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>>CLAY: [Whispering] Can you shoot him right there?

>>MARC: [Whispering] I can. You ready?

>>MARC: [Whispering] Oh, man.

>>GRANT: Hunting turkeys can be very exciting. Hearing that tom gobble or interacting with them by calling to them and then responding, whoo, that can get my blood boiling.

>>GRANT: And then, if you tag a tom, you’ve got fresh, healthy meat to take home and share with your family and friends.

>>GRANT: This week, I wish to share a really special hunt because it was Marc and Sharon, some friends of ours, first turkey hunt.

>>GRANT: Clay and I first met Marc and Sharon while assisting them with a habitat and hunting improvement plan for their farm near Detroit, Michigan. Part of the plan we developed for Marc and Sharon was to do some timber stand improvement, or TSI, and allow the sun’s energy to reach the soil and stimulate the growth of native grasses and forbs, providing high-quality food and cover throughout their property.

>>GRANT: The plan also included food plots of various sizes and shapes. And they were designed not only to provide tons of high-quality forage, but to help pattern deer. Either deer come to those plots to eat at the appropriate time of year or going around them in certain locations when the deer are chasing acorns. Putting all this together – a lot more food and cover and deer that are easier to pattern on their farm.

>>GRANT: Since then, Marc and I have stayed in touch as he had a few questions about implementing his habitat improvement plan. And during that time, we’ve become friends and I realized Marc had never been on a good turkey hunt. In fact, he’d never killed a tom.

>>GRANT: While Marc and I were talking about this, he mentioned it had been a cold, snowy winter in Detroit. And I told him we were headed to south Florida to chase toms at this great ranch. It’s called the La Hamaca where I’d hunted in the past and had a lot of success chasing toms and hogs. And it wasn’t long until Marc and Sharon said, “Hey, we’d like to join you in south Florida for some of that heat and learn how to turkey hunt.”

>>GRANT: As I’ve shared in the past, the turkey season in south Florida is the earliest opener of all the turkey seasons in the continental United States. The season in Hawaii opens a bit earlier.

>>GRANT: Another attraction to go to south Florida and chase turkeys is the subspecies there is Osceolas. And they’re a pretty limited range – south, central Florida. From there, on up to Maine and out to about central Nebraska, Kansas, down through part of Texas – well, those are eastern turkeys. And that’s the larger subspecies. They’ll weigh on average a few more pounds than Osceolas.

>>GRANT: Being Marc and Sharon’s first turkey hunt, they were super excited. And I don’t know how many years I’ve been chasing turkeys, but I’ve got to tell you, I was just as excited the night before opening morning.

>>GRANT: As the first morning’s light began to break, a gobbler rang out across the pasture and in the hammock they were watching.

>>GRANT: Clay was hunting with Marc and Sharon and he gave a few calls.

>>GRANT: The tom answered, and it sounded like it was just about 100 yards away or so.

>>GRANT: Clay got that tom fired up and when he hit the ground, he kept gobbling.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] Oh, he’s close. He’s on that side of the tree.

>>GRANT: The primary purpose of a tom gobbling is to tell a hen his location. In the turkey world, toms gobble and hens go to him. In the hunting world, we’re a hen trying to attract a tom to us. We’re reversing that natural process. And that’s what makes calling fun but challenging.

>>GRANT: If a tom’s gobble attracts hens to him, well, he’ll be quiet and that can make hunting very challenging.

>>GRANT: This is why turkey hunters get up early and try to locate a tom on the roost. That way, they can move in close and set up, hopefully, attract a tom to them by calling before the hens get in there and distract the tom.

>>GRANT: Clay could tell by the gobbling the tom had hit the ground. But then he heard spitting and drumming and knew that tom was close.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] He’s close. I can hear him spitting.

>>GRANT: Suddenly, Clay spotted that big, white head and knew that tom was strutting over by a tree line.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] There he is. He’s on the road. See him out there?

>>GRANT: The tom was gobbling and strutting on the road trying to get the hen he heard, which is Clay, to come to him.

>>GRANT: Clay wisely held off calling, trying to get the tom to come back to the call.

>>GRANT: Unfortunately, that tom seemed to be drifting off a little bit. So, Clay called again trying to get him fired up and get that tom to respond to Clay’s location.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] Here he comes.

>>GRANT: Clay’s calling worked perfectly, and that tom turned around; started approaching them quickly.

>>MARC: [Whispering] Here he comes. He’s coming in pretty, pretty quick. Look at him. Do you see him?

>>SHARON: [Whispering] I see the head.

>>GRANT: Notice the hens were following along behind the tom.

