This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: Soon, we’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day and hope this year you do what most of the GrowingDeer Team is doing and spend some quality time with mom.
GRANT: It’s the time of year to chase turkeys here in the Midwest. And during the early season in Missouri, I was doing more chasing than tagging.
GRANT: Opening day, I had a great encounter with a tom that gobbled many times.
GRANT: But he never offered a clean shot. (Inaudible)
GRANT: This time of year we move most of our Reconyx cameras from where we would expect to see deer to where we expect to see turkeys.
GRANT: One of those cameras was placed at a plot we call Clover Mountain and every few days it would show a tom using the area.
GRANT: Based on that information, several days ago Clay and I hunted Clover Mountain, but we never heard or saw a tom in that area.
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GRANT: Yesterday during the early evening I heard a tom near Clover Mountain and I assumed he’d roost close by.
GRANT: Early this morning Tyler and I went to Clover Mountain hoping that bird would fire off.
GRANT: I gave a few calls and a tom on both sides of the mountain responded.
GRANT: It sounded like the tom to our west was closer and had an easier path to approach where we were set up.
GRANT: (Whispering) That bird. It’s either turned around or a lot closer. One or the other.
GRANT: The next gobble was from the tom on the east side of the mountain and he sounded a good bit closer.
GRANT: (Whispering) This bird’s gonna come in, but we’re in a bad setup.
GRANT: Once the toms hit the ground, we decided to reposition to a cedar tree that gave us more cover.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until he gobbled again and it sounded like he’d made it to the top of the mountain.
GRANT: (Whispering) I think that one’s actually closer.
GRANT: (Whispering) Need to be looking around and figure out how we can turn around. Because that one’s gonna come in first, I think. Oh my gosh, he’s close. That’s the one behind us, isn’t it? Just let him walk by us.
GRANT: (Whispering) He’s down in the field somewhere.
GRANT: (Whispering) He may swing around us.
GRANT: (Whispering) He swung around.
GRANT: We couldn’t see or film the tom, but we knew he was very close because I could hear every bit of his gobble.
GRANT: (Whispering) That’s the one I want.
GRANT: (Whispering) Be over there by this big oak, Tyler.
GRANT: (Whispering) Where? I see him; I see him; I can kill him.
TYLER: (Whispering) I’m on him.
GRANT: (Whispering) If he gets on top of the oak, I’ll probably take him.
GRANT: (Whispering) Yeah.
GRANT: (Whispering) Can you still see him?
GRANT: (Whispering) Thank you, Jesus.
GRANT: You know, you know that part you said about when you get comfortable? When I stand up, I might get comfortable ‘cause if you look where I’m sitting, I’m on the slope on gravel. I’m not being crude, but my fanny is gonna look like I was in a tiger fight when I stand up.
GRANT: Whew baby. That was good, man.
GRANT: He was back here…
TYLER: Way back there.
GRANT: We set up for a bird over here.
GRANT: And this one was off the slope down in the valley. It was like, “Is that on our property?”
GRANT: So we set up looking this way. This bird went silent on us. And I was calling and scratching leaves and doing my thing. And all of a sudden, I said, “This bird’s closer. We might want to think about moving over here and he’ll come back this way.”
GRANT: But I really thought this bird would come on in.
TYLER: I thought he was, too.
GRANT: And then he gobbled here off the edge of the food plot. And I thought, “Oh, it’s a little late for that now.”
GRANT: We gonna have to let him walk by. And fortunately, I was — I literally was – praying.
GRANT: He dropped off the ridge, went below us. Obviously, could see the decoy, so he swung back up.
GRANT: ‘Cause I had it set right there on the lip.
GRANT: And I could hear him. I kept tracking and moving my gun and tracking. And he popped up right there, I’m guessing 50 yards.
GRANT: And I would have waited and let him come back here to the decoy, but I was afraid he would — something would go wrong.
TYLER: Hmm, hmm.
GRANT: And being the third week of Missouri season, I knew I could take him there, so I enjoyed the show, let him gobble a few times and touched her off.
GRANT: That was a classic Ozark Mountain hunt, folks. This isn’t Kansas where you see ‘em coming 400 yards across the field. This is Ozark Mountain country where, I’m guessing, we can see seven yards this way.
