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The 4x4 Grand Slammer of 2004
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Search For The Eastern

Doug Crabtree Bags his Eastern -- And the FIRST Grand Slam in 2004

Ohio on Opening Day 2004 (Monday, April 26)
Doug Crabtree was several minutes late getting to his hunting area at the same "Reclaim" that we both got Eastern's on opening day last year (that hunt was Doug's grand slam bird for 2003}. He set up 200 yards shy of our previous location. To The Hunt...

Day #1 Continued: The Hillside Gobbler
Fred Lutger and I arrived at our hunting area in Ohio after dark on May 14

May 15: Doug Crabtree and I drove to several spots and called with no response. Doug had scouted a bird he called the Hillside gobbler and we drove to its area. The gobbler was high up on the hill, the time was 8:19, the bird was 2 hours early today.
We parked at the property owner's, cut through the woods, and set up against the fence on the edge of the woods -- on an adjoining hill. We were 400 yards from the gobbler and a hen.
Doug called. He gobbled back instantly.
Without hesitation the gobbler walked to the bottom of his hill and walked through a narrow strip of trees separating the hills. We lost sight of him in the tall grass on our hill. 
Doug clucked a couple of times and did a fighting gobbler purr with his diaphragm call. The Tom's head appeared -- periscope like -- in the grass below us. 
He kept coming and took shape in the grass. He stopped 30 some yards from us and surveyed the area.
Doug did a quiet ki ki and the longbeard gobbled and started toward the fence.
Obligingly, he stopped 20 yards from us. I drew and put the bright green top pin of my Timberline bowsight on the longbeards chest and held it rock steady. 
My arrow went 3 feet to the left of the bird and he walked back downhill.
Doug wanted to check my bow and drew it. To our dismay we saw my arrow pop out of the cradle on the rest.
We waited half and hour and snuck back to the truck. (Later I adjusted the rest.)
Actually, the miss was so wide that we felt sure that the gobbler did not know what happened. We made plans to dance with him again tomorrow.

Gobble On!
Day #1 (Saturday, May 15 Contd.): Fred Lutger Gets Into Gobblers
Doug Crabtree drew Fred Lutger a map of the Pine Field and dropped him off near it. Going in Fred walked under a tree that birds were roosted in -- they spooked. That caused a nearby Tom to gobble.
Fred backed off and skirted around the bird and got on a ridge above the roosted gobbler. He set up his Double Bull blind and put out 2 hen decoys. Fred made a few light tree calls and waited.
He heard the gobbler fly down and started up the ridge, gobbling all the way.
For the next 2 hours the Tom strutted on the ridge. At 8:30 the longbeard responded to Fred's calls and got within 25 yards from Fred's blind. Fred needed 5 more yards for a shot.
The sound of workman's voices carried into the area (from behind Fred) and the bird buggared into the trees. But it stayed in the area and gobbled half an hour after the workman left.
Fred moved the blind towards him, set up and yelped twice. 
Gobble!
The longbeard was down the ridge. The gobbles got further away.
Fred started downhill to set up on it again. But he heard a closer gobble up the ridge.
Immediately Fred went uphill. When Fred reached the top of the ridge -- it was 40 yards away and Fred did not have time to set the blind up.
Fred hid in the brush and the Tom moved through, spitting and drumming. Fred saw it through the trees, but no shot was possible. Shortly after it was 12:00 and hunting time was over.

Day #2: The Hillside Gobbler -- A nice day for a Grand Slam

Doug had a plan for today and we worked it to the letter. According to Doug's scouting the Hillside Gobbler normally arrived at the hillside field around 10:00. We went to the top of the hill and set up in the dark, then we went into "waiting mode" for 4 plus hours.
At 10:05 Doug said he heard a hen. He called and a hen walked uphill to us.
Gobble!
Our Hillside longbeard announced his arrival. To The Hunt...

Fred Lutger's Search For The 3rd Eastern
Day 2, 3 & 4: On Sunday Terry Speakman went with Fred. Terry called. He talked to a gobbler after fly down and videoed 3 hens that went to the gobbler. The gobbler hung out with the hens instead of Fred. On Monday & Tuesday Fred spent hours in the blind but saw or heard no gobblers.

Day 5 - Wednesday May 19: Fred's alarm went off at 3:30 this morning. He was ready when Eden Taylor arrived to take him hunting at 4:00. It was pouring rain and they set up the Double Bull blind and set out decoys. At 9:00 the rain slowed and Eden called. There was no response and he suggested they check a field where he had seen some Toms strutting.
On the way they saw 2 Toms in an apple orchard. Eden stopped at the owners and received permission to hunt them. They set up in the woods next to the orchard and set up again.
Eden called once and they gobbled back. But they were now in a deep "holler" and didn't respond. 
They left and went to the strutter field. Another hunter was already there.
Next they drove to several other locations and called, looking for a response, but it didn't happen. At 12:00 they stopped hunting and made plans for tomorrows hunt.

Day 6 - Thursday May 20: Fred and Eden set up for the strutting Toms. They neither heard nor saw any Toms.

Day 7 - Friday May 21: Fred and Eden went to a new area this morning with the same results as yesterday. These late season hunts are tough.

Day 8 - Saturday May 22 - Bingo...
We got roosted birds, gobbles even. The Toms have NOT been gobbling anywhere. But this afternoon Fred and Eaton heard 3 gobblers and roosted them. Tomorrow may be a whole different story. I can't wait...
Morning: A ditto of yesterday.

Day 9 - Sunday May 23 - Last Day Of The Season
Fred Lutger and Eden Taylor waited half an hour in the dark. Gobble! 
More gobbles! Daylight came on and they heard 2 gobblers fly down. 
Eden called. One gobbler answered. He continued to gobble and came slowly -- eventually they saw it 40 yards away.
Suddenly a longbeard gobbler walked smack into Fred's shooting window, three steps from the blind. Eden hadn't seen it and was still calling. The Tom was staring right into the blind's windows.
A strong feature of the Double Bull blind is that everything inside is very dark. Unless you are right against a window you are very difficult to see. Fred was in the back of the blind and carefully drew his bow.
He held his pin on the longbeard's kill zone. And released.
The sight pin was on the bird, but since the arrow's actual flight is a few inches lower, it hit the seam on the bottom of the shooting window. And just as the instructions read, an L-type expandable head will deflect if it hits the fabric or netting. (Fixed blade heads are ok.) 
The arrow tumbled through the window and past the turkey.
The longbeard ran and the other gobbler joined him.
They hunted until twelve but saw no other wild turkeys.

Sponsors For The 2004 4x4 Grand Slammer
Our 4x4 Grand Slammer with the bow created excitement with several manufacturers and they stepped up to the plate to sponsor the event.

SPONSORS
- BowTech - bows
- Knight & Hale - turkey calls
- Barrie Archery - Rocky
  Mountain broadheads
- Timberline Archery - bowsights
- MyTopo.com - maps
- Double Bull - blinds
- Carter Enterprises releases
- Pro-Ears hearing
  enhancement & protection
- Fine-Line Archery peep
  sights & bowquivers
- Montana Decoys - decoys
- EASTON Archery - arrows
- Freddie Bear Sports
  Assorted bowhunting gear
- KBA Knives custom knives
- Sticks N' Limbs camouflage

OUTFITTERS:
- Wulff Cedar Creek Ranch - Rio Grandes
- Florida Wildlife Unlimited - Florida Osceolas
- Possum's Trading Post - Missouri Easterns
- Double K Guide Service Merriam's
- Fred Lutger's Wilderness Hunts Illinois
- Wells Creek Outfitters Easterns

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