This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Turkey season is in full swing throughout the Midwest and Adam and a couple of Pro Staff members got us some birds right off the roost. The action is fast and loud.
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GRANT: During the first weekend of Missouri’s turkey season Pro Staffers Seth Harker and Matt teamed up to chase longbeards. Right out of the truck they got on the Hoot’n Stick and heard some gobble.
GRANT: Soon as they heard those toms respond to the Hoot’n Stick, they figured out their approach and took off for their set up.
GRANT: The set up ended up being exactly what they were looking for. They backed up into some brush, right at the intersection of two logging roads on top of a ridge and the birds were about 250 yards in front of ‘em.
SETH: (Whispering) Where was that one?
MATT: (Whispering) Right behind us, I think.
GRANT: Seth and Matt anticipated the birds flying off the roost and using the logging road as an approach.
MATT: (Whispering) They’re down on the ground right out in front of us.
SETH: (Whispering) We are set up in several different birds this morning. Hopefully, this set up works. We’ve got a network of logging roads they love to strut back and forth. So, we’re hoping to bring a longbeard gobbler into our set up this morning. It’s been kinda tough sledding, so, hopefully we bring a longbeard in, get the job done.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until his gobble sounded louder and louder – clearly those toms were closing the distance.
MATT: (Whispering) Do you see them?
SETH: (Whispering) I need to get my gun up a little bit.
MATT: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: Slowly, but surely, the toms come down the road, with the one of ‘em strutting, putting on a great show – for Matt that is. To ensure he was concealed, Seth had tucked in very tight to a blown down tree and a multiflora rose bush was blocking most of his view.
SETH: (Whispering) What’s the front one?
MATT: (Whispering) Longbeard. All three are longbeard.
GRANT: This is when a second pair of eyes and good communication between turkey hunters really pays dividends.
MATT: (Whispering) 10 yards.
GRANT: Now that the birds are close enough, Seth needs to wait a bit more and let the birds separate so he only kills one of the toms.
SETH: (Whispering) What about that one?
MATT: (Whispering) That one right there. Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) We’re good.
SETH: (Whispering) They’re all three longbeards.
MATT: (Whispering) Oh yeah.
SETH: (Whispering) Dude, I, I was just going off you because…
SETH: …here’s the multiflora rose. I’m like…
MATT: You can’t hardly see it…
SETH: I’m gonna have to watch the footage man.
SETH: I don’t know what happened. (Laughter)
SETH: Longbeard gobbler.
SETH: Good bird.
SETH: Yeah, he got hit in the head. Boy, he’s got a little bit of white in there doesn’t he?
MATT: That’s cool.
SETH: I’m glad Matt was here because I couldn’t see what was going on from this corner to where we shot him. I was kinda of relaying on him. I didn’t know what was going on and I’m anxious to watch the footage ‘cause I really haven’t seen what happened coming up in this logging road. So. I know there was, uh, three birds is what I know. And this is the only one that I really got a good look at so.
SETH: Very excited. Spring, gobblin, struttin’ – we love it. Especially when they read the script. And they read the script, “The Logging Road.” That’s what I love.
SETH: Dude, that Winchester. Did you look at his head?
MATT: I didn’t look at it yet. Nasty?
SETH: Yeah, he got hit.
GRANT: What a textbook hunt. It’s not often that turkeys respond as hunter’s hope they will but it sure is fun when they come straight to the call.
SETH: (Whispering) Boy, that dogwood’s pretty isn’t it?
GRANT: Kansas Pro Staffers, Jerry Boden and Aaron Morgan, have been looking forward to the opening day of Kansas turkey season.
GRANT: After sighting in Jerry’s new Winchester shotgun – they go out in the afternoon and try to roost some birds before opening morning.
JERRY: (Whispering) (Inaudible) Year old. Thank you. Thank you.
GRANT: This is the same field where Jerry tagged his buck last fall. It’s about 200 acres and it’s just been drilled in corn. In areas like this part of Kansas where there’s not a whole lot of trees – turkeys tend to roost in the same spot day after day. But, turkeys being turkeys, threw the boys a curve ball this time and they had to adjust as they roosted in a different area.
