – they're pretty aggressive right now. It looked like from, from what I could see, uh, toms are chasing each other; fighting…

DANIEL: Right.

MARK: …chasing each other. They’ll break off for a little while and run in circles; chase each other. So, I think they're pretty, pretty fired up right now.

DANIEL: Hmm. Hmm.

GRANT: The morning of the hunt, Mark, Daniel and Tyler settled in the blind and got ready for sunrise.

GRANT: They didn’t have to wait long because as soon as light broke, the toms were talking. The guys could actually see the turkeys roosted in trees.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Good friend – Mark from Mossy Oak Properties – has been scouting turkeys for several weeks for us. Last night, he roosted birds and they're gobbling their heads off. So, hopefully, they’ll fly down soon and bring something in close.

DANIEL: Mark said he was watching the birds yesterday afternoon and they were very aggressive, so, decided to set out the Jake Purr-Fect with two hens, try to make a tom jealous and bring ‘em in within bow range.

GRANT: The toms and hens begin pitching down and they could hear both of ‘em communicating.

GRANT: Both hens and strutters started to pour into the field. It’s a good feeling to know you're in the game. Boy, did those guys get to see a great show.

GRANT: The guys were excited to see all the action, but they were starting to wonder if the turkeys were gonna come within bow range.

GRANT: Turkeys being turkeys – the gobblers started drifting down the field following the hens.

GRANT: The turkeys seemed to have moved out of the field. Suddenly, the guys spotted hens not far from the blind and some toms were in tow.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Seen a lot of birds this morning – kind of broke off into several different groups just to our south. We looked out, peaked out the blind. It looks like there’s a group working the edge of the field back our way. So, we’re gonna sit tight. Hopefully, these decoys will bring ‘em in. We’ll see what happens.

DANIEL: (Whispering) Easy, easy. (Inaudible) Easy, easy.

UNKOWN: (Whispering) See them coming in?

UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yeah, yeah. (Inaudible)

GRANT: The hens swung wide and the toms followed.

GRANT: At lunchtime, Mark needed to return to the office. So, Daniel and Tyler decided to try a different set up. They set up on the edge of the timber where the turkeys had entered the field; thinking that the turkeys would return that afternoon to feed again.

GRANT: Based on the morning observation of the hens flaring a bit off the decoy set up, they decided a jake might be a bit much. So, Daniel put it in his vest and just set out two hens for the afternoon hunt.

GRANT: Daniel and Tyler stayed in the blind several hours before they spotted a turkey coming into the field.

GRANT: It was a hen. She came right up to the Montana Decoys.

GRANT: It seemed Daniel had made a great decision. And having decoys that are extremely packable made changing his flock very easy.

GRANT: It wasn’t long before another hen stepped out. This time a strutter following.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

GRANT: Daniel prepared for the shot. He pulled back the Bloodsport and let it fly.

GRANT: Ouch. It was a miss.

GRANT: Between the time Daniel ranged the turkey, quietly put the rangefinder down and prepared for the shot, the tom had drifted several yards on out and the shot was low.

GRANT: Bow hunting turkeys is tough. They have very small vitals compared to a deer and they can move much quicker than it appears.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

GRANT: Daniel and Tyler saw lots more turkeys that afternoon, but none of ‘em in range.

GRANT: The weather forecast for the following morning was windy and cloudy. Tough conditions to chase turkeys.

GRANT: Right at daybreak, they heard a few gobbles and saw some turkeys fly down.

GRANT: Unfortunately, this group moved the other direction.

GRANT: Based on what they’d observed the previous afternoon, Daniel and Tyler hunkered down and waited – thinking the birds would feed through that afternoon.

GRANT: Throughout the day, several groups of hens and jakes worked by.

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) Yeah.

GRANT: Several hours later, Tyler spotted a turkey headed their way.

GRANT: Check out that beard blowing in the wind.

GRANT: Would this tom come within range?

UNKNOWN: (Inaudible)

GRANT: Daniel got ready.

DANIEL: (Whispering) What’s he at?

TYLER: (Whispering) 28.

DANIEL: Ooo. Oh. What a time we’ve had in Kansas. Oh, my word!

DANIEL: Sure enough – this tom comes in alone and he just beelines straight to us.

DANIEL: I think Tyler ranged him at 28 and he’s down. Super pumped. Oh, yeah!

DANIEL: Great longbeard; he’s got some good hooks on him; great beard. And here it is 3:30 in the afternoon and this longbeard’s down and we are happy. So. Just blessed.

DANIEL: Appreciate Mark of Mossy Oak Properties letting us come out and hunt on his farm. Uh, he really set us up. Did a great job scouting several weeks in advance.

DANIEL: Gosh. He knew which trees they were roosted in and, and we just, we just hunted around his scouting strategy. So, I’m just happy and I’m ready for Missouri season to start.

DANIEL: Got a little taste of it last week when I took out a youth, uh, during Missouri’s youth season and had a great hunt then.

DANIEL: But, on Monday, we’re starting things up in Missouri and, and things are looking, looking good and hoping to get everyone on a bird. So, what a great way to kick off my 2018 season.

DANIEL: What a beautiful bird, man. Uh.

GRANT: The success of this hunt clearly had a lot to do with Mark’s scouting before Daniel and Tyler arrived.

