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>>GRANT: For me, Easter is the most important celebration of the year. It’s when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. And that resurrection, well, it makes all the blessings we’ve already received and will receive possible. Hey, I hope you join the Woods family this year and celebrate the real reason we have Easter.

>>GRANT: During this episode, I wish to share some tips about hunting locations so you can use them and have a great turkey season.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] [Indiscernible] Right there. You good?


>>GRANT: Daniel, Clay, and I were recently chasing turkeys at the La Hamaca Ranch in south Florida. During one of the hunts, Daniel and Clay chose to set up next to a citrus grove.

>>GRANT: Citrus groves are a very attractive habitat type for turkeys in south Florida. The low vegetation between the row of trees is perfect for turkeys to get in and bug around. And they’re irrigated which means there’s even more bugs in that area. The trees shear the wind off and there’s shade during the afternoon.

>>GRANT: You may recall that a few years ago, Clay and I had a great hunt right on the edge of a citrus grove.

>>GRANT: Knowing the grove is a preferred habitat type for turkeys, Daniel hoped he could get close to the grove and strike up a tom.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] All right. We’re just now getting settled in. It’s pretty warm. It’s about 10:30, but there’s still a strong wind – playing the wind game. We’re kind of on the south end of this timber, this narrow timber that goes through here with a citrus grove toward the south.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] But we’ve got low vegetation out in front of us and we’re backed up against this live oak; hoping to call something in that’s either in the orange grove or over here in the timber.

>>DANIEL: [Quietly] We’re going to start calling. We’ll probably have to call pretty loud just because of the strong wind. And we’ll give it some time here and see what happens.

>>GRANT: It wasn’t long before one responded.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Here he is.

>>GRANT: Unfortunately, this tom hung up just out of range.

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] He’s kind of hung up, isn’t he?

>>GRANT: It seemed this tom was trying to attract a hen to him. He finally gave up and drifted off.

>>GRANT: Daniel and Clay believed that the tom likely roosted in this small live oak hammock and then spent his days in the grove.

>>GRANT: A great turkey hunting technique is to position yourself between where you believe they’re roosted and where they want to go.

>>GRANT: Using this information, a few days later Daniel returned to the citrus grove with GrowingDeer team member Heath Martin, as Heath had joined us in camp.

>>GRANT: They set up between the eastern point of the live oak hammock and the grove, hoping the tom would fly down and use that travel route to go to the grove. It was a pasture area and a great setup for a tom during the morning.

>>GRANT: As light began to break, that tom sounded off.

>>GRANT: The tom only gobbled a couple of times from the limb. Suddenly, Daniel spotted the tom.

>>GRANT: It seemed that tom understood Daniel and Heath’s plan as he wrapped around the point of the trees and headed toward them.

>>GRANT: About that time, Daniel spotted a hen 20 yards to their left.

>>GRANT: The hen drifted toward the tom and they both swung out of range.

>>GRANT: The plan to be between where the tom was roosted and where he was going almost worked. If it hadn’t been for the hen, that tom probably would have come into their setup.

>>GRANT: The tom slipped through and we thought we might do battle with him another day.

>>GRANT: It’s tough to call a tom away from a hen and from a direction he wants to go. So, they wisely just kept quiet a bit, let the tom slide on by, backed out, and went to chase a tom at another location.

>>GRANT: They hunted hard, hoping to strike up another tom.

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>>GRANT: The following morning about 8:00 a.m., Daniel and Heath went to a pasture where we’d seen a tom a few days before.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] Good morning. It’s my second day down here in Florida with the guys and we saw a bird in this area yesterday when we were driving around. And so, we came in here and set up in, the, this nook in this pasture. And there’s a gap in the tree line right here coming in from a swamp. So we’re going to sit here and do some blind calling this morning and see if we can catch him coming back to the same spot and get him fired up.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] They’ve been just a little bit slow. It’s been real windy for several days. But today, the wind has died. It’s going to be really nice. So, hopefully, we’re going to get into some action.

>>GRANT: They set up on the east side of the pasture, so the sun was at their back.

>>GRANT: Just moments after setting up, Daniel spotted a hen moving through the grass.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] Oh, it’s coming. It’s a hen.

>>GRANT: Heath didn’t have to wait long until he heard a gobble across the pasture.

>>GRANT: Heath called lightly, and the tom answered.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] He’s coming [Indiscernible].

>>DANIEL: [Whispering] He’s right at the base.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] Oh, I see him.

>>GRANT: The tom quickly closed the distance.

>>GRANT: That tom was fired up and coming on a string.

>>GRANT: Just as the excitement was building, that tom turned and beelined toward the timber.

