We traveled to Florida, got our first turkey of the year, an Osceola, on opening day and now it’s the third day of our hunt, having taken the second day off to rest.
We have moved from East Palatka to Archer, about 60 miles southwest. Our morning hunt gave us the insight on how we were going to hunt that afternoon and the next morning. There were jakes and hens everywhere you looked, but not a longbeard in sight. But remember, where there are hens there will be longbeards. To the bunkhouse for a good night of sleep as 5 a.m. comes early.
Around midnight I heard the awful moans of coyotes, at least a dozen or more. Mental note: Tell my outfitter she needs to have a predator hunter come in and do his job. I slept like I had crossed the Silent River, then the alarm went off. Time for me to get my day started.
I left the bunkhouse at 6 a.m. for my 15-minute trip to my blind. At 7, I hit a call made for me by my friend Gene Blackshire, a call maker from Charleston, W.Va., and got a response within a second.
Words of wisdom from me to you at this point: Don’t hunt off the shelf. Find yourself a good call maker and work with him to get the sound you want. Gene Blackshire has made my calls for years. I always use his product or a box call made by my friend Tommy Helper of Rogersville, Tenn. I kill a lot of turkeys. These guys help me get it done.
I heard the turkeys fly down. Then came two big longbeards to my calls and decoys. By 7:30 a.m., much like the first day of season, it was game over. Also like my first-day turkey, this one was a two-year-old bird with a 9-inch beard, three-quarter spurs, and weighed 20 pounds
So far we have enjoyed the thrill of victory. Learn how it turns into the agony of defeat next week as we conclude our Florida trip.