This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.
GRANT: We recently shared that Pro Staffer Lindsey Martin tagged a mature tom during Arkansas’s opening day of turkey season.
GRANT: It was very windy at their farm opening morning, so they opted to wait ‘til midday when the wind laid before they went out.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsey’s Reconyx camera had picked up a great pattern of toms using the plot during the afternoon that they planned to hunt.
GRANT: On the way to the blind where they planned to hunt, they spotted a large strutter in another plot.
GRANT: As they watched this tom, they noticed a hen was with him.
GRANT: It wasn’t long until they spotted another tom.
LINDSEY: (Whispering) Somebody’s getting chased.
GRANT: From what they could tell one tom was obviously dominant and kept challenging the other bird.
GRANT: Lindsey and Heath decided to stick with the original plan and continued on to the blind at the ridgetop plot which turned out to be great instinct as Lindsey tagged a tom not long after they were set up.
GRANT: The next morning Heath decided to go after a tom they saw in the larger plot.
HEATH: Well, good morning, everybody. Today’s the second day of turkey season here in Arkansas and we saw some birds strutting in a field on the other side of this tree line here. We’re in a food plot here where we had our Redneck blind set up. We’re gonna pack up this blind today. We’re gonna move it over there real quick, set it up and get in there and sit through the middle of the day. See if we can catch some birds coming back in there strutting in that food plot. So that’s kind of the game plan.
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GRANT: A few hours later, Heath returned to that blind and started his hunt.
GRANT: This is the same plot where Heath tagged a big, mountain buck he called Squiggles last fall.
GRANT: A few weeks ago, Heath used prescribed fire to burn the northern half of the plot and the adjoining timber.
GRANT: Turkeys love fresh burns because when the leaf litter is removed, they can easily find insects.
HEATH: Well, hey, guys. It’s the second day of turkey season here in Arkansas. It’s about 10:30 and we’re just now getting in the blind. There’s been a lot more activity kind of midday. It seems like the birds have been kind of henned up a little bit up in the timber in the mornings. And once you leave the property here, it’s just really steep and rugged. You can kill ‘em, but it’s pretty tough, just to be honest with you.
HEATH: Yesterday we came in her midday and got some footage of a bird strutting with a hen in the food plot and then didn’t get a lot of footage of it, but another longbeard came in and they fought and went on down the timber. But they’re using this end of the food plot.
HEATH: Anyway, we come down here and we’ve set the decoys up kind of down the edge of the food plot where they can see ‘em, hopefully, from both ends, kind of off the corner here from both directions.
HEATH: So, anyway, that’s the game plan. We’re gonna hole up in this Redneck blind and watch these decoys and see what we can see. Maybe we can get one on the ground.
GRANT: Not long into the hunt some jakes come out and started feeding where the Eagle Seed soybean stems were still standing.
GRANT: During that afternoon hunt, Heath watched a hen walking by the plot through the tall grass and thought it was probably difficult for her to see the decoys given the height of that grass.
GRANT: Heath never saw the toms but based on his observations, he decided to mow that grass and return Thursday morning to hunt the same area.
GRANT: Heath was still setting up the camera when the hen pitched off the mountain and landed in the plot.
GRANT: A few minutes later the same jake group Heath had seen during the previous hunt entered the plot.
GRANT: Suddenly Heath spotted a tom.
HEATH: Well, I don’t really know what to say about that other than sometimes things just work out. I didn’t have to do much. I mean I called just a few times to let him know this hen was over here. Once he got close enough to see it, I mean, these decoys did the rest. He came in and put on just an absolutely beautiful show and I could have let him sit there all morning. But them jakes came in there and I thought it was about to get chaotic and, you know, you never know what’s gonna happen. So I was like, well, we’ll go ahead and kill this bird.
HEATH: I haven’t been out there to see him yet, so I guess I’m about to walk out there and see what I got.
HEATH: Golly. I’m going to tell you, for an Arkansas mountain bird, you won’t kill ‘em with that spur – here on this place – you won’t kill ‘em with a spur like that very often.
HEATH: Look at his body. I mean, he’s just beat all to pieces. He’s got feathers on his legs missing, and on his breast missing and, I mean, he is an old warrior.
GRANT: This was Heath’s best tom to date. It had an inch and 5/16 spurs, 11-1/2 inch beard and weighed 21.75 pounds.
HEATH: For this part of the world, it don’t get much better.
GRANT: Besides the trophy, that’s a lot of great, fresh meat for the Martin family.
GRANT: Heath’s hunt had a lot of lessons we all can apply no matter where we hunt. First, Heath had seen the tom in this plot a few days ago and thought he was a dominant gobbler. Based on that, he believed the tom would remain in that area.
GRANT: Heath took action and moved a blind into the plot based on those observations. I’m often asked how many days you should wait after moving a blind before hunting it. Based on my observations and conversations with great turkey hunters, it seems turkeys don’t care. They don’t consider something perfectly still a threat.
GRANT: The location where Heath moved the blind was important also. It was right where there was a food plot and a recently burned timber stand. Both provided a great food source for turkeys. And hunting in an area where turkeys frequent to feed is always a great technique.
GRANT: Another important lesson of Heath’s hunt was the height of the vegetation. By mowing a path along the food plot, turkeys could easily see the decoy for many yards away and approach and work the decoys in low vegetation.
GRANT: When feeding or strutting, turkeys prefer low vegetation as it’s much easier for them to detect predators moving in and it’s also physically much easier to strut when the vegetation is low versus pushing those wings through tall vegetation.
GRANT: Mowing or weed eating can be a great technique to create a great setup for turkey hunting.
GRANT: Harvesting a big, ‘ole tom and seeing several jakes is a great testimony to the habitat improvement work Heath and Lindsey have done throughout the years.
GRANT: Not only do we chase turkeys during the spring, it’s a great time to go fishing.
GRANT: Pro Staffer Danny Naugle has spent a lot of time fishing out of boats and from docks and he’s caught a lot of crappie and white bass.
GRANT: It’s always nice to know where your meal comes from and that it’s organic.
GRANT: My family knows the feeling of having fresh, wild meat as I was blessed to tag a nice tom opening morning of Missouri’s turkey season.
GRANT: This time of year stuff is happening quick. We’re hunting every morning and working on food plots. If you want to stay up to date, check out our social media.
GRANT: Hunting and fishing are two great ways to get outside and enjoy Creation. But no matter your schedule or where you are, it’s most important to take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.
HEATH: He’s got a pretty good beard. It’s slender. This bird’s always had a little, slender beard. I’ve had game camera pictures of this bird for actually several years now. I don’t know how old he would be. But he’s definitely mature. He’s always had a real slender beard. He’s always had real light-colored, light-colored spurs. Kind of easy to keep up with.