This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: It is raining at The Proving Grounds today, and I’m going to be assisting a landowner tomorrow, so I wanted to get this episode out and we’re filming in the office.
CLAY: Well, we’re getting everything laid out, getting ready to pack up the truck to head to Florida tomorrow. We’re going to be chasing Osceolas and hogs.
GRANT: The turkey season in south Florida is the earliest that I know. And it is a great area to chase turkeys and hogs.
GRANT: Clay and I, we’re excited to return to the La Hamaca Ranch in south Florida and hunt with our friend, John Horn. John is the wildlife manager of that ranch.
GRANT: Thinking we were going on spring break, we were in for a bit of a surprise as the opening morning of turkey season, it was 39 degrees and very windy.
GRANT: The turkeys, I think, are in shock. And they’re not shock gobbling. It’s just cold this time of year, so we haven’t heard anything. We saw one hen.
GRANT: The toms were quiet, and it was cold for me, but we still set up at several places. During these conditions, I usually don’t call much and rather consider these days an excellent scouting opportunity.
GRANT: I had planned to chase hogs this hunt and also use this opportunity to look for fresh hog sign. The La Hamaca is a working cattle ranch and this type of habitat is excellent for turkeys and hogs.
GRANT: (Whispering) Turkey hunting. But I have my bow back at the lodge.
GRANT: Areas similar to this that have a repeating pattern of food, cover, water in close proximity can hold a lot of critters and creates lots of edges and bottlenecks which is much easier to hunt than a large tract of homogenous habitat, say a large stand of timber or an extra-large pasture.
GRANT: (Whispering) It’s dry in Florida and, I mean, this normally has water in it – just a little bit out there, so. They’re hungry. They’re eating before dark. We’re gonna go get the bow, try to slide out. I don’t know if we’ve got time. But tomorrow afternoon, pork with the Prime or Prime pork – we’re gonna get some Prime pork.
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GRANT: (Whispering) I believe there’s two toms but only one is gobbling now. So probably hens – older toms with hens. Satellites kind of cruising around. They’re in that hardwood block in front of us. Kind of standing there and gobbling every now and then. So we’ll kind of get down there to the edge of that block, listen, probably try to get ahead of ‘em, set up and see what happens.
GRANT: We hadn’t been on the move long when we spotted several toms in an adjacent pasture. They appeared to be moving our way, so we found a small opening and planned to call them in.
GRANT: When you can get in front of a tom in the direction he’s headed, it’s much easier to call them in than trying to call a tom that’s headed a different direction.
GRANT: There was some cover between us and the toms, so I set out an Avian-X HDR hen about 20 yards in front of our setup.
GRANT: (Whispering) There they are; right there. They’re coming; they’re coming. I think those are jakes. There’s a longbeard.
GRANT: (Whispering) Man, that’s a good bird right there. I was – I was enjoying the show. I had one shot in there where there was no one behind him, but I thought, “No. Let’s watch the show.” They started drifting away and I thought, “Oh no, that’s not good.” But I knew he wasn’t gonna get out of range. I was on him. Yeah. That worked out awesome, man.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Man, south Florida. Osceola. Live oaks. Palmettos. That’s some good action right there. I’ve – that never gets old to me. I love it when they’re responding to the call. My first turkey with the Banshee, a little small slate.
GRANT: (Whispering) They were checking out that decoy, weren’t they?
CLAY: (Whispering) Oh, man. Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) I mean, they were all right there at it.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah, the 20 gauge flattened him. Of course, it was a close shot.
GRANT: I was shooting a Winchester 20 gauge loaded with Long Beard XR #5s. And when you slow the footage down, you can see how tight that pattern remains and drops that tom in his tracks.
GRANT: (Whispering) Well, I’m gonna have to spook those because I’m ready to go check that rascal out.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Safety’s on.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah. It’s 9:50. 9:50.
GRANT: (Whispering) A lot of good hunting left to go today.
CLAY: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: The wind was forecast to remain strong the rest of the afternoon which meant it would be excellent stalking conditions for hogs.
GRANT: When we returned to the lodge, I grabbed my bow and took a few shots at the Morrell Target to make sure the pins hadn’t moved during the long drive.
GRANT: The Prime had traveled well and it was dialed in, so I was ready to add some pork to the cooler.
GRANT: (Whispering) Had a great turkey hunt this morning, so I’ve got the Prime out chasing some pork. Yesterday when Clay and I were turkey hunting in this area we saw a couple different sets of hogs, actually walked up really close to a group.
GRANT: (Whispering) We’ve got about an hour, hour and a half before dark. We’re going to cruise around in the palmettos here and the trees and see if we can’t get within bow range of some south Florida hogs.
GRANT: There was a lot of hog sign throughout the ranch. We could easily see where the hogs had been rooting in the pastures.
GRANT: A few years ago, I’d had a great hunt in one of the pastures behind the lodge.
GRANT: The hogs had come out of a hammock to feed in the pasture and there were enough scattered trees in that pasture that make great cover so I could stop close enough for a shot.
GRANT: She’s down.
GRANT: Based on that hunt and the current hog sign, Clay and I decided it would be a great place to try again.
GRANT: (Whispering) Well, heck, we’re not 200 yards from the truck and creek makes a big bend back here and I see a black hog all the way back there now. So the plan’s working good. The wind’s in our favor. Let’s see if we can cut the distance. There will probably be some more between here and there. So got to move as fast as – woo, that’s a good one there. That’s a big one. Move fast, but not spook something along the way.
GRANT: Hogs have fairly poor eyesight. And if you move slowly from cover to cover, you can almost always get within range.
GRANT: The wind was in our face, so we began working toward them slowly keeping trees or brush between them and us.
