This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: During the first week of Missouri’s turkey season, I was able to tag a nice tom in the timber.
GRANT: We got one.
GRANT: Similar to what folks are sharing from out the turkeys range, we’ve had days where turkeys seem to gobble all morning and days when we didn’t hear a peep.
GRANT: In Missouri, turkey hunters are only allowed to tag one bird during the first week of season. So, I couldn’t wait for the second week to open up and get back to chasing toms.
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GRANT: One morning during the third week of season, Adam and I went out to a food plot we call Big Boom, and was ready to listen before daylight.
ADAM: (Whispering) Turkey.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until we heard the first gobble. We cut the distance quickly and set up right off the edge of the food plot.
GRANT: Unfortunately, this tom decided to be tight-lipped and didn’t gobble much more. But all the while, Adam and I could hear some other birds gobbling all the way across the valley.
GRANT: So, we made our way back around, got out to the edge of a bedding area so there wouldn’t be any trees obstructing the noise, and tried to pinpoint the location.
GRANT: If there is a killable bird on our property right now, that’s the one.
GRANT: Right above Tracy’s Field?
ADAM: (Quietly) (Inaudible) …he may actually be just right above Tracy’s Field.
GRANT: Adam and I agreed the birds were located on the opposite side of the valley on a hardwood ridge above a food plot we call Tracy’s Field.
GRANT: After listening, Adam and I were convinced the gobblers were on the other side of the spine of the ridge. This allowed us to go on up the ridge and keep some land between us and the toms so there’s no chance they could see us. We always prefer setting up above toms if we can and calling them uphill.
GRANT: We were moving fairly quickly and I thought Adam was pushing me for training for elk hunting this fall but it worked out perfectly. We finally got above the birds in elevation, crossed over the spine of the ridge, and made it to a small power line that had been mowed the year before.
GRANT: The birds were now 100 yards or so below us and we eased out to the very edge of the power line and set up before we called.
GRANT: (Whispering) This is gonna be tough, Adam.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can only shoot about here to that cedar tree.
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah. Let’s wait.
GRANT: The side of this mountain is so steep that even though I was only a foot or two in front of Adam, my view was much less due to my lower elevation and the way the rocks and bluffs stuck out.
GRANT: Adam made a couple yelps and when the gobblers hollered back, it was obvious they had cut the distance. I couldn’t see ‘em, but Adam was giving me a good play by play.
GRANT: (Whispering) I see one of them. Be careful. I see one.
GRANT: (Whispering) One’s in the power line looking.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s right in the power line on the left side.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) In the power line. Yeah, I see one.
GRANT: (Whispering) One’s right here, Adam, right here, 20 yards. Tell me when you’re on him.
GRANT: (Whispering) I got a clean shot of the left one.
GRANT: At that time the birds were so close – and I knew the Winchester Long Beard’s pattern so tight – that it was very important that I had that turkey’s head exactly centered in my Nikon scope.
GRANT: (Whispering) I can’t see the strutter. I can kill the closest one.
GRANT: (Whispering) You ready?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: The Long Beard XR absolutely hammered that tom and I was tagged out in Missouri.
GRANT: (Quietly) You made me sit right on a rock, didn’t ya? (Laughter)
GRANT: (Quietly) Was that the one that was struttin’?
ADAM: (Quietly) Yeah. Yeah.
GRANT: (Quietly) Holy mackerel.
ADAM: (Quietly) That was fast. That is a true case of getting above a bird.
GRANT: Well, it’s not quite an arrowhead folks, but I, I believe you can skin an elephant with it.
GRANT: I don’t know if I’ve ever had a turkey that would fill up the scope so much. Ever. This is why our turkeys don’t weigh 40 pounds ‘cause they walk up and down these ledges all day long. I almost call it ten yards at the most. We’re right there and here’s the feathers right here. He’s got a bad case of beard rot – look at that!
GRANT: Ooooo. That’s a hook for the hills ‘cause they're dull from walking up and down this rocks – he’s probably, I’m gonna give it an inch and eighth – inch and a quarter – something like that. That’s an old mountain bird there folks. He took a load. There won’t be – there’ll be no pellet in this breast, I promise you. That pattern was about that big.