>>MARC: [Whispering] That’s what we want; right, Clay?

>>CLAY: [Whispering] Yeah. That’s [Inaudible].

>>MARC: [Whispering] Okay.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] Just let him come to you.

>>MARC: [Whispering] You got it.

>>GRANT: The tom got closer than 20 yards to Marc and Sharon and put on a show.

>>GRANT: Finally, Marc’s trigger finger couldn’t take that tension any longer and he sent a load of Longbeard XR #6s toward the tom.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] Can you shoot him right there?

>>MARC: [Whispering] I can. You ready?

>>MARC: [Whispering] Oh, man!

>>SHARON: [Whispering] That was awesome.

>>CLAY: [Whispering] Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?

>>MARC: [Quietly] Holy cow. That was amazing. That was awesome.

>>SHARON: [Quietly] I’ve never seen nothing like it.

>>MARC: [Quietly] I could see him all puffed out.

>>SHARON: [Quietly] Yes.

>>MARC: [Quietly] Couldn’t figure out what to do with the decoys. Having not done this before, I don’t know if that was textbook or not, but I’ll tell you what.

>>CLAY: [Quietly] That – that’s –

>>MARC: [Quietly] That happened exactly the way you said it was gonna happen.

>>CLAY: [Quietly] – that happened – that is textbook right there.

>>GRANT: The tom dropped in his tracks and within a few minutes of Marc’s first turkey hunt, he had a nice Osceola in his hands.

>>MARC: That feels like hair.

>>CLAY: Yeah. Yep.

>>MARC: Is it?

>>CLAY: Yep. It is.

>>MARC: Very interesting.

>>MARC: And we started in the truck with Clay’s five-minute education, explanation for – for me as a new turkey hunter. But Sharon and I swear that he dropped a note to the turkeys as well. We – we stood on the road, listened for a bit. I thought we heard him gobble once or twice, didn’t we, when we were standing there?

>>CLAY: Yeah.

>>MARC: And then we ducked off to the side of the road and came up behind these trees and set up right here. And Clay was pretty quick about it. The bird got more and more vocal faster than we probably thought he was going to.

>>MARC: And then you hit him with one call at one point, I think, that kind of changed the game. And he just came booking right in – straight in at the decoy. Stopped once behind the brush pile there, and then continued in and started circling ‘em and – and it was amazing. I think he circled ‘em at least twice; maybe three times trying to figure it out.

>>MARC: [Whispering] I can. You ready?

>>MARC: And then, you called the shot and we put him down.

>>MARC: What an amazing morning. I mean, for a first-time turkey hunter to have it come together that clean, that linear was really, really amazing.

>>GRANT: Congratulations Marc and Sharon. I’m sure the memories of this hunt will live with you all for a long time.

>> ANNOUNCER: GrowingDeer is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Also by Reconyx, Winchester, Avian-X Decoys, LaCrosse Footwear, Morrell Targets, Thlete Outdoor Apparel, Summit Treestands, RTP Outdoors, Yamaha, Fourth Arrow, onX Hunt, Scorpion Venom Archery, Case IH Tractors, Bloodsport Arrows, Green Cover Seed, Burris Optics, Code Blue, D/Code, G5 Broadheads, Prime Bows, and Redneck Hunting Blinds.

>>GRANT: I’m super happy for Marc and Sharon. And I can tell they were so excited and talking about turkey hunting, that I can’t wait to hear about their hunts on their own farm in Michigan.

>>GRANT: The habitat improvement plan we designed for Marc and Sharon’s property basically has the same goals as the habitat at the La Hamaca Ranch.

>>GRANT: For turkeys, the La Hamaca is a perfect example of quality habitat. Now, it’s a large, working cattle ranch. And there would be small hammocks, or almost what we call fence rows of timber, and large pastures. And the pastures will be managed or cattle will graze some really hard and other pastures are rested.

>>GRANT: So, we’ve got nesting habitat, brooding habitat, open areas to strut, trees for turkeys to roost in. It’s about ideal turkey habitat and, obviously, the turkey hunting there is really good.

>>GRANT: Daniel, Clay and I really enjoy helping folks design habitat so they can have quality hunts no matter where their property is located.

>>GRANT: High-quality habitat almost always leads to lots of fun and productive hunts. And we had several more good hunts in south Florida – tagged a bunch of toms and killed a bunch of hogs.

>>GRANT: We’ll be sharing those hunts and the strategies we used soon.

>>GRANT: Going on hunts with friends is a great way to get outside and enjoy Creation. But it’s even more important to take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to us.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.