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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeBusiness & CommunityOne For The Books

One For The Books

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Had a pretty fair opening week of turkey season. Due to some personal issues plaguing me, I’ve had to become pretty creative as to how I’m getting in the woods, but my clients are enjoying some great hunting! My first hunters flew in from Indiana and had four jakes parading in front of them on the western edge of the county, but my next client, who drove down from Ohio, had an especially good trip as he got to tote a monster gobbler back north with him.

I moved to the eastern edge of the county along the Withlacoochee corridor. We’d had some pretty foul weather over the weekend, but Monday morning dawned bright and sunny, albeit cold. I expected the turkeys to take advantage of a small cow pasture nearby to fly down and strut in the sun until warming up before entering the woods where I’d set my hunter up. Sure enough, the turkeys were on script, and shortly after fly-down, we began hearing gobbles calling back after each series of calls Chris tossed their way.

By nine that morning, the big strutter warmed up and came in search of the hot hen he’d been hearing from the woods, and the closer he came, the more he’d gobble. He stopped to strut while still about eighty yards away and stood his ground out of range, drumming, and gobbling. Then he spotted the decoy my client and friend Chris had brought with him. The decoy was a Struttin360 decoy, a full strut gobbler on a portable base that provides movement to the decoy imitating a real gobbler in strut.

Seeing what he thought was a gobbler competing for breeding rights and the old boy just couldn’t stand it any longer. He broke strut and began stomping in to whip his competitor’s tailfeathers off, but he never got the opportunity as Chris’s 20 gauge sent an angry swarm of tungsten steel shot towards him as an invitation to ride home to Ohio. Immediately, Chris pulled up the Hunting App on his phone to report the harvest, which is state law, do not forget to check them birds in before removing them from the site of the hunt.

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I’m looking forward to sharing a few more success stories as the season progresses. Chris’s bird was a tremendous trophy, scoring high on the trophy scale of the National Wild Turkey Federation, but I’ve several others just as good on other properties all across the county. Toms are really on fire for the hens, and anybody lucky enough to have time to get in the woods stands a chance of witnessing some of the most beautiful courtships in the animal kingdom. The Osceolas are, in my opinion, the most beautiful of each of the six subspecies of wild turkey, and they really put on a wonderful display of dance and color to show the hens who’s the most desirable to pass along a little DNA.

As always, I’d love to hear about your own outdoor adventures and maybe see a photo or two of your successes at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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