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The 4x4 Grand Slammer of 2004
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4x4 Grand Slammer 

Hunt #1 - Hunt For The Osceola
(Hunt compliments of Florida Wildlife Unlimited)
 
Ken Mayes:  I want you to know that Ken Mayes was a pleasure to hunt with. Ken is an top expert on Osceola's. He has lots of farms and ranches to hunt on, so the hunting pressure is light. Ken is thoroughly familiar with all of these areas too. 
We hunted long and hard and Ken was always good to go. Our hunt was tough, once the birds hit the ground they shut up and if it wasn't for Ken's knowledge of his hunting areas we wouldn't have seen any turkeys. In a nutshell, Ken is a great guide. 


Fred Lutger, Doug Crabtree, Tony dukes & Robert Hoague in Florida

DAY #1 - March 29 - Morning - Doug & Fred Bowhunt @ Florida Wildlife Unlimited

NOTE: While Fred & Doug hunted today the 15th hunter with Florida Wildlife Unlimited got a huge Gobbler with a 11 1/2" beard. That is 15 Toms for the first 15 clients! These guys have a great Osceola area and know how to hunt them. 

Fred Lutger and Doug Crabtree began their Osceola bowhunt in an area nicknamed the Badlands. At dawn they heard a gobble and walked 800 yds along the edge of a field. When they were in the gobbler's area they put up the Double Bull blind (a Green T5 Pro Staff model) on a road bed near the edge of big woods.

Doug did two sets of yelps. The Tom gobbled back. Doug switched to cutting. The bird triple gobbled. They waited. 

Ten minutes later Doug made a plain yelp, one. A Tom answered 80 yards away. Doug clucked & purred and the Gobbler saw the decoys at 50 yards and puffed up and strutted towards the decoys. Doug quit calling.

The gobbler stopped at the decoys 10 yards away. It had inch long spurs but no beard, Doug passed. After the gobbler left they broke the blind down and returned to the truck.

Next stop was called the Tall Treestand Road Bed. They waited and listened for half an hour at the edge of a huge field. Then Doug made old hen assembly yelps. No response. 

He switched to a Ki Ki run (lost turkey). A distant Gobble... from across the field in a area called Indian Mound.

They drove half a mile to the opposite side of the field and saw a herd of wild hogs. Fred & Doug put a sneak on them. When they got close the hogs spooked. So they went inside the edge of the Indian Mound area and set up the Double Bull blind.

Doug called with clucks. Gobble! More turkey talk, back and forth as the bird came closer. Doug stopped calling. A hen walked by the blind. Fred was ready to shoot. Doug had the video running. The big Tom stopped 15 yards away. As Fred came to full draw the arrow nock sipped off his bowstring, Fred let down and re-nocked. The gobbler moved out of range before Fred could draw again. 

Doug called, loud aggressive hen yelping. He kept it up for 20 minutes, doing everything. "I even threw in the kitchen sink," he told me. The first hen came back through and crossed under a fence (15 yards from the blind). A second hen appeared and went to the fence. The Gobbler ran to it and blocked her from crossing the fence. 

Fred drew. He estimated it at 25 yards and aimed accordingly. Low! Under the gobbler.

Two hours later they broke down the blind and went to Rooster's to eat breakfast and, hopefully, change their luck.

Afternoon:  They saw 2 hens.

Day #2 - March 30 - Morning - An Osceola Longbeard
At Florida Wildlife Unlimited
Before daylight Doug and Fred sat up the Double Bull blind near a few trees on a high area on the Looney Field. At dawn they heard gobbles in the distance. Doug called for an hour and a half. Occasionally they heard far away gobbles. Suddenly a bird spit and drummed right behind the blind. Doug purred and hen yelped. It gobbled and circled left and came into view 60 yards away, strutting, a big Osceola longbeard. Doug wiggled a decoy with a string and made a few soft hen yelps. The Longbeard came to the decoys and strutted 18 yards from the blind. Doug and Fred had to shift positions in the blind so Doug could shoot. The gobbler heard them and started walking away. Doug shot and missed.

