FLORIDA TURKEY HUNT | KEY LOCATIONS TO TAG A TOM (EPISODE 613 TRANSCRIPT)
This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Middle, middle.
>>GRANT: I really enjoyed chasing turkeys in South Florida. Their season opens earlier than any other state in the continental United States.
>>GRANT: Now I got to tell ya, Hawaii’s season opens a few days earlier – March first – and Tracy’s wondering when I’ll go chase toms there.
>>GRANT: Last year I shared a hunt where Clay and I set up at the edge of some palmettos and had a group of toms come in.
>>GRANT: Those toms worked the decoy and put on a show.
>>GRANT: Once the toms separated, I sent a Winchester Long Beard XR down range and that tom dropped in his tracks.
>>GRANT: It was exciting watching those toms respond to the call, come in and work the decoy, and I always appreciate fresh, wild turkey meat for the Woods family.
>>GRANT: Clay, Daniel, and I returned to the La Hamaca Ranch in South Florida to hunt again this year, and the first morning Clay took one of our friends, Mark from Michigan, out for a hunt. Now it was Mark’s first turkey hunt, and it was a textbook roost to the setup hunt. We’ll share that hunt with you soon, and I gotta tell you, Mark was super excited to tag an Osceola.
>>MARK: It happened exactly the way you said it was gonna happen.
>>CLAY: That is textbook right there. Man.
>>GRANT: In Florida, you can hunt turkeys from daylight to dark, but that afternoon rain moved across the ranch, so we used that time to scout for turkeys.
>>GRANT: Often when it’s raining, turkeys will come out to openings, fields, or pastures, and most researchers believe they do that as a predator-defense mechanism. Turkeys primarily use, of course, their eyes and ears to detect predators. When it’s raining and loud in the timber and everything’s moving, they can do a better job of detecting predators when they’re out in the open.
>>GRANT: While scouting, we spotted some toms in the corner of a pasture.
>>GRANT: This was the same area where I tagged a tom last year.
>>GRANT: Knowing those toms are in the area and would likely roost somewhere close, we decided we’d slide in along the edge of that pasture first thing the next morning.
>>GRANT: The rain cleared out that night, and the next morning it was clear and pretty cold for South Florida this time of year.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Rainy and cloudy yesterday, and a high pressure has moved in. It’s a beautiful morning and kind of windy, but the toms should be vocal. In fact, there’s one drumming right behind us, so I’m gonna be quiet. Let’s see how this unfolds, and I’ll give you an update soon.
>>GRANT: Within moments, we saw the toms pitch out into the pasture. We had set up within yards of where they were roosted.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Right out there. Right down there. Right out there – two, three.
>>GRANT: This group of toms hit the ground, kind of did their morning stretching, and a couple of ‘em spotted our decoy.
>>GRANT: As they locked on that hen decoy, they started moving across the pasture back toward our set-up.
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>>GRANT: I was really enjoying watching these four toms with the beautiful South Florida sunrise in the background. But I gotta tell you, my trigger finger was getting a bit itchy, and finally one of the toms broke off the others.
>>GRANT: I told myself to control that itchy trigger finger; took time to settle the Burris FastFire 4 right on that tom’s head and squeezed the trigger.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Middle. Middle.
>>GRANT: A lot of times, turkeys will flop around after being shot, but I gotta tell you, that was so accurate that tom dropped like a sack of concrete.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Man, oh man, what a morning.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Yesterday we were looking for hogs, and Daniel spotted a couple gobblers on down this tree line a ways. And so we thought we’d start here in the morning, and we walked in across the pasture, and right when we were getting close, we heard what sounded like a gobble.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) It was a gobble and some drumming. I mean we knew we were right in ‘em, so just eased a decoy out, I don’t know, by this big oak tree here.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) And just, you know, as it got a little lighter, could hear more and more drumming and an occasional gobble. You know, didn’t want to do anything to (Inaudible), was right here.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) And they pitched out in this little area where the grass is shorter – obviously a strut zone – and then one was still gobbling behind us. And we thought, well, they may jump back in and then (Inaudible). But then they got around and saw that decoy better – worked right up within yards of us; got to the decoy.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) Just, man, watched a beautiful show strutting around that decoy. One finally separated a little bit.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) (Shot) Take some turkey meat. You know, I mean, the final product, of course, is great meat to take home, but the experience is so important. And this morning without a call, just watching turkeys do their thing. What an incredible experience – both from pure enjoyment and learning. And I often say the best call is being in the right position.