>>GRANT: Once the guys stood up, and tried to figure out what spooked the tom, and kind of turned around, they could see a glint of the pickup window across the pasture through a small opening in the palmettos and they assumed that tom saw the same.

>>GRANT: Believing the tom was not alerted to their setup or calling, Heath, Daniel and Clay returned to the same location the next morning. This time the guys parked further down the road so there was no chance that tom could spot the pickup.

>>GRANT: The guys were still setting up when a tom gobbled on the western end of the pasture.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] We got a bird coming down here, probably 400 yards or so. We just snuck into the spot where we actually almost called this bird in yesterday, and he ended up seeing the truck window way down the road and flared off and spooked. Bad luck.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] But he didn’t spook from us, so we just snuck back in and sat down. And sure enough, he’s already gobbling; so, we think he’s coming down the same pasture and maybe gonna come the same direction, so hopefully our setup is good.

>>HEATH: [Whispering] We’ll see if we can call him in and maybe get him killed this morning.

>>GRANT: They quickly finished setting up and Heath made a few soft calls.

>>GRANT: Boom. That tom answered.

>>GRANT: It wasn’t long until the tom appeared in the same place he had the day before.

>>GRANT: He started working his way toward Heath.

>>GRANT: It was tough to track that tom through the grass, but they knew he was on a mission to find that hen.

>>UNKNOWN: [Whispering] [Indiscernible]

>>GRANT: Within a few minutes, he was in Winchester range.

>>UNKNOWN: [Whispering] [Indiscernible]

>>HEATH: [Whispering] You good?

>>ALL: Yes. Yes. Whew!

>>GRANT: Once again, the Longbeard XR shells dropped that tom in his tracks, and Heath had his first Osceola.

>>HEATH: Man, I’m telling you. The turkeys have been kicking our tails the last couple of days. We have worked for this one. This is actually a bird, probably the same bird we set up here yesterday and caught him across the field and he ended up spooking and running back in the timber out here from 75 yards out or so.

>>HEATH: So, our game plan was to kind of come back in here about eight o’clock and set up again. And, I mean, as soon as we sat down, Clay is back here ten yards behind us and heard him gobble. Because we were messing around making noise, we didn’t hear him.

>>HEATH: He was working his way down through there and threw some calls at him and he got excited and [Indiscernible] away all across the field – about [Indiscernible] yards out there.

>>HEATH: And put the old hammer down right there, boy. Took my first Osceola. That’s exciting right there, man.

>>HEATH: Super excited. This is my first Osceola. First time I ever hunted down here in Florida. So, it’s exciting to get the season started off with a bang here.

>>HEATH: Lindsey and I have several birds on the farm this year. So, here in a few weeks once the season kicks off up in Arkansas, hopefully, we’ll be after some more turkeys and get a few more on the ground this year.

>>GRANT: Heath’s hunt can be used to illustrate several great turkey hunting lessons.

>>GRANT: First, even though Daniel or Heath didn’t tag the tom that roosted in the oaks and was going to the citrus grove, that strategy resulted in two close encounters. And it’s always a good strategy to get between where a tom is roosted and where you believe he’s going first thing in the morning.

>>GRANT: Another illustration of an important lesson is when Heath was calling the tom and it spooked into the timber and they believed because it saw the pickup.

>>GRANT: They returned the next day, set up in the exact same location and killed what they believed to be the same tom. It’s obvious that tom wasn’t spooked by the setup or the calling, but something else.

>>GRANT: If you’re in a situation where you alert a turkey or a deer, but it’s in a way that the deer doesn’t associate that with human danger – didn’t smell you, didn’t see you – maybe you even shot at a deer, missed it and it runs off – it’s likely to come back through if that’s a natural corridor because it doesn’t associate that being alert with human danger.

>>GRANT: If critters are alerted by something, they’re just not sure what’s going on, they’ll likely return to the same area if it’s part of their normal travel route.

>>GRANT: During the hunt when the tom spooked and returned to the timber, Heath wisely opted to not continue calling. They just sat quiet, gave the tom a while to clear out of the area, and then backed out quietly. If they had tried to call that tom back in, he certainly would have had a bad experience and probably associated that area with danger.

>>GRANT: That hunt also illustrates that especially during the early portion of the turkey season, if you find an area where a tom is frequenting daily, there’s a good chance you can set up in that area and call that tom in.

>>GRANT: Learning from your time out hunting and applying it to the next hunt is a great way to enjoy Creation.

>>GRANT: More importantly, I hope you take time every day to be quiet and learn the Creator’s will for your life.

>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.