No other wild turkeys came in.

The two decided to split up for the afternoon hunt to double their chances of getting a gobbler. This afternoon Fred will hunt a cypress swamp and Doug is Indian Mound bound.

Mar 30 Afternoon - Fred hunted the "bus" area. "Never heard a bird, never saw a bird," he told me on the cell phone. Doug had the same thing happen.

AFTERNOON HUNT: 
Doug called a hen in at the Indian Mound. She yelped and clucked for half an hour. No gobblers showed all afternoon. Doug pulled the blind at quitting time and started out. He heard palmettos rumbling and grunts ... and nocked an arrow. A red wild hog came out of the palmettos, some black ones started out. Doug waited. A black hog was last. Doug tapped his foot to stop it. It did and looked toward Doug. 

Too late, Doug's arrow was on the way. It popped through the lungs and the hog whirled and charged into the palmettos. The hog crashed down in a few yards and gave a bear like death moan. Doug found his arrow and went for help to pull out the hog.

Day #3 Morning
At Florida Wildlife Unlimited
Mar 31 Morning - Doug returned to the Looney Field. A big gobbler strutted in the field but would not come over to the decoys. Fred returned to the "Bus" spot and zipped, no activity there. 

Day #3 - "I've Never Seen A Gobbler React Like That To A Decoy!"
At Florida Wildlife Unlimited
Mar 31 Afternoon - Doug dropped Fred & his dad, Doug Crabtree Sr., at Flag pond and gave them directions to the hunting spot. Doug planned to hunt another area and as he drove down the 2-track woods road through a thick palmetto patch a gobbler crossed the road. Doug continued a few hundred yards and parked his truck and returned with his stuff.

In seconds, Doug had the Double Bull blind set up 200 yards from where the bird crossed. He put a hen decoy 10 yards away but put his Montana Decoy "Tom Turkey" decoy closer, only 5 yards from the blind. Once inside the Double Bull he did 2 calls, a Cluck and Old Hen Assembly yelp.

A bird gobbled immediately. Doug waited and never made another call, he was sure the gobbler was coming. 45 minutes later 2 Longbeards walked into the road and stopped 80 yards away. They spotted the decoys and broke into a run, their thick beards swinging, and stopped 2 feet from the Montana Decoy, nose to nose. One of the gobblers blew up into a full strut, inches from the Montana Decoy. Doug took his shot at 4 yards -- a head shot -- and the Longbeard dropped in his tracks.

Doug clicked his cell phone on. He had a signal. My phone rang and, right from the blind, Doug told me what had just happened.

"I've never seen a gobbler react like that to a decoy!" Doug Crabtree was elated, "They were totally convinced the Montana Decoy was a turkey, 100%. They did not hesitate, they raced in, ran past my hen and stopped nose to nose with the Montana Decoy gobbler. One went into full strut and the other stood up tall."

Doug Crabtree just arrowed the first bird on the 4x4 Grand Slammer trail, A Florida Osceola,  20 pounds, 1 1/8" spurs, and a 10 inch beard.

(Here is a pic of the Montana Decoy "Tom Turkey" decoy. )

FRED LUTGER'S AFTERNOON HUNT:
The first gobble was late afternoon. Doug Crabtree Sr. sweet talked the gobbler into the field by the Flag pond. The Tom moved toward them. And 40 yards away it flew up. After dark the two hunters slipped silently away, leaving the blind up for the morning.

