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GRANT: Test one, two, three, four. Test one, two, three, four.
GRANT: Okay. Here we go.
GRANT: May 9th, Monday, at The Proving Grounds, and turkey season closed in Missouri statewide yesterday. Now, this is a great time to reflect and learn for next year’s turkey hunting.
GRANT: Now, I realize some of you guys and gals up in the northern states are still in turkey season. You guys way down southeast have put your guns up and oiled ‘em a couple of weeks ago, but it’s still time for us all to get together and learn. And I’ve reflected on five or six major points about my turkey season that will help me be a better turkey hunter and turkey manager in the next year.
GRANT: I didn’t experience any classical turkey hunts where the turkey’s roosted, we call, it comes off the roost, struts into view and someone sees it or harvests it. And one reason is throughout much of the Midwest there’s been very low success in nesting and poult survival the last couple years. Now, this is due to a lot of rain during the, the nesting period of time and really elevated levels of predators throughout the turkeys’ range. And when you have that, you don’t have those classical two year old birds – those younger birds – that are real aggressive. Man, they may be roosted in an area with some older gobblers and you’re calling. An older gobbler stays on that limb, wanting for hens to come into the presence – all their eyes are watching for predators. He flies down amongst hens and he’s basically got a whole group scouting for him, versus that two year old that flies off, says, “I’m getting to that hen before that old, nasty, mature gobbler gets there. I’m gonna get the date first.”
GRANT: When you don’t have a lot of two year olds out there, they don’t come running to the call and it simply takes more tactical hunting to be a successful turkey hunter.
GRANT: The two year old birds that we did harvest this year – straight on down to the decoy. But the older more mature birds – we held our ground, even through the silence. Laid off the call – in most cases – and sure enough, an hour, two hours later, that old bird would come peeking around the corner, strutting, but maybe not gobbling. Start calling again, get him fired up, he’d come on in for an observation, or the kill. Patience is the best call that money can’t buy.
GRANT: Now, I’m a huge fan of Derby City calls, but sometimes, Derby City, coupled with the patience of a maturing hunter, is the recipe it takes to harvest a mature bird. Make sure you have that patience for your next turkey hunt.
GRANT: On those hunts where patience may be one of the best calls you have – paired with that may be calling the hens. You know, one of my favorite hunts this year is when I took my daughter, Rae, hunting. Saw a gobbler 150 yards up on the power line. A hen went to him. It was getting late in the afternoon, during the youth season. I could not get that gobbler to budge, so I started calling to the hen – assembly calls, long, long series of yelps – just really playing to the hen. Sure enough, that hen turned, led the gobbler down the hill, right to Rae’s shotgun.
RAE: (Whispering) Not now. Oooo, I’ve got to wait until he stops.
GRANT: (Whispering) Right now.
GRANT: You nailed it.
GRANT: A huge gobbler.
RAE: My first one.
GRANT: Incredible. That thing is gigantic. (Giggling)
GRANT: You are the hunter, Rae.
GRANT: Don’t forget that calling hens can bring that gobbler right in tow and lead to a successful hunt.
RAE: Ta da.
GRANT: When hunting and interacting with these turkey populations that are dominated by older, more mature birds, and they gobble on the roost, and then they’re quiet throughout most of the morning, it’s really important to do a good job of scouting in those populations – either using trail cameras, or spend some time out in the woods watching with your binoculars, trying to figure out where those birds wanta go. Getting ahead of a mature tom – being between him and a strut area or him and a feeding area where the hens want to feed – can be very productive. But going out cold and walking new properties can really be troublesome in these populations that are dominated by mature birds.
GRANT: You know, a really important consideration is how you place your ground blind. Not where, but how. Most turkeys could care less if you put a ground blind up in the middle of a field five minutes before they get there, as long as you’re quiet. But if the sun is shining in the window that you’re hunting out of, it reflects on your gun barrel, or scope, or any movement, and that can be a dead giveaway to turkeys. Get that sun behind your blind at the appropriate time of day when you anticipate hunting out of that blind.
GRANT: An equipment change I tried this year – and was greatly pleased with – was adding a turkey scope to my shotgun and my children’s shotgun and switching to Winchester #4’s. Now, I’ve always been a Winchester fan. I shoot them turkey hunting, but instead of 6’s, I read some research this year that 4’s carry so much more energy and the combination of the scope – replacing the old bead – allowed my 80 year old dad to make a great shot at 51 yards. Now, at 51 yards, that bead covers up the whole turkey, not just its neck, so you can’t tell exactly where you’re aiming. But with the more modern shells that are really built to pattern much tighter, that aim is critical. You need to shoot your turkey gun just like a rifle, when you’re using this combination, and that Nikon turkey scope and the Winchester Super-X shells that pattern so tight is a great combination.
GRANT: But, if you’re relying on that old bead and the turkey’s out there any distance at all, it’s really tough to tell exactly where you’re aiming.
GRANT: You got him, Pop.
GRANT: This combination put a lot of turkey breast in the Woods’ freezer this year.
GLEN: He’s a big one.
GLEN: Yeah. It dropped him right where he’s at.
GRANT: Scope help you versus a bead, just having a bead to sight down?
GLEN: Uh, it was wonderful. It just put it right to where you needed it.
GRANT: Most of you all have seen on the news how windy with all the tornadoes and everything and how wet with all the flooding that’s been in the Midwest. We’re way behind, by a normal calendar, on spraying and preparing our food plots, but we always have to go by the weather conditions that year and not what an almanac or the map on the back of a seed bag says. We’re just now heavy into spraying. Brad’s been calibrating the sprayer, spraying. We’ve got the drill calibrated, and matter of fact, I pulled Brad off to film this from spraying and planting right now.
GRANT: It’s May 9th, and it’s late in the year, but the season and the conditions have just now allowed this. So man, Brad and I are on the tractor 8, 10, 12 hours a day. We’re trying to get it done, before drought comes, which is occurring in west Texas right now. It could be a real problem. I hope you learn lessons that will help you and your family in turkey hunting in future years. And I hope the food plot conditions are better at your proving grounds. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.
GLEN: He’s a big one.
GRANT: You killed it.
GRANT: Huge gobbler.
RAE: My first one.
GRANT: I’m sure glad you didn’t kill that thing, because I wasn’t even videoing it. I was watching the hunt, it was so fun.