GRANT: Big, full beard but broken off maybe three or four inches up. Not broken off – he’s brown – commonly called beard rot. A lot of theories. Some people say it’s a mite in there that eats up the hair. It’s not prescribed fire – I hear that theory – that’s not it, they’re not walking around the fire singeing their hair off. This, this, look at this hook, it’s so, it’s literally been broken off – it’s chipped. It’s chipped off. Beautiful bird. Any time you tag an old mature bird like this, in the mountains, that’s a real trophy.
GRANT: I enjoy studying past hunts, successful and those that end up without punching a tag. In years past, we often call toms up in our food plots. But this year, for reasons I don’t fully understand, most of the birds we’ve tagged have been in the timber.
GRANT: Whether it’s the timber or food plot hunt, I really enjoy matching wits with the Ozark Mountain turkeys.
MATT: It’s the last day of Missouri’s turkey season. Adam and I both had tags to fill – so, we headed east to his family’s farm.
MATT: Since the birds were roosted so close, I kept the calling soft. Did a few tree yelps and a fly down.
MATT: As the morning progressed, we simply scratched the leaves trying to convince those toms to fly off the roost and into our set up.
MATT: Unfortunately for us, they decided to pitch off to the neighboring hillside.
MATT: We didn’t know it, but there was a hen roosted with ‘em. She decided to fly down and come into our set up.
MATT: This hen stayed within 40 yards for 45 minutes. We felt her presence would bring those toms all the way across the ridge, into our set up.
MATT: After the birds didn’t move off their hillside, we decided it was time to make our move.
MATT: We crossed the ravine, got on the same ridge that the birds were on and got set up on the edge of a food plot. After a few soft calls, these birds were coming.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) They’re coming, they’re coming.
MATT: Adam and I were set up together so we could communicate when both birds came into range, who was taking which one.
ADAM: (Whispering) There he is.
MATT: Sure enough, a tail fan appeared right in the timber, working its way to the food plot. Both birds were closing the distance and it was only a matter of time before we both fired off the Winchesters.
MATT: As the bird left the timber, he came into the food plot but periscoped us.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Easy, easy. There he is right there.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) Yep, I’m gonna wait for that one.
MATT: Hey, good calling. Wow, that was beautiful.
ADAM: That’s the strutter, that’s the one that’s gobbling. The other one just…
MATT: He’s, he’s just there, he’s just along for the ride.
ADAM: I still got another tag.
MATT: We’re, we’re still rocking and rolling. This is just the beginning.
ADAM: Eight o’clock.
MATT: Oh yeah. Yeah, got a decent beard on him.
ADAM: Got great spurs.
ADAM: What? A inch and an eighth, probably.
MATT: Yeah, this one might go a little bit longer.
ADAM: A little bit curved.
MATT: A little bit, a little bit longer, yeah.
ADAM: Real sharp too for the Ozarks.
ADAM: He’s got a big, long, straight beard.
MATT: Yep. Nine and a quarter – ten, something like that.
MATT: Great bird.
ADAM: Big, full fan.
MATT: Oh yeah. Let’s see that thing.
ADAM: Good three or four year old bird.
MATT: And this is what we saw first.
ADAM: He’s got kinda light feathers.
MATT: That, that’s what I was saying, like, when he came up right through here – gorgeous.
ADAM: With Matt’s bird back at the truck, we made our move to the birds we heard several times earlier that morning.
ADAM: (Whispering) I’m not sittin’ down too much right now ‘cause there is poison ivy all around me.
ADAM: (Whispering) I’ll do it for the turkey. But I gotta know they’re coming first.
ADAM: (Whispering) They’re closer.
MATT: (Whispering) They’re close.
ADAM: We gave a few calls. Heard a couple of gobbles. Waited a few minutes, only to decide we needed to move closer.
ADAM: Our next set up put us just across the drainage where we could hear ‘em loud and clear.
ADAM: Unfortunately, we could also heard some jakes and hens with these toms, so we knew if we wanted to punch a tag on the final day of season, we were gonna have to get closer.
ADAM: As we began to move closer, we could also tell those toms were headed our way, so it was time to cut down on noise. Matt goes freehand with the camera and it’s time to crawl.