Day #4 Morning - The 40 yard gobbler
At Florida Wildlife Unlimited
Fred's Hunt - Fred & Doug were back in the flag pond blind well before daylight. Daylight broke. 4 other birds gobbled, but not the Tom that roosted 40 yards away yesterday. Doug waited for good enough light for the gobbler to see to fly down and made a soft tree yelp.
The roosted Tom gobbled 4 times. When he hit the ground Doug started calling. Woops, a hen came into the field and ran straight to the gobbler. She squatted down and he bred her. When she left the Gobbler circled toward the hunters position.
The longbeard ducked under a nearby fence and came up to 15 yards from the blind. Fred drew. The Tom stopped and there was a log in the way. Fred held. Eventually he had to let down. The Tom left gobbling, headed west.
Doug said, "We'll get him tonight, let him go." And they left.

Day #4 Continued - Fred's Last Hunt ...
At Florida Wildlife Unlimited
They stopped and called at two locations before they reached the Indian Mound. Once there, Doug called. A Tom gobbled in the distance.
They grabbed the blind and hurried 200 yards and set the blind and decoys up in a bend in a road bed bordered with palmettos. By the time they were ready the Tom was gobbling regularly 400 yards away.
Doug called. The gobbling stopped. 
So Doug game the gobbler his no holds barred, down and dirty, "Victoria Secret" calls. No response! 
But Doug felt the gobbler was coming. They waited. In 5 minutes the bird gobbled 100 yards from them. They saw him in adjacent pasture coming up the fence.
Doug yelped. The longbeard gobbled and ran right at them. He stooped at 25 yards, looking the decoys over. Fred knew it was a shot he could make. Doug zoomed the video camera to the Tom. It turned broadside. Fred's shot dropped the longbeard it's tracks.

At this moment, both Fred and Doug have completed the first leg of the grand slam, the Osceola. (Fred's is a 20 ponder with a 10 inch beard and 1" spurs.) A very nice bird.


Fred Lutger & Doug Crabtree with their Osceola longbeards in
their search for the 4x4 Grand Slam.

Day #1, 2 & 3 - Tony & Robert's Hunt ...
At Florida Wildlife Unlimited

At dawn Doug Crabtree Sr., Cindi Colon, Tony Dukes and I sat in the truck watching the pouring rain. Half an hour later we opted for breakfast at Roosters. The rain finally stopped and we went to the Badlands. Doug worked a gobbler over but it wouldn't come in close enough. We did a lot of walking and had a good time visiting. Our afternoon outing got rained out. 
Next day - I returned to the Badlands and saw a bunch of wild hogs. No turkeys. Ditto with Tony at the Indian Mound. At noon we hooked up with Ken Mayes of Florida Wildlife Unlimited and he took us out. My Double Bull blind melted into the palmettos on the edge of a field. The wind blew terribly hard and both Tony & I zipped.
Day #3 - Morning:  Ken Mayes took us to the Grove
Several birds gobbled at dawn and then shut up. I saw 2 hens, a single hen in an adjacent field. 5 gobblers were next. I called with a Knight & Hale screaming hen mouth call and a longbeard responded and started towards me. Woops, a bunch of cows trotted out into the field and the other gobblers moved briskly away. The Tom I had working turned and ran after them. 
A cow soon investigated my hen decoy and started licking it. Then another one stuck his nose in my blind. Frankly, from hunting on cattle ranches for years, I have a lot of pent up aggression against cows, they have ruined lots of hunts for me. 
I saw an opportunity and acted immediately. I punched the big sucker in the nose. It's pretty hard to knock down a 1,200 pound animal and, of course, unfortunately I didn't. But I did back it out of the window and then take it's picture as it stood there slobbering.
Afternoon - Ken took us to the Barefoot farm. If possible, the wind blew harder than yesterday. I saw 2 hens and 6 large wild hogs. Plus, walking in I glassed 4 alligators sunning 40 yards away by a pond. Tony zipped.

Day #4 & 5 - Tony's Birthday Hunt & the "Helicopter" Gobbler
 At Florida Wildlife Unlimited
Day 4 - Today is Tony Duke's birthday, he set up in the Grove again. Heard gobbles and hen flew down near the blind. At 9:00 he had 5 longbeards coming to his calling. Incredibