From the Woods-April 6

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The spring turkey hunting season is in the middle or latter stages in some Southern states, while the seasons are just opening up as you move north.  The reports are flowing in from “our eyes and ears in the field” as more gobblers continue to flop.  Check out this weeks’ “From the Woods” feature, with reports from Josh Grossenbacher, Mike Tussey, and the Butterball Invitational!

Josh Grossenbacher, Zink Calls, Port Clinton, Ohio
South East Georgia, March 24-26

“The weekend of March 24-26 I was fortunate to get to hunt down south in the mosquito-filled swamps and pines of SE Georgia. The locals said they haven't seen “skeeters” like this in years! There were four of us hunting altogether and we were able to take six longbeards. The conditions were tough; the temps were reaching into the mid 80's everyday and the turkeys weren't gobbling much.  The tactics used to harvest these gobblers were long sits in the mornings and evenings with the Avian X decoys mixed with some soft calling. It seemed every time we took this route, it was just a matter of time before something was coming to investigate whether it was hens, jakes or longbeards.  We tried running and gunning, but this tactic did not work at all as the gobblers were not responding to anything.  When you are faced with conditions like this,  you just have to keep trying until you figure out what’s going to work.”

Mike Tussey, Osceola Outdoors, Okeechobee, Florida

“The Osceola turkey season got off to a fast and furious start as four longbeards fell opening day on opening day.  The gobbling was not as good as it had been the previous week, a tell-tale sign of birds becoming henned up.  Opening day birds averaged close to 18 lbs and 10” beards, but the spurs were not typical of opening day, with 1 1/8” being the average.  A great hatch in 2010 has resulted in an abundance of two year old gobblers, and another great hatch last year has produced an outstanding crop of Jakes.

Country music singer Craig Morgan came in for the first week of the season and filmed for his TV show “Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors.”  Craig was successful after we had roosted a bird the previous night and went back in the next morning to have a 20 lb Osceola come running up to the Dave Smith Decoys. Craig’s bird sported 1 ¼” spurs and a 10 ½” beard.  Craig also smacked a 10ft 7 inch gator while he was here!

As the opening week went on, things became a little tougher. The gobblers collected their harems and reacted to calling less, and more and more jakes started showing up to our setups, which created another obstacle.  Jakes were now starting to bully any lone gobbler that was coming into the decoys. Longer sits were now common but yet very successful as we ended the first ten days of the season going 16 for 16!

 Temperatures are now rising along with the longbeard count.  The third and fourth weeks of the season have resulted in another ten Osceola’s taking a dirt nap on the South Florida sand! The final week of the season brings a challenge, as we have eight more hunters in camp representing some of the best outdoor writers in the industry along with representatives from Hornady and Benelli USA.   We are looking forward to seeing some more feathers fly and Osceola’s riding back to the camp in our trucks!

Butterball Invitational-March 31, southwest Alabama

The WTR Staff was among the 25 two-man teams taking part in the annual Butterball Invitational, a one day turkey hunting tournament held in southwest Alabama.  Each team hunted their own property in the area and was required return to the base camp in Hybart (Monroe County) by a designated time if they harvested a gobbler.  Inclement and warm weather affected all of the teams, and the overall success was down somewhat, as only five longbeards were harvested on the hunt.   Many hunters that had close encounters reported that hens were still with the gobblers, and gobblers were beginning to wise up somewhat after two full weeks of hunting pressure.  

The winning team was the duo of Corbett Proctor from Tallahassee, Florida and Baker McConnell of Mobile, Alabama.  They were hunting near Monroeville and killed a solid three year old gobbler that they said gobbled great and put on a show.  Proctor is the son of Brian Proctor, who contributes photos to Wild Turkey Report.
Author:
Wild Turkey Report Staff
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