Florida

hoyt85

Spike
Figured with all the mess that's going on maybe yaw boys would like a little story. Maybe it'll help take your mind off of a few things for a while. I've never been a big poster to any forum, although i frequent several. Figured maybe i outta try and contribute a little seeing as how i enjoy reading other folks stories.

I find it interesting how i live in a simple bubble filled with ignorant bliss for what's going on in society and the outside world we live in when i'm turkey hunting. However, i wouldn't want it any other way. Life is much more appealing to me that way.

i hunted Mississippi opening weekend and was lucky enough to run across some good fortune while i was there. I Ended up killing two in two days. Florida has always been in the back of my mind for the last several years but to be honest it's never been a state that was very appealing to me. I hate a snake and they've got plenty, not to mention gators and what not. The appeal of a career grand slam or a single season slam has never been a huge goal of mine although i always felt like i would do it at some point. I know a few guys that have their entire springs mapped out in January and although planning ahead is good, I've found enough success by having a general outline and being flexible, rather than being tied down to a schedule. Luckily my job allows me to do that, some aren't as lucky,

On the way home from Mississippi my wheels got to turning and i figured I'd give Florida a go. I had an open weekend and had the time so i pointed the truck south Thursday night. Pulled out of the driveway around 8:30 pm and arrived at my destination after an all night drive around 6:am. Stopped by the store, fueled up the truck, grabbed a big coffee and was looking forward to my first sunrise in Florida, hoping with it would bring my first Osceola gobble. The sunrise didn't let me down and neither did the turkey's. I was able to locate a few on the limb and made note of there location. I planned on revisiting the areas later in the day to get a true feel of the area and put boots on the ground. I checked on some other areas without much luck, cut a few tracks and realized fairly quickly that i had a lot to learn in a short amount of time if I was to be successful. After a bunch of miles sunset was fast approaching and the woods were silent. Neither myself or the owls could entice a lonely gobble from the swamps before darkness fell. So i relied solely on the information i had acquired earlier in the day shortly after daylight,

Day 1

The gates open at 5 am. Luckily i guessed right for a good start time and found myself toward the front of the pack with most of the field looking at my tail lights. I can't lie, i felt like it was the last lap of Talladega and i was giving it all i could. There were 5 trucks in front of me, one of which was a friend, All i could see were his tail lights through the dust. If anyone checked up the whole field was gonna wreck. We watched one by one as they peeled off to their locations leaving he and I running up front smiling. We knew we were going to get our spots we had hoped to get. We had chosen a fairly big block i had heard two birds in, luckily one was on the east side and the other on the west. We drew a line in the sand and decided neither would cross the boundary. Before daylight came i had a run in with a local that didn't like that he had gotten beat. We had a conversation and he reluctantly went on to a different area. The bird i was hoping to hear was a good bit deeper than the day before, I made a mad dash through the swamp and cut as much distance as fast as i could. By the time i got to him he was already on the ground, I inched closer and closer until i could finally hear drumming through the thick swamp. I finally found a decent set up and he gobbled one more time at an owl, I had a pretty good bead on him and about that time two shots rang out and i could hear a few pellets go down through the swamp. I still don't know where or how that fella got in there on the backside but he did somehow. After a while the turkey gobbled again and hunter started calling, That was the first time i had heard him make any noise related to a turkey at all, as far as i knew i was the only one on that bird, Maybe he didn't hear me calling? i dunno, Either way i backed out and let him have it. I returned later that afternoon to try and get a better feel for the area. I approached it from the only logical way i thought someone else would come in. After an 8 mile loop all i can say is that fella must know that swamp like the back of his hand cuz i had a helluva time in the daylight, much less trying to do it under the cover of darkness. That was pretty much the highlight of day one. Covered a lot of ground with no response, only a few sparse tracks here and there. Just before sundown i abandoned the area and made a mad dash to a spot i had marked on the map. The good Lord smiled upon me not long after hiking back down a sandy road bed as fast as i could as i caught the glimpse of two longbeards and one hen crossing heading to roost. I marked them on my map and headed back to camp. I was relieved to have put eyes on not only one, but two longbeards. However, the anticipation and anxiety of what would lie ahead well before sunrise had me a little concerned if I could pull this off,

