Turkey Hunting: Two Hunts, Three Gobblers (Episode 178 Transcript)

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

GRANT: April 15th. Tax day across America, but I’m not upset. Show staffer Heath Martin had a great hunt with some Kansas Rios and I had another good hunt here at The Proving Grounds.

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GRANT: Heath Martin, one of the original GrowingDeer.tv pro staffers recently got his new G5 Prime Impact bow. Heath has been a champion target archer and he really knows his way around bows and a bow shop. Heath takes the time to cut and fletch his own arrows and match everything perfectly and the results are impressive.

GRANT: With his new Impact all tuned up and two cans of turkey tags in his pocket, he rode out to Kansas chasing some Rios

GRANT: His first setup was a little slow and it might have something to do with that oil pump going “thump, thump, thump” in the background. Heath opted to move down the road where his cameraman, Clay, had tagged a turkey last year.

HEATH: (Whispering) I think we got one right here, baby. My buddy, Clay, behind the camera killed his first ever bird with a bow, mind you, in this exact spot. Awesome, buddy. Awesome.

CLAY: Yes.

HEATH: Gonna see what we can do if this cow don’t mess us up. I may have to run her off.

GRANT: Almost as soon as they’d gotten in the blind, they had Jakes approaching their decoys.

GRANT: After that mob of Jakes left, a gobbler comes sneaking in quietly without making a sound.

HEATH: What do you think about that? (Laughter) Golly. That is a big bird. He ain't got a very good fan, or a very good beard don’t look like, but he’s got a full fan. Look at that dude. I smoked him. That don’t, this dang Prime Impact flipped him over in his tracks, man. First day in Kansas, baby. Whoo hoo. Let me go out here.

GRANT: The kinetic energy of Heath’s bow and that heavy arrow, paired up with that T3 broadhead did a whammy jammy on that bird as it only made it three yards. It’s a good thing it was a short trailing job ‘cause as soon as Heath was back in the blind, those Jakes returned and this time they brought a second long beard with ‘em.

HEATH: (Whispering) Oh yeah, swingin’ beard. I gotta let him get over here where I can shoot him.

HEATH: Well, it’s April 4th in Kansas. We drove up last night. Didn’t get here until midnight. This is the first day on the ground and I got to break in a new G5 Impact from Prime right this morning. I mean we just put the thumping on two good birds in Kansas. Dropped them both right in their tracks. So, I’m excited to do some more hunting with that bow. Absolutely.

GRANT: Keith and Clay’s knowledge of the area from past hunts really paid off as Heath tagged out in a short order with his Kansas Rios.

GRANT: Last week when turkey season wasn’t open in Missouri, Brian and I took a road trip down to Moss Hammock which is by Montgomery, Alabama.

GRANT: They were kind enough to let us do a little turkey hunting in the mornings and work on the property management in the afternoon.

GRANT: Four is 5.5.

GRANT: There’s a lot more to deer management besides holding a rack and measuring the inches when the season’s over. I took an opportunity one afternoon to age all the jawbones they had collected from deer they harvested this past season.

GRANT: This is deer 73 and, uh, I call it 3.5.

GRANT: Guys at Moss Hammock had saved the bottom jaw from all the deer harvested. Even their trophy bucks, which is very commendable. And then I look at those bottom jaws using the wear and replacement technique to estimate the age of each animal.

GRANT: Let’s, let’s go 6.5 on 32.

GRANT: Estimating the age of all deer harvested – buck, does and fawns is critical so you can really see where you’ve been and where the management program has the potential to go.

GRANT: 4.5. 28 is 4.5. 37 is 2.5, guaranteed. 26 is a fawn. 4.5, 65. 65.

GRANT: Moss Hammock guys had a really good year this year and that was in a horrendous drought. I can't wait to see the result this coming year – 2013, knowing that that sex ratio is balanced and rattling and grunt calls are gonna work great and there’s plenty of bucks that are moving up to that 4.5 year old age class.

GRANT: Brian and I had been working in Alabama, but the Reconyx were working every day we were gone and we had great information where the turkeys wanted to strut. So, this morning, Adam and I started up on Boomerang, which is a boomerang shaped ridge right in the center of The Proving Grounds.

GRANT: We put a single hen decoy out because in a wooded area, I don’t like to put a big strutter out thinking that toms may come over the ridge and see that and flare off. We set up about two or three hundred yards away from where we estimated the birds were. I found, as I get a little older, it’s easier for me to call the birds in than get up too close and potentially bust them off and spend a long day wishing I hadn’t been so aggressive. You notice that we’re on this side of the saddle from where the birds are coming. Because if we pushed up close, they would have to peek over the edge and then see the decoy all at once and that tends to cause gobblers to flare off if they get a big surprise too close.

GRANT: Just a few feet difference between Adam and I. He could see the tom strutting in the road before I could by several minutes. Once they got around a little bit, I could tell there were four hens, two mature toms and one jake.

GRANT: I could hear spitting and drumming and even the feathers dragging as the gobblers approached. About 45 or 50 yards out, we actually got to witness a mature tom breed a hen. It was clear that even though both birds are mature, one was way dominant over the other. Hens would circle both birds, but only one gobbler would really cup his wings in the breeding position while the other actually ignored a hen that got down on the ground in the breeding position right in front of him.

GRANT: All species of wildlife from song birds to turkey to deer express dominance especially around a receptive female.

GRANT: We had enjoyed literally hours of watching these toms, but Adam and I both knew it was time. And he gave me the signal. He was going to do a little call once they separated so that head would come up.

GRANT: When those Winchester Double X’s hit that turkey, there was no need for me to sprint out there ‘cause it was obvious his clock was clean and it was time to punch a tag.

GRANT: Like I said, I, I didn’t know for sure if it was going to work out. I was enjoying it though. I was, you know, I wasn’t excited.

ADAM: Yeah. Yeah.

GRANT: But then they got down here by this log and I said, “Well, it’s just a matter of one of ‘em stepping off to the edge here somewhere. They're gonna go right or left sometime.” Little blunted just walking around in these rocks all the time. Big mountain bird. Big long beard. Had a little beard rot down low, so we’ll zoom in close so you can see how big this beard is at the base and a lot of broken hairs here – a lot of broken hairs about two or three inches up. Huge base to this beard. You can tell he hasn’t done a – obviously we watched him breed, breed one hen but he hasn’t been doing a lot of breeding yet because he hasn’t worn many feathers off but later in the season, this will just be worn off here. That was an incredible display of turkey behavior this morning.

GRANT: He’s a pretty good bird.

ADAM: About a 28 pounder?

GRANT: No. I don't think so. He’s well over an inch on that outside curve. Opening day and one down.

GRANT: I’ll be taking my father hunting the next couple of days. I hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy Creation with someone you love. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.