GRANT: It’s finally opening morning and the boys managed to slip within about 150 yards of the roost. To make is sound like the hens are roosted where Jerry is located he uses his Hook’s friction call and gives some soft yelps.
GRANT: As the group of birds pitched down, Jerry’s certain they can see his decoys. However, the tom follows the hens out into the field.
GRANT: Just as Jerry and Aaron are thinking of another strategy, a lone tom appears to their left.
GRANT: Jerry and Aaron shared that they thought at this point the hunt was a done deal. And just when you think that, you know a turkey is gonna change the plan. The turkey goes right behind them.
GRANT: The tom never seemed spooked. So, they let him drift off quite a bit further and then changed their calling tactics to quite a bit more aggressive, hoping to bring him back in front of the shotgun.
GRANT: While all this is going on, the birds that pitched down earlier, are working their way back from the field toward the decoys. There’s a lot going on.
GRANT: Suddenly, there is a tom moving right along the tree line toward the decoys. This may be the bird that slipped behind them a few minutes ago.
GRANT: He sorta slows up for the decoys – but keeps right on moving.
AARON: (Whispering) Yes.
JERRY: (Whispering) Okay. Your call.
AARON: (Whispering) Take him dude.
AARON: (Whispering) Better hurry if you’re going to.
AARON: (Whispering) Hold on, hold on.
AARON: (Whispering) Okay.
JERRY: Opening day in Kansas – got my first bird down. Uh, worked his way right towards the decoys and, uh, then he decided to come in right behind it. The cameraman into the timber right there and when he did he walked right behind Aaron and stuff. And you can probably see it in, in, uh, one of the views. But, it was fun – it was great! And one of the best hunts I’ve been on in a long time; just a phenomenal hunt, great bird, great story.
GRANT: What a fun morning in Kansas. Thanks for taking time to share your hunt with the GrowingDeer Team.
ADAM: I’ll admit I spend a lot of time each spring chasing turkeys. This tradition has been in my family for years. So, any time I can get out and head to the woods, I’ll gladly accept.
ADAM: During the second weekend of Missouri’s season, I couldn’t wait to head to the family farm.
ADAM: We had some great encounters and close calls, but trying to coordinate and get a camera and a gun on the same bird at the same time, proved to be difficult.
ADAM: We didn’t give up on the birds. We chased them over hillsides, through bottom fields, and even up a mountain. After these birds gave us the slip on the first day, we had a plan on how to cut ‘em off the next morning.
ADAM: On our way in I hit the Hoot’n Stick and I knew exactly where they were. The trees are almost completely leafed out by now so that allowed us to slip right in and close the gap on these birds.
ADAM: We sat down thinking we had enough time to do a pre-hunt interview and get all situated, but the toms had other plans.
ADAM: It’s still pretty dark in the timber, but these toms – they’re already on the ground.
ADAM: It was still dark enough to where I was having trouble seeing through the timber, but I could hear the leaves crunching and the spittin’ and drummin’.
ADAM: Considering the terrain, we assumed these turkeys were gonna periscope us. In hilly country, turkeys are famous for giving a set up a quick glance by peeking his head over the rise – that’s what we call periscoping. Sure enough, this was the case – a quick glance is all we got. I confirmed with Matt that he was on the bird so I didn’t hesitate to make the shot.
ADAM: (Whispering) You’re on it?
MATT: (Whispering) Yeah.
ADAM: (Whispering) That turkey had seen something.
MATT: (Whispering) Did you kill it?
ADAM: (Whispering) Yeah.
MATT: (Whispering) Okay.
ADAM: (Quietly) Oh. Man, got a good beard. Oh. That is about the quickest hunt I think I’ve ever had. Uh, kind of a, a cool hunt. ‘Cause, when I first started chasing turkeys, uh, when I was eleven actually – whenever Missouri would allow you to start turkey hunting. And this little flat right here is where I used to hunt with dad all the time.
ADAM: (Quietly) And I can’t remember a time when they flew off that early and came that quick. He’s got a great beard – big, thick. I mean, just a paintbrush beard. He’s got probably about inch spurs – so, good three year old bird.