Day 2

After the initial drop of the green flag i eventually found myself all alone on a dusty sandy road headed for parts no one else seemed to be interested in, luckily. I was set up and waiting for daylight by 6 am. Birds had been gobbling right around 7 am or so. I sat quietly in the dark enjoying the moment and thankful to be able to see one more sunrise. As i sat there waiting on daylight i catch the unmistakable glimpse of a headlight coming down the trail toward me at 6:45. I was a little pissy. Not for the fact of someone walking in on me but just the fact that they were shining lights when no light was needed to be able to see at that time. I also knew that the birds may be within eye sight of said lights and it was withing 10 to 15 minutes i expected one to cut loose. I got up and expected to have a heated discussion but it went very well. He apologized for coming in on me and we made a gentleman's agreement to uses a certain road as a barrier between the two of us. We wished each other luck and he went on his way. I calmed down and waited patiently,,,,,,7:00, nothing,,,,,,,,7:05, nothing,,,,,,7:07 i hoot and a bird gobbles right where i hoped he would. A few more gobbles and the other one finally chimes in. They’re about 200 yds from me. I would have liked to have been closer but i felt like i was already where they were going to be not long after pitching down. I give him a few tree yelps and he hammers back along with their lone hen. She's between myself and them but only about 100 yards, best i could tell. He gobbled maybe 10-12 times and then went quiet, His next gobble was on the ground closer to the last place i heard the hen call from.......I held my ground. Eventually I started to hear drumming from the distance, I strained my eyes with all i had until i finally caught the glimpse of his red and white head through the palmettos. He was probably 60 yards at this point walking straight to me. Next glimpse revealed a good beard and i tightened up on the gun. As they always seem to do he kept enough crap between myself and him that i couldn't ever get a clear shot. Finally i catch a glimpse of the hen and the other longbeard bringing up the rear. I can't see the first one that I'm focused on but i hear him spit n drum and he's close. Finally he breaks out behind the palmettos and he's inside of 20 yards, I make one more quick adjustment when his head goes behind a tree. When he comes out i cut at him to raise his head. The shot was true and i was able to collect my first Osceola and completed my first grand slam all on public land. A dream and a goal from a long time ago was finally complete and brought to reality, The walk out was a little bitter sweet, It's always nice to set a goal. You work so hard to put yourself in the right place to achieve success, when it happens it's an awesome feeling. All the planning, stressing, anxiety, the unknowns, the what ifs, all add up over time. There's a certain part of it all that drives me and I embrace those feelings now. A couple short years ago I wouldn't have gotten in a truck on a whim, drove all night to make it by daylight. Now i'll do it at the drop of a hat, even if it's just for a long weekend. The ole saying "you can't kill em from the couch" has never been more true,

We can all come up with reasons why not to do something. Try to find the reasons why you should and focus on those. It's springtime boys, go chase your dreams. We only get so many sunrises. Don't say i'll do it next year, do it this year,

Yaw go chase your dreams!

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oldest school

Old Mossy Horns
Thank You.
You do a great job in describing a hunt.
Great job in handling other hunters on PL as well.
Congratulations on the Slam.
Keep us posted as you continue your hunts. Please.
 

Helium

Twelve Pointer
Congrats!!! And keep chasing those dreams.... if we are all honest the “chasing a dream” is the best part and I think truthfully the chase is really the dream in and of itself
 

Eric Revo

Old Mossy Horns
Contributor
Well done all the way around. Those locals can be a bit redneck down there..LOLOL.. Especially if you were anywhere near Perry, Chiefland or Kissimmee .
 
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