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DANIEL: (Whispering) Right there, man. He’s right over there.
GRANT: During the third week of Missouri’s turkey season, Clay and I hunted a ridge we call 50 Acre. We heard a tom gobble from the roost and then moved east toward a food plot we call Narnia. Daniel and Tyler decided to hunt Narnia one morning and see if the tom was on the same pattern.
DANIEL: (Whispering) It’s May 7th and Tyler and I are right next to a food plot we call Narnia. Yesterday, Grant was over on the 50 Acre ridge just to the north of this ridge. And they heard a bird. It sounded like he was roosted on the north side of this slope. There was a gobble right there. That was the first gobble.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Sounded like he was roosted on the north side of this slope. I heard him gobble a couple of times like he was working this ridge down into this food plot.
DANIEL: (Whispering) This north side of the food plot is the shortest area of the vegetation in this plot. There’s clovers pretty low and the rye is shorter than most of the rest of the plot. So, my suspicion is this bird is roosted; he’s gobbling down this ridge. Hens are coming to him and they’re getting to this north side of this plot and they’re feeding and working this area. So, I think we’ve got a pretty good setup.
DANIEL: (Whispering) We’ve heard one turkey gobble over here to the east. Hopefully, this one fires off soon.
GRANT: About 7:30, Daniel spotted a hen.
GRANT: Just as Daniel had expected, the hen milled around and bugged in the northern portion of the plot where the vegetation is shorter.
GRANT: This was the only turkey Daniel and Tyler saw at the Narnia plot.
GRANT: About 10:00, they decided to drop down and hit an interior road and take it north to see if they could hear a tom somewhere up the valley.
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GRANT: We had Reconyx images of a tom working near a food plot we call Blue Hole and Daniel hoped that tom would be somewhere in that area the morning he was hunting.
GRANT: The tom had been entering the Blue Hole food plot from the eastern side, so Daniel started slowly working that way listening for a gobble. Daniel had not heard a gobble, so he decided to hit the Redeemer pot call and see what responded.
GRANT: They thought they heard a gobble across a holler to the west.
TYLER: (Whispering) Wasn’t that on Boom?
DANIEL: (Whispering) (Inaudible) soft, right?
TYLER: (Whispering) Did you hear that bird again?
GRANT: They used the onX line distance tool and decided the tom was at least 500 yards away. So, they wanted to cut the distance and then see if they could get a better location on the tom.
TYLER: (Whispering) We just started working our way north; came up on this ridge to see if we can get a bird fired up. Daniel let out a few soft yelps. Heard a bird gobble over on the other ridge. So, we’re gonna go down, go across the creek, cut up the other side. Hopefully, he’s still fired up and we can cut the distance in time.
GRANT: After crossing the creek, they walked up the ridge about 100 yards and then stopped to listen. Daniel tried to get the tom to gobble, but all was quiet.
GRANT: Given the silence, Daniel and Tyler thought the gobbler must have drifted away, but they thought, “Heck, let’s give it one more try.” And Daniel pulled out his Hook’s tube call.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Right there, man. He’s right over the hill. He’s not far. We gotta set up, set up.
DANIEL: (Whispering) We’re in a burn unit. We just recently burned this a few months ago and back behind us is a bedding area. This bird is probably just cruising this burn unit looking for hens in here bugging and out nesting or bugging out inside this bedding area. So, it makes sense that this bird is in here. We’ll see if we can get it done. It’s 11:00. We’ve got two hours.
GRANT: They had just got set up when the tom gobbled again, and he had cut the distance.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Oh. (Inaudible). He’s right here.
GRANT: Suddenly, they saw a hen moving between the trees.
DANIEL: (Whispering) He’s back behind the hen.
GRANT: Daniel heard the hen give a soft yelp, and he yelped back, and the tom gobbled.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Hear him drumming?
GRANT: Each time Daniel heard the hen, he called back to her kind of mimicking what she called, hoping to call her in and the tom would follow.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Man, he sounds like his drumming is getting closer, though.
DANIEL: (Whispering) There he is.
TYLER: (Whispering) I see him.
DANIEL: (Whispering) He’s strutting. Right in front of me. Can you see him? You on him? You on him? All right. That’s okay. You tell me when you’re on him.
TYLER: (Whispering) (Inaudible)
DANIEL: (Whispering) You on him?
TYLER: (Whispering) Yeah.
DANIEL: Heck ya, baby. Heck ya.
TYLER: Yeah, buddy! Yeah, buddy!