ADAM: (Whispering) Some jakes and hens up here. We just, we’re crawling, making a move and ran into another bird who’s not gobbling a whole lot. So, we’re trying to get up here out in the field – edge of the field – where they’ll actually work their way in. We’re going freehand, no tripod. It’s the last day of season. It’s time to get a bird on the ground.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) We need to get somewhere…
ADAM: (Whispering) What?
MATT: (Whispering) …where we can get this ‘cause she’s coming. She just crossed the fence.
ADAM: (Whispering) She just flew over the fence, she’s coming.
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah, we need to get somewhere.
ADAM: We crawled into a pocket of cedars, right at the edge of the field. We felt this was our best opportunity at calling the turkeys into range.
ADAM: Fortunately for us, I noticed a tail fan already in shotgun range.
UNKNOWN: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
ADAM: This tom had snuck into the field and he was struttin’ just 35 yards away.
ADAM: Once Matt got the camera set up, confirmed he was on it, we let this tom work right out to the field until I had a great shot.
ADAM: (Whispering) Tell me when you’re ready.
MATT: (Whispering) I’m ready. When he sticks his head up. Yes.
ADAM: (Whispering) No. Grass. Ready?
MATT: (Whispering) I’m good.
ADAM: (Whispering) That’s a wrap!
ADAM: (Whispering) We’re making our move, all the sudden, I see this guy out in the field. We’ve got these toms fired up – we’re just trying to get out here in the field with ‘em, call ‘em up to us. We actually heard the hen get fired up. She flew the fence. Starts coming after us, looking for us. We crawl up to this little grove of trees and there’s our boy. Sitting out in the sun – struttin’. Tagged out in Missouri.
MATT: Hey. A good last day.
ADAM: (Whispering) That is the best day we’ve had yet this spring.
ADAM: He’s got a heck of a beard on him, I can tell that.
MATT: Oh, my gosh, he’s got a rope …
ADAM: What a hunt for the closing of Missouri turkey season.
ADAM: Well, he’s got good spurs, over an inch.
UNKNOWN: Big head.
ADAM: I don’t know how long that is.
ADAM: Just a big, single beard. He’s got nice spurs. Got probably, I don’t know, inch and an eighth spurs. That beard is the most impressive. Big ole head on him. Not quite as heavy as yours. But I think this one’s got the better beard.
MATT: Oh, my gosh, there’s no doubt. What a rope.
ADAM: It’s not every day you can be set up on two toms and have a 26 pound bird slip into range from a different direction.
GRANT: Pro Staffers, Jeff and Aaron, were recently out trying to roost some birds for their hunt the next morning but the Kansas wind changed their plans. There was simply no way they could hear if birds were responding to their calls.
GRANT: Even with the stormy conditions, the boys still had a plan. They had seen some birds shortly before fly up time that afternoon and decided to slip in the next morning and set up in that area.
GRANT: That storm continued through the night and the next morning it’s just as windy. The wind actually may have helped Jeff and Aaron as they set up very close to the birds – even closer than they realized.
GRANT: There’s a bunch of toms and of course, a bunch of hens with ‘em. Unfortunately for Jeff and Aaron, the toms are very content to stay with the hens. The guys wisely decided to stay patient and use multiple calls – the Hook slate and the diaphragm – making it sound like multiple hens were in their area.
GRANT: This tactic proves too much for one of the toms and he starts closing the distance.
GRANT: It’s so exciting to watch a tom respond and come right toward the set up.
JEFF: We’re here in a little bit of a rush this morning. We came out and, uh, rushed in; got set up; was watching the, uh, the lightning off in the distance. Pretty cool. Uh, the – a couple birds flew down. Uh, they were both henned up. This one saw the Montana Decoy and heard the Hook’s calls and came right into us. Uh, first bird I’ve had in a couple years. Uh, but it, it was an extremely fun hunt – and, uh, couldn’t be happier.
GRANT: This was Jeff’s first turkey hunt in many years. And it’s a great reminder – not only to Jeff, but all of us – to slow down and enjoy hunting, and even more importantly, take time to enjoy Creation no matter what our activities are. I hope you have a chance to enjoy Creation this week and, most importantly, slow down every day and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
ADAM: But when Missouri closes, I’m always a little bit sad. But that helps.
MATT: Oh my gosh, yes.
ADAM: Look at that beard.
MATT: When you end a season like this – on a high note – ready for next year already.
ADAM: Yep, no doubt. I’m always ready for spring turkey season.