>>GRANT: (Whispering) This morning we set up and sat in the right position. We didn’t know it; we just happened to walk in here. It worked out perfect. Let’s check that tom out.
>>GRANT: South Florida Osceola, folks. Right there.
>>GRANT: It is a beautiful morning at the La Hamaca Ranch in South Florida. I really enjoy hunting here. I’ve been here four years now, and it’s just a great place.
>>GRANT: Yesterday – opening day of turkey season, South Florida. It was pretty rainy. Daniel and I were out in the morning; had a tom, just wouldn’t come in. And then we hog hunted and, man, had a great time. In the afternoon, we were just riding around, kinda just trying to see a hog in a pasture and thinking about where to turkey hunt this morning because the forecast was for a beautiful day.
>>GRANT: Position/location is so much better than calling, and this morning’s hunt was a perfect example.
>>GRANT: We’re gonna take the breast out of this tom and clean him all up, go chase some more.
>>GRANT: From the time we sat down until the shot, was about 15 minutes, and during that time I never made a call.
>>GRANT: This hunt was extremely quick for a turkey hunt, but it highlights some great lessons.
>>GRANT: You know, through the years I’ve learned – probably the hard way – that location is one of the most important techniques you need to understand when turkey hunting.
>>GRANT: There are some places turkeys just don’t want to go. For example, we’re sitting right on the side of almost like a fence row, where a long stand of timber, where there’s cattle pasture on both sides. But the other side is grown up much more. It hasn’t been managed quite as tightly as this one, and you can see there’s some grass clumps out here. But there’s a big area right behind us where there’s hardly any, and that turned out to be the strut areas for these toms.
>>GRANT: We had thought about setting up on the other side when we were thinking about hunting here, but I said, “No man. There’s just too much stuff over there. Those turkeys don’t want to strut.” And it worked out perfectly. They pitched out and strutted right behind us.
>>GRANT: I’ve seen that before. You know at home in The Proving Grounds, there’s a couple places I know that toms just want to be in the morning. They’re gonna pitch off the roost; do a couple things; they’re coming right there. If you can find one of those locations, man, set up, enjoy the show.
>>GRANT: Now, man, I love calling. I love toms responding to the call. But it’s also really fun to find that special location; use your woodsman’s skills, and use that to take home some fresh turkey.
>>GRANT: We’ve learned from hunting here at the La Hamaca Ranch for a couple years that toms tend to frequent that pasture and roost nearby.
>>GRANT: They certainly don’t always roost in those trees. In fact, I thought they’d be roosted around about a quarter mile or so. It just worked out that where we sat down, the turkeys were roosted a few yards away.
>>GRANT: If you can find locations such as roost trees, or probably more likely, roost areas, strut zones, or areas where turkeys frequently use, you can be in for some great hunts.
>>GRANT: I’m always happy when I can bring home fresh, natural meat to my family. If you’ve never tried wild turkey, there’s a big difference between the turkey that walks around eating native grasses and forbs and clovers and even insects. That meat is full of all the different nutrients versus a turkey that’s getting his meal out of the same trough next to a few thousand other turkeys every day.
>>GRANT: Harvesting fresh meat, preparing it for a future meal with your family – I gotta tell you – that’s an extremely rewarding experience.
>>GRANT: As you can tell by the Spanish moss blowing around, we’re still in Florida. And Daniel and I still got a tag in our pocket, and hopefully we’ll be able to bring you some more turkey hunts soon and share some lessons that you can apply to your hunting this spring.
>>GRANT: Whether you’re also in South Florida chasing toms or you’re up north waiting for the snow to melt or somewhere in between, I hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy Creation. And more importantly, I hope you take time every day to be quiet and listen to the Creator and His will for your life.
>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.