DANIEL: That’s an Ozark Mountain hunt for you right there. And that’s about as good as it gets. Golly. It has been dead silent all day. Tyler and I, we knew there was a bird that had been working on this east ridge over here. So, we actually came up here, tried to get him fired off and we thought, we thought we heard a bird over here. Very distant. So, we climbed up here. We came down across the creek; got up this mountain. And we get up on this slope and I was hitting the pot call, hitting the pot call, hitting the pot call. Nothing. Dead silent.
DANIEL: Pulled out the Hook’s tube call and he cut me off as soon as I hit. And he was close. We immediately sat down and just as we were getting everything set up, he gobbled one more time and we knew he was coming.
DANIEL: He had a hen with him, and the hen actually dumped off off the ridge, and he followed, and I started talking to the hen. And ended up, got her fired up. I don’t know if you could hear it, but she was – she was answering me and then he was cutting us off in between. But I was locked on this tom because that fan opening up as he came over the ridge. And I could see that fan through the trees. And he was, he was head on to me and, if I remember right, I think he was strutting.
TYLER: Hmm, hmm.
DANIEL: But I knew if he took one step one way or the other, he may get behind a tree and he was in a good lane for me. So, I had to take the shot and I’m glad I did ’cause it looks like a pretty good bird.
DANIEL: Heck, yeah. This is tough hunting in these mountains, but this is fresh burn. That hen was bugging in here. She was feeding head down. You can see all these native species coming up. It’s open. Not a lot of leaf litter. Bugs are everywhere. Great feeding area.
DANIEL: And then back behind us – we’re only ten yards from it – is a bedding area. This bedding area has low vegetation, great nesting area. So, there’s a lot of hens using this area and the toms are going to be in here with the hens.
DANIEL: The old tube call. One call and it fired them up and brought them in. Good job, man.
DANIEL: Let’s go take a look at this guy.
DANIEL: Heck, yeah, man. Well, here he is. Great looking bird. The good news is, it’s a walk downhill. We’re gonna go to the Yamaha, get him back out and start cleaning him.
GRANT: Daniel’s hunt happened quickly, but there were several reasons it resulted in fresh turkey meat.
GRANT: Toms were quiet throughout the morning and Daniel wisely waited until about 10:00 a.m. when he felt most hens would break off and go to their nest. And at that time, toms would likely be more receptive to the call.
GRANT: Once Daniel located a tom, he immediately cut the distance knowing that 500 yards was quite a ways for the tom to come without a coyote spooking him or the tom intercepting a hen. Daniel also knew the tom was in an area that had been recently burned. So, when he stopped to call, he stopped with the bedding area behind him and the fresh burn in front. That way, it was unlikely for the tom to swing around behind in the thicker vegetation.
GRANT: When Daniel called and got no response, he switched calls. You’ve probably often seen us switching between diaphragm calls, box calls and our pot calls. Sometimes I even change the strikers I’m using on the same pot call. I’d do anything to change the pitch, maybe even rhythm or the tone. Often times, when a tom won’t gobble to one call, a different sound will make him fire off.
GRANT: For Daniel, the Hook’s tube call did the trick.
DANIEL: (Whispering) Yeah. Set up. Set up.
GRANT: Another key to Daniels hunt is that once he heard the hen call, he started calling to her, rather than calling aggressively to the tom.
GRANT: Once the hen started responding and coming to Daniel, the tom followed suit.
GRANT: If you watch closely, right after the shot, you’ll notice the hen was below Daniel. And that put Daniel between the hen and the tom, the perfect location for a turkey hunter.
GRANT: The last observation I’d like to share is after Daniel had removed all the meat from the tom, he cut into its crop. And it was full of native vegetation. This tom had been eating the fruit of fragrant sumac and I’m still waiting on a positive ID on the leaves. But it was obvious this tom was enjoying vegetation that had grown after a recent prescribed fire.
GRANT: While Daniel was hunting, I was also hunting a few ridges to the north. And just after Daniel tagged his tom, I had a tom approach in an area that had been recently burned. I’ll share that hunt with you soon.
GRANT: Finally warming up in many places and it’s time to start planting food plots. If you’d like to learn our food plot planting techniques, check out the food plot playlist on our channel.
GRANT: It seems the weather has been all over the map this spring throughout most of the United States. But that’s no reason to not get outside and enjoy Creation.
GRANT: But no matter the weather, be sure and take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
DANIEL: Man. And he’s close. How close? I didn’t step it off. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. About 20 yards.