ADAM: (Quietly) I don’t think I’ve ever killed a bird right here.
ADAM: (Quietly) Dad used to put me right here and he went to Old Orchard and he’d let me do whatever I wanted. So, I sat over here and wore the turkeys out. I called and dad would come over and say, “Good calling this morning. You called a lot.” And that’s all he would say. That was it. I mean, don’t call less. (Laughter)
ADAM: (Quietly) Because they always went to him.
MATT: (Quietly) Did he kill them?
ADAM: (Quietly) He would kill ‘em. And I would be over here like “bap, bap, bap”.
ADAM: (Quietly) You know, what’s sad about that is it took me a few years to realize what was going on.
MATT: This is the day that the Lord has made.
ADAM: This is the day that the Lord has made. That turkey’s hammering. Sunrise just now coming up. It’s 6:26. Turkeys still gobbling, let’s go.
ADAM: This was the quickest turkey hunt I’ve ever had. These birds are roosted almost in shotgun range – flew down early and only had to walk a short distance into our set up. This is why I enjoy turkey hunting so much. One day you feel like you just can’t catch a break but the next day you can be punching that tag at 6:00 a.m.
GRANT: Usually throughout each year, several colleges come and tour The Proving Grounds. We all enjoy stopping whatever we’re doing and giving a tour showing our soil management, habitat management, and discussing our overall game management for this area.
GRANT: So, earthworms will – scientifically reviewed – break hard pans. If I pull up – I’m gonna really risk myself here – any big clump of vegetation. I’m gonna bet, oh that was a great one, and obviously that was random. Look at that big ole earthworm right there.
GRANT: You’re frowning man. You know what my, my soils teacher made us do? Literally. Taste soil. Taste it. He died, but he made us taste it.
GRANT: Look at all the earthworm channels in there. You can pass it around. I know I can’t reach everyone.
GRANT: One topic I couldn’t wait to discuss with the students was earthworms! You may be wondering what earthworms have to do with soil and crops – but let me give you a little hint – if you’re not seeing lots of earthworms in your food plots, you know there is a lot of room for improvement.
GRANT: And when I go work with other farms, oftentimes what I’ll do is just walk out here, just like I did and I’ll pull up a clump and if it’s not full of worm channels like this – or I don’t find worms, I say well, “Well, we got a problem. We got to change.”
GRANT: In addition to being a good measure of soil health, earthworms actually help transport healthy bacteria and fungus from the surrounding areas into the field. They really are masters at building quality soil.
GRANT: And in the first year – the first year we owned this property, I saw one deer. I saw a tail going around a cedar tree right back there. I saw one deer.
GRANT: You know I can’t go a whole tour without talking little bit of deer. So, we ended up talking some deer hunting strategies.
GRANT: Now we have about a hundred deer per square mile by surveys, not just guess in the air. And good habitat management has done – we haven’t brought any deer in, that’s illegal. We haven’t, we haven’t done anything except protect the deer that were here. We hunt ‘em aggressively now, actually we’re trying to reduce the population now – and really good habitat management.
GRANT: Bunches of folks helped each of us throughout our careers, so we all feel it’s worth our time to slow down and help these young professionals as they advance their careers from college to the working world.
GRANT: You don’t have to go to college to come take a tour of The Proving Grounds. Our next field event is August 12th and 13th. And we’ll spend a lot more time talking about food plots, hunting techniques and everything we do to produce quality whitetails. Come join us August 12th and 13th.
GRANT: For those that watch GrowingDeer on YouTube, you may not know that almost every week, we add special clips or in between the show tidbits on our clips page at GrowingDeer.com. Check it out for a lot more information.
GRANT: Probably notice I still got my turkey hunting clothes on. That’s because Adam and I were chasing up and down a couple of mountains this morning, trying to get to an old tom. Watch next week and we’ll show you a thrilling hunt for an Ozark Mountain strutter.
GRANT: Whether you’re chasing a tom up the mountain or driving down the highway, take time to notice how beautiful creation is and most importantly, slow down each day and listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.