Turkey Hunting: Dead Turkey Mystery – Predator or Poacher? (Episode 75 Transcript)

This is the video transcript. To watch the video for this episode click here.

GRANT: It’s April 25th and if you’ve watched the news recently, you’ve probably saw reports about a lot of rain in the Midwest. And that’s why we’re inside today. Now, I really prefer being in the field, but we’ve had over 10 inches of rain locally and a couple more days of rain predicted. So, let’s bring you up to speed and thanks for watching GrowingDeer.tv.

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GRANT: Last week, before the rains really started getting intense, Brad and I went out hunting one morning, and we, we got a late start, due to some other stuff going on.

GRANT: And as we’re coming back down the mountain, there was what no hunter or landowner wants to see, unless they were sitting there. It was a wad of turkey feathers all up and down the road.

GRANT: When Brad and I first rounded the corner after hunting up on the mountain, I had assumed, right off the bat, there’d been a trespasser in here. And I was gonna get a rope and have a hanging. Just teasing. But the feathers are spread 30 or 40 yards, and that would be way more than normal for a shotgun to remove that many feathers from a turkey. Now, turkeys don’t have much blood in ‘em. That’s the way they were created, ‘cause blood is heavy, and of course, turkeys fly, so you don’t find much blood from a turkey shot. But I found a spot of blood about the size of your hand, or so, all combined. Brad and I quickly started cutting circles, and sure enough, Brad noticed where there were some feathers going up in the woods and slight blood trailing where we’re going – patch of feather to patch of feathers. Now, it wasn’t just a string of them. There’d be a spot of feathers the size of a pickup or smaller and no feathers for 20 or 30 yards. And we kept that pattern going about 100 yards up in the woods.

GRANT: This is, obviously, a point of some consumption. I don’t know about the terminal point, ‘cause there’s a few feathers taken off, but you know just confirming he’s a gobbler. He’d been strutting. You can always tell when these long flight feathers are just worn off the same. That’s when they’re walking, like I call a Volkswagen with the doors open, strutting. They wear those off, this time of year. Of course, turkeys shed their feathers, or molt, and they will be replaced. And this is where two breasts would’ve been. This is the breast bone coming up through here, and pelvic back here, and the legs, and I can see chew marks. You know I would’ve thought chew marks all through here and some big fang marks right here, about an inch apart.

GRANT: It’s always upsetting, when you find a carcass like that and you don’t know whether it was a trespasser or a predator kill. Now, predator kills are part of time. They’ve always occurred. That’s just part of the system out there. But poachers, I’m not very accepting of. It’s always important to distinguish between a hunter and someone who sneaks in and steals game from a landowner and that family. That’s a poacher and they should be dealt with severely to keep hunting in a good name and a good light. You know, when poaching makes news or it’s in popular magazines, that gives all hunters a bad name ‘cause it’s not separated out from a legal, law abiding sportsman. If this was a poacher, we’ll catch him on cameras or something, and we’ll deal with that later. But it was an upsetting event. Fortunately, we had a better hunt later in the week.

GRANT: (Whispering) It’s about 11:30. We’re hearing a few birds gobble off in a distance, but none right here. Season in Missouri ends at 1:00. So, we’re gonna do some pretty aggressive calling, see if we can’t get a bird. We’re on a ridge top. They, usually, like to go to ridge tops after a rain, it seems.

GRANT: And it’s so critical. People don’t think their rangefinder turkey hunting, but especially, if you’re huntin’ in a blind. Get you a couple markers out there and you’ll know where your gun is. I got my gun patterned to 50 yards, so I’m dead on 50, 51/2 yards, so…

GRANT: (Whispering) Way out there somewhere…wasn’t paying attention to us.

GRANT: Now, in Missouri, season ends every day at 1:00 P.M. This is an old rule that’s not likely going to change and everyone accepts it and abides by it. I happened to look at my watch at about 12:40 and I tell Thomas, “Boy, if there’s a bird close, we need him to make an appearance.” And I do some pretty hard cutting on the old Derby City call, just to try to get anyone close by excited and come on in that field.

GRANT: Sure enough, at 12:51, you hear one of those rock star gobbles. Just blows us out of the blind. We don’t see it, but it’s very close to the field. And Thomas and I are instantly scrambling to get our face masks on; get the camera on; get the gun in the right direction; ‘cause we’re in the game at 12:51 with nine minutes to go.

GRANT: (Whispering) That’s it. That’s it. Come on. Watch that hand. I got to get my gun. Be sharp on your focus. He’s coming in.

GRANT: (Whispering) That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

GRANT: (Whispering) Let’s see what time it is.

GRANT: (Whispering) It’s too close to 1:00 o’clock for him to cut the distance, so we’re just gonna let him walk off.

GRANT: The clock catches us and it’s 1:00 o’clock. We certainly don’t call or do anything after that. A: It would be illegal, and B: I don’t want the bird coming up there and getting familiar with the blind, or seeing movement, or getting spooked, because he’ll be back in that strut zone another day for me, or another hunter – one of my guests.

GRANT: (Whispering) We’re unloaded.

GRANT: So, I take the shell out of the gun and we have a great show of just watching that turkey strut and stick his whole head out and gobble, and do all the behavior. And we know where his strut zone is now. Although I absolutely love hunting The Proving Grounds, they’re calling for inches more of rain – not just a few showers passing through. Where I hunt in Kansas is right above the storm. They’re getting a few showers – nothing big. The creeks aren’t out of the bank. May jump over there for a couple of days of great Kansas hunting. Let the birds calm down, let the flood get over here at The Proving Grounds and be back. I hope the conditions are great for turkey hunting at your Proving Grounds. Thank you, as always, for watching GrowingDeer.tv.