Sunshine State Gobblers
For my first turkey hunt of the season I started out in Florida hunting Osceola’s. Typically when you think of the sunshine state, you’d assume it would be warm and sunny – not this trip. Apparently, I brought the cold Minnesota weather right along with me. The first day we had extremely cold conditions and the rain never quit. To top things off, the wind picked up making it nearly impossible to hear a gobble or try calling a bird in. So instead of getting upset and calling it quits on the hunt, we stuck it out through the wind, rain and cold. We were trying to use our decoys as much as possible and would strategically place them on mowed paths in hopes that even if the turkeys couldn’t hear us calling, they could at least see our decoys and hopefully come in for a look.
After battling through the nasty weather for several days, we finally had an afternoon of sunshine and it made all the difference in the world! Turkeys were finally out in fields strutting and most importantly, up and moving.
We spotted a gobbler in the middle of an open field on our last afternoon and decided to give it a shot. Although the turkeys were in the middle of a green field, there was plenty of shaded timber around the edge of the field that we used to our advantage. Once we got inside of 200-yards, we slipped a hen decoy out in front of us about 15-yards outside the timber line. We set up in the shade and after a few soft calls it was the hen that decided to come running in. She closed the distance to a whopping 15-yards! It’s not everyday this happens, but there was no denying that the gobbler was sure to follow. As the hen came into the decoy, he stopped short at 40-yards. I wasn’t sure if he was going to keep coming in and was worried that the hen may bust us. With the long-range capability of my setup it didn’t take long for me to decide to squeeze the trigger.
Shooting the Winchester Longbeard XR in 3 1/2 inch 5 shot, 40 yards was well within range. The big tom dropped in his tracks and I got an added surprise as we walked up on him! Not only did he have huge spurs, but he also had a triple beard! This is proof that even when you don’t get the perfect weather conditions, your hunt can still be successful. Simply try a variety of tactics and make the best out of the weather at hand.
Melissa Bachman is an incredibly hardcore and intense hunter – perhaps one of the more passionate hunters you will ever meet.