GRANT: The guys from Mossy Oak Properties of the Heartland not only know property, they know hunting. And that’s important when you're looking for a recreational property.

GRANT: Mark, thanks for all your hard work and skill and we look forward to hunting with you again soon.

GRANT: Turkey season opened in Arkansas recently. And Heath and Lindsey were ready at the family farm.

GRANT: They had several recent Reconyx videos of a tom visiting a small hidey hole food plot within range of the Redneck Blind.

GRANT: With a pattern like that, it was a no brainer where Heath and Lindsey would start opening morning.

GRANT: Team Martin made their way to the blind and settled in for the hunt.

GRANT: At first light, they heard a tom fire off on the limb.

GRANT: It wasn’t long until several toms fired off from the tree and kept talking once they hit the ground.

GRANT: Heath knew there was a mature tom in the area, so he chose to call softly and not too often because old toms can be very wary.

HEATH: (Whispering) Well, good morning. We’re tucked up in a Redneck Blind here overlooking our food plot. We got two birds sitting, hammering on a roost – one’s right here on this next point and one on the point just across from it. And they were hammering good on the tree.

HEATH: (Whispering) They have flown down now. They’ve pretty well quieted up. The season’s a couple weeks earlier than it normally is this year. And these are both really mature birds. I think they're both four-year-old birds. There was a big group of jakes, well, well, five years ago now, I guess. They're four, whatever it is. And we’ve killed birds out of that group every year. And there’s only two left. They’ve lived on this mountain their whole life.

HEATH: (Whispering) Oh. There he is. Not too far. So, they're big, mature birds and they're older. So, I’m trying not to call much – just a little bit.

HEATH: (Whispering) We’ve worked these birds before and we’ve killed a bunch of their friends together. So, which it’s opening day; they haven’t been messed with any this year, so maybe that will be to our advantage.

GRANT: Suddenly, Lindsey spotted movement.

GRANT: The tom strutted and slowly worked toward the food plot.

GRANT: Heath patiently waited, hoping the Miss Purr-Fect would bring the tom within range.

HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible) The decoy.

GRANT: After what seemed like a long wait, Heath was finally able to get the Winchester up and take aim.

HEATH: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Right there?

LINDSEY: (Whispering) Yup.

HEATH: (Whispering) Well, got a big, ole Arkansas bird on the ground. Them old birds are smart. He didn’t want to come real close. That’s probably a 40-yard shot.

LINDSEY: (Whispering) Dropped him.

HEATH: (Whispering) I don’t like shooting ‘em that far; I like ‘em at 20 yards, but.

LINDSEY: (Whispering) Good job.

HEATH: (Whispering) Well, the plan worked. I didn’t talk very much. Just a couple soft tones and they heard us over here. I know they're used to coming to this food plot, so we just kind of waited. And it wasn’t very long (Inaudible) him coming through the woods.

HEATH: Well, opening morning here in Arkansas – April the 9th. Sun’s about to come over the hilltop. We got a big, ole eastern gobbler on the ground. Man, it doesn’t get much better than that.

HEATH: These birds were gobbling on the roost really hard this morning. Didn’t take ‘em long after they hit the ground – or this one particularly to work his way into this little ridgetop food plot.

HEATH: We've been super successful here. We typically start here opening morning ‘cause the birds just really like to use this spot. So, it doesn’t particularly take a ton of coaxing to get ‘em up in here per se.

HEATH: And, uh, a lot of times if you play your cards right, we can get one here opening morning right off the bat and get the season started. So.

HEATH: You know, one of the reasons we have so much success, we think, in this food plot is just kind of the strategic location of it. And to be honest with you, it was kind of an accident. But it turned out to be perfect.

HEATH: And I've learned after the fact – sometimes that’s the best way to learn. But I built this food plot on this ridge, actually, to deer hunt. Um. I don't know – seven or eight years ago, now, probably.

HEATH: Put a little pond – little waterhole here. We just turned it into a turkey killing mega-spot. I mean, we’ve killed a ton of turkeys up here over the years.

HEATH: And it’s partly, just the location. These birds love this – there’s a little pocket mountain back here in this big chain of mountains that’s kind of separated from all the other ridges.

HEATH: And I mean, there’s a ridge here to our east; a big mountain to the south; a big mountain to the north. So, we try to plant clover and wheat and different things in there.

HEATH: And it’s always green and pretty; there’s always something coming up. And the birds come in here and pick around on it.

HEATH: But, these gobblers can come in here and stand up on this knob and gobble and listen and they can call to all the hens. And they can hear everything around here. And just, strategically, it’s turned into being just an unbelievably awesome turkey spot.

HEATH: So, I can't say that that’s what I originally had in mind. I built it kind of the same thing for deer – the way the wind and all that stuff works here.

HEATH: But, anyway – the point is – turkeys love it, so we’ve been whacking the turkeys out of it over the years.

GRANT: Fresh meat for the Martins.

GRANT: If you watch GrowingDeer, you know, they always have plenty of wild game in their freezer.

GRANT: Heath and Lindsey celebrated and enjoyed the moment before heading back to the house to weigh and measure the tom.

GRANT: Turkey season is now open in a lot of states. And it’s a great time of year to get outside and enjoy Creation. But, it’s more important every day to slow down and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.

GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.

GRANT: As we progress through turkey season, if you’d like current hunting tactics and tips that are working, simply subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.