GRANT: We set up here. This doesn’t look ideal. But we set up here ‘cause this is the flattest 50 yards for a long ways around here.
GRANT: And so that’s why we set up here.
GRANT: Goodness, gracious.
GRANT: Let’s go see what we got.
GRANT: Or let’s get off the rocks. One of the two.
TYLER: (Inaudible) off the rocks.
GRANT: That tom was down by 6:45. I love those early mornings, especially when the toms are responding.
GRANT: We’re gonna hang around here and celebrate and then go back up to the shop, clean this tom up and have some fresh, wild turkey for the Woods family.
GRANT: Had a great hunt this morning here in the Ozark Mountains. Always fun to tag a bird at home. But in addition to that, it’s great to bring home some fresh, wild meat.
GRANT: The first thing I do when dressing a tom is to remove the beard. Grab it right at the base; put my other hand to hold it and pull it out. Twist it a little. Pull.
GRANT: Then I start skinning right down the sternum. I do this by putting the point of my knife just barely in the skin, blade up. That way when I’m cutting, I’m not dragging feathers into the meat.
GRANT: And the more you free up, the easier it is to remove the breast — the meat — just a little bit later on.
GRANT: Once I’ve skinned out the breast area, I start working down the top of the thigh.
GRANT: Wild turkey drumsticks and thighs are excellent meat. I don’t want to waste that. So, after I have it skinned out, I separate the meat from the thigh and the skeleton of the turkey, pull a little bit and that will expose the ball joint.
GRANT: I trim around the ball joint and I can remove the entire leg.
GRANT: I usually remove one leg and then work on the breast, leaving the other leg for a handle.
GRANT: Wild turkey breast meat is truly a delicacy. And I don’t want to waste any. So, I take my sharp knife and filet right down the edge of the sternum, peeling the breast meat back.
GRANT: You can see the separation right here. That’s the turkey tenderloin. Once I’ve separated the breast meat from the sternum, I simply go underneath and make sure no skin is attached and I can lift out the entire breast.
GRANT: I repeat this process for the other half of the breast. You might notice that I also trim around the crop when removing the breast.
GRANT: The crop is a large, bag-like structure that stores food before it goes into the gizzard where turkeys grind it up. After all the meat is removed, I pinch up to take a little pressure off, make an incision, and spread it open, and check out what he’s been eating.
GRANT: The inside of a turkey crop doesn’t smell anything like the inside of a deer’s rumen or stomach. So don’t be bashful.
GRANT: Inside this tom’s crop — well, I was a bit surprised. There was a bunch of Eagle Seeds Forage Soybeans. We had just planted a food plot not far away from where I tagged that tom. And he’d obviously been scratching in there, robbing my beans and cheating me from getting some forage later this summer.
GRANT: I’m really not mad at the tom. We plant about 200,000 plus seeds per acre, so 50 or 60 isn’t gonna hurt that plot.
GRANT: Along with the soybean seeds, some of our clovers are ripening right now and producing seed. And there was a bunch of clover seed in that turkey’s crop.
GRANT: Knowing what a turkey is eating that day is great scouting information for when you go hunting the next time.
GRANT: I call it scouting from the skinning shed.
GRANT: Well, man. Gosh. Tracy and I really thank everyone for being part of our team. And I’m thankful that we were able to harvest a turkey during this really tough year. So, let’s have a moment of prayer.
GRANT: Heavenly Father, I do thank you for this day. And I thank you for providing us with great friends and great fellowship. And keep us safe tonight Lord and keep our community safe as these storms roll through. We appreciate the rain. In Christ’s name we pray, amen.
GRANT: If you’d like to learn more about the GrowingDeer Team’s techniques for chasing toms throughout the season, simply subscribe to the GrowingDeer newsletter.
GRANT: Several of the GrowingDeer Team members are still chasing turkeys and we’ll bring you the results of those hunts soon.
GRANT: I hope you have a chance to get outside and chase turkeys or just simply enjoy Creation. But most importantly, take time every day to slow down, be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
GRANT: Beautiful morning in the Ozark Mountains. It’s all quiet now.
TYLER: Hmm, hmm.