Turkey Hunting in the Midwest (Episode 26 Transcript)

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WOODS: (Whispering) It’s May 11th.  I’m in Knox County, Illinois at my good friend, Mike O’Reilly’s property called North Creek.  North Creek’s just a private property, not commercially hunted or anything like that.  Knox County, of course, is one of the top Boone & Crocket counties in America.  But, also has a great turkey population, so we drove up yesterday and it rained all the way from Branson, Missouri to here, about a seven hour drive.  My good friend, Michael Engelmeyer, and Colton, his camera guy, are on the other side of the property so we’re kind of racing here.

WOODS: We got out of the blind a little early.  I usually hunt ‘til one when I’m in the blind, but we were just in an area that I didn’t have a good feeling about.  Wind was howling across this ridge top and nothing was happening.  I heard a few gobbles off in the distance, so I said, “Let’s go that way and do some scouting for tomorrow.”  Better day.  Hopefully, better weather.

These tracks are absolutely fresh.  This is one thing I love about turkey hunting.  If you find tracks or scat, they’re made during the daytime when you can hunt.  It’s not like deer with that nocturnal, “Do I hunt here?  Is this a staging area?”  If you see sign, it’s huntable sign.

You know, Blake’s saying, “Grant, what do you think the turkeys are doing right here?  I mean, there’s mud all over.  We’re in Illinois – deep dirt.  How come there’s some of these tracks right here?”  Well, there is an answer.  I love biology because there’s usually an answer.  Because turkeys have what we call a crop.  But, these two great big muscles, gizzard that grind stuff.  They don’t have teeth.  They ingest it, store it in their crop right, but they don’t have teeth in those muscles, so what they do is go somewhere and get sand.  Sand, of course, sandpaper wears stuff down.  They like little bitty gravels or sand and they’re gonna get it every day.  If they don’t get it, they can’t process food and they die, literally.  But you come and get some of this sand.  See, it, it flooded last night.  Sand is heavier than water; it gets a little eddy right here in road, settles out and leaves this sand.  It’s perfect grit.  Turkeys will be here tomorrow morning.  I’m counting on it. How about you?

WOODS: Four long beards and one hen.  So, what do you think?  Where are we gonna be tomorrow?  Somewhere, because we just found a grit right behind us.  150 yards behind us.

WOODS: Blind is set.  Tomorrow morning, the arrows knocked.  We’re on fire.

WOODS: I’m kind of far behind on the “Ask Grant”.  Some of you all have actually emailed me and asked what I’m doing.  Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve been turkey hunting, okay?  But, I’m trying to catch up.  I don’t type that well on my phone, so if you get a response to an “Ask Grant” that has a small typo in it, it’s just because I’m turkey hunting, okay?  So, don’t get too excited about these things.

WOODS: It’s exciting, but we’re waiting for something a little bit bigger.

WOODS: (Whispering) Well, that was an exciting encounter, but it was certainly out of bow range.  I think that bird is still close.  We hear an occasional gobble over the ridge.  Engelmeyer, my good friend, Michael Engelmeyer just sent me a text, said he downed a two year old bird.

MIKE: (Whispering) All right.  We got in here.  Originally set the blind up over there, which is, um, by the…are you kidding me?

MIKE: Michael, okay, take him.


MIKE: (Whispering) Right before the rain!

WOODS: If it keeps raining like this, we may see all the critters going by two by two pretty soon.  Blake’s over there laughing because he knows I’m the one running for the truck.  But we’ve got 30 more minutes of legal season.  Season stops at one, so we’re hanging out until one, which is my excuse for saying maybe it’ll stop raining by one o’clock if we sit here long enough.

WOODS:  Well, there’s a reason this sack of soybeans is still here in the shop and the reason we are pulling out one day early from this hunt.  Now, I’m not known for pulling out one day early, but an 80% chance of heavy rain tomorrow.  All day long.  We’ve been in the rain for a couple of days, so I’m gonna head on home.  But, guys thanks for joining us.  Michael Engelmeyer killed a great bird this morning.  Fun hunt.  We had birds at seven yards – jakes.  Didn’t want to pull the string on those.  What was really exciting was we had a bird that gobbled and played with us for the last two hours of the days’ hunt.  Season ends at 1:00 p.m. here in Illinois.  And, uh, at, at five ‘til one, he’s 38 yards out.  Head up.  Looking at us.  I didn’t want to take the shot.  Uh, 38 yards is within my range, but it was windy, wet, factors that I didn’t want to fling an arrow at a, at a turkey in.  Saw a lot of neat behavior with the animals.  Got to see some neat stuff.  Uh, but we’re going home with tag soup, and that’s okay because our memory tag is punched full.  Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.