Adventures with Kentucky Gobblers (Episode 128 Transcript)

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

GRANT: May 2nd and we just had another exciting week at the Kentucky Proving Grounds.

ANNOUNCER: is brought to you by Bass Pro Shops. Also by Reconyx, Trophy Rock, Gallagher, Muddy Outdoors, Eagle Seed, Nikon, Winchester Ammunition, Redneck Hunting Blinds, Dead Down Wind, and Antler Dirt.

GRANT: I’ve had several questions on our Facebook page about what is the Kentucky Proving Grounds? It’s simply a piece of property owned by my good friend, Mr. Terry Hamby, that has a lot of similarities to my place here at Branson, Missouri. But Mr. Hamby’s my type of guy cause he wants to take a sow’s ear and make a silk purse and I’m all about improving wildlife habitat. So, Mr. Hamby and I struck up a friendship.  He allows me to hunt and I try to help him improve the property.

GRANT: You want to just go sit in that Redneck?

ADAM: In that one right there?

GRANT: There’s 20 turkeys around that Redneck right now!

ADAM: What do you think if we…

GRANT: As we saw those turkeys, as friends often do, we started jostling back and forth who was gonna get to start where on the first day of our hunt.

GRANT: Adam and I started in what we call Food Plot 10. Time went by and we saw a hen and a jake in the food plot, but no mature toms.

GRANT: We also saw another critter that I don’t like very much and that’s a groundhog. Sitting there in the blind, Adam noticed a groundhog climbing up a tree. A lot of people don’t realize that groundhogs can climb but they can certainly climb trees with no problem and they use that as a predator defense mechanism to get away from coyotes and other predators.

GRANT: Later on, that groundhog is down in the field as the hen’s feeding through – almost like he’s paralleling that hen. And I don’t think he cares anything about that hen, but groundhogs are super alert and he’s standing up often, looking around, looking around, making sure old coyote’s not coming after him.

GRANT: On another morning, Adam and I were in a food plot we call Winchester Point. There’s a series of food plots right in a row on the top of rolling ridges. There’s just a great viewpoint from that area.

GRANT: Throughout the morning, Adam and I saw several hens just come and go at the edges of the field. Typical of hens that are setting on a nest close by, they would come out about daylight, feed a little bit and scurry back in – not staying in the field too long and not making any calling sounds. They weren’t looking for a gobbler. They weren’t chasing a date. They were just bugging and getting some young soybeans and heading back to their nest. Those observations pretty much cemented in Adam and I’s mind that a “cut and run” technique wasn’t gonna be very good cause the hens were very nesty and we were very late in the breeding cycle.

GRANT: Later in the morning we noticed two black bodies, two toms over a quarter mile away.

GRANT: Knowing that none of the many hens we’d observed in the last couple days was doing any calling, we gave one call just to make sure they periscoped and looked our way and saw our decoys and then just sat back and watch the show.

GRANT: Those toms actually kept looking and fed around a couple of major draws that stuck into this food plot complex and over time, worked their way closer and closer to our blind.

GRANT: As those two toms are rounding that last draw and on the home stretch towards our blind, one of ‘em gobbled and one of ‘em putted simultaneously.

GRANT: But in the turkey world, the lowest common denominator usually wins and when that one tom putted, they both went the other way. We weren’t calling, we weren’t moving, it’s just the way Adam and I’s turkey hunts have been going this year.

GRANT: While we were watching these two toms do the march from a quarter mile away, Mr. Hamby was having a great time in the same blind we started out the first morning.

GRANT: So, we don’t have footage to document it, but I certainly got to touch, see and feel that big tom and I really enjoyed hearing the details of his hunt.

GRANT: After a couple of days of observations and listening to turkeys on that property, Adam and I opted to put a ground blind up in a food plot where all of us had seen turkeys a couple of times coming and going to lunch.

GRANT: After lunch, parked a couple hundred yards away from that food plot and started easing up, only to see a tom in the field before we got to our ground blind.

GRANT: So we did what any good Missouri turkey hunters would do. We crawled through that little fence row, got as close as we could and set up behind the ground blind in the timber.

GRANT: We relied on our RedHead turkey vests to keep us comfortable and sitting still while it took a long time for the toms to approach.

GRANT: This one has a little seat that pops down with adjustable strap here, almost like a bleacher seat. So, even sitting with no back support, you can adjust it where you’re sitting just the right height and just the right angle to stay comfortable when those ole mature toms hang up on their approach.

GRANT: I hadn’t moved, everything was just right and I decided it was time to put one down.

ADAM: (Whispering) Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead.

GRANT: (Shot) With all the preparation in the world, it always comes down to one moment. Hunting is like that – it’s 99% bust and 1% boom.

GRANT: It’s very painful to show that and admit that, but clearly, I lost my concentration at the moment when I should have had it peaked the most.

GRANT: It was a long, silent walk back to the truck for Adam and I. I knew I’d let the team down. They work hard – week in/week out to bring you all great episodes. We had done everything just right, patterned the gun, knew the load, knew the scope. I simply didn’t concentrate at the very second I needed to be concentrating the most.

GRANT: One thing that takes the pain of lack of concentration away is good friendship and great food. When Mr. Hamby started frying those fish, I started feeling better already.

GRANT: If your turkey population isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, I would focus on good habitat management cause that’s the key to big turkey populations. But not far behind that is also controlling predator populations. There’s just not much trapping anymore, a lot of people aren’t chasing predators. Those populations seem to be building throughout the turkeys’ range and without a little control, that’s gonna get out of balance with more predators and less prey species.

GRANT: Thinking of all those predators, Adam and I were sitting in a blind when all at once we saw a very attractive coyote come into the field. It had more white on its face than most coyotes have.

GRANT: (Whispering) I’ll take him.

GRANT: But coyotes are well known to interbreed with dogs and even wolves up in the northeastern states. I don’t know about the lineage of this coyote, but coyote season is open in Kentucky during turkey season, so I instantly went (makes sound). But that coyote cut our wind and never made it to us.

GRANT: I hope your concentration is a little bit better than mine was this week at that moment of truth. But wherever you are, I hope you really get to get outside and enjoy Creation. Thanks for watching

CJ: (Inaudible)

GRANT: He just hit again, right there.

CJ: We should probably go hunting.

GRANT: You think so?

CJ: It’s about hot enough to hunt one, isn’t it?

GRANT: Three in the afternoon, 84 degrees, turkey’s a mile away. Only die hard turkey hunters do this.

CJ: Let’s walk some more.