GRANT: There were many hogs in the area and they seemed to be keeping each other on edge. So we moved extremely slowly the last few yards.
CLAY: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: (Whispering) I’ll shoot that (Inaudible) if it comes in.
GRANT: The wind was still favorable and there was a lot of hog sign in the area. So we decided to stay put and see if more hogs would come out of the cover and feed in the pasture.
GRANT: As the light was fading, more hogs entered the pasture.
CLAY: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
GRANT: These hogs were feeding in an area where the grass was tall enough to cover their head as they fed, so we started stalking closer to close the distance.
GRANT: (Whispering) I talk a lot about hunting limited resources. And it’s true for all the critters we hunt, even hogs. Hogs love water; they need water daily. Not only just a drink, but when it’s warm like this, to wallow in it and stuff. There’s a little spot of water. It’s really dry in south Florida. So made a big stalk. I messed up one stalk – I got caught moving. Was patient. Those came back. Some more came in, made the shot.
GRANT: The shot seemed good. And it sounded like the hog didn’t make it very far. But we decided to return to the truck, grab some flashlights before we took up the trail.
GRANT: Clay and I had a cool hog hunt. Made a shot over here. Man, it looked good. I believe I heard her go down over here just 50, 60 yards. We’re going to go look for blood, but I’m confident enough. I got the buck cuff, so gonna drag this one out.
GRANT: Oh, I got blood right here. Here we go.
CLAY: Oh yeah, that’s good blood.
GRANT: Yeah, that’s good blood and good – oh yeah, it’s all over.
GRANT: All right. So let’s go slow to go fast. I got blood right there. Here. Oh, it’s looking good, Clay. Looking good here.
GRANT: Yeah. Here. Right there. How about right there?
CLAY: How about that?
GRANT: How about that, buddy?
GRANT: I’m talking – what? 50 yards at the max?
GRANT: At the max.
GRANT: Hey, this is a lot nicer than the other one. Now, I’m gonna have to jump back and scare you. We know where this one is.
GRANT: Make sure Brutus isn’t around here somewhere.
GRANT: Heck, yeah. Perfect eating size. Look at that. Perfect eating size. I’m going to flip it over and see the damage here.
GRANT: That thing went down in 50 yards. For a hog to do that. Oh, hogs are always heavy. Heavier than they look. How about that, boys and girls? Look at that.
GRANT: I’m in the shoulder. Right behind the shoulder – oh no. I can feel the off shoulder. I mean, it’s buried on the off shoulder.
GRANT: It doesn’t get any better than that.
GRANT: Man, I am thankful for that. I’m not sticking my hand in there, but I see smaller cutters, but perfect eating size. And the mosquitos are bad so we’re taking this to the truck, or bringing the truck here, and we’ll tell more of this story at the skinning shed.
GRANT: Man, made it just a fun shot on this hog. Perfect hole going in. Went through and I felt down in here carefully. Broke a rib. I’m going to skin it out and make sure that’s what I’m feeling. Of course, good meat. And put the broadhead in the offside shoulder. This shoulder is probably not going to be good to eat anyway, so I’m going to start right here just to see what we’ve got.
GRANT: Rib that it blew through. Next rib it went through. It was quartering, so it actually cut all the way through two ribs on the way in.
GRANT: What makes this even more impressive is this year I’m shooting a 50-pound Prime bow, 28” draw. So mechanical broadhead. I use the Deadmeat mechanical broadhead, 50-pound bow. About 24-, 25-yard shot. Rips through two ribs, stuck in the off shoulder.
GRANT: And I tell people all the time – and this is so much tougher than a deer. Man, you don’t need to pull a really heavy bow and you can make your bow quieter by dropping the weight.
GRANT: It’s getting late. Clay and I are going to go to work on getting the meat off this hog because we’re turkey hunting in the morning.
GRANT: If you’d like to see a step-by-step guide of how I de-bone a feral hog, check out GrowingDeer episode 278.
GRANT: I was thrilled that we already had fresh wild turkey and pork and was ready to hunt the next day.
GRANT: There were many lessons from this hunt, but one that applies no matter where you hunt is finding areas that have food, cover and water in close proximity almost always results in excellent hunting opportunities.
GRANT: Habitat with this many edges makes it easier to find and pattern critters because these edges make pinch points where critters will be traveling.
GRANT: Whether you’re hunting deer, turkey or hogs, understanding how they travel between resources and finding pinch points between those resources makes it much easier to put fresh meat in the freezer.
GRANT: Clay and I had many more great hunts during that trip. And next week I’ll share the hunt for a big, Florida Osceola and how we used hunting and decoy strategies to tag that tom.
GRANT: I’ve already booked my hunt for next year at the La Hamaca Ranch. If you’d like to hunt there, use the contact information on the screen to reach out to John Horn, the ranch’s wildlife manager.
GRANT: If you’re getting ready for turkey season or enjoy learning about turkey hunting strategies, check out our hunting and tactics playlist.
GRANT: I realize many folks are worried about the current virus situation or their lives have already been impacted due to canceled events, work schedules, whatever. But remember, it’s still a great time to get outside and enjoy Creation. That’s actually excellent therapy during this season of our lives.
GRANT: But most importantly, take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
CLAY: Last time they were way up at that next one.
GRANT: Isn’t that that – I think it was here.
CLAY: Yeah. It may have been right over here.
GRANT: Yeah. Because this is that bush they were kind of coming around, isn’t it?
GRANT: We just waiting right here? And…
GRANT: …(Inaudible) right back in there?
CLAY: Yeah. There’s a good spot up there.
GRANT: Spot right there. Man, they’re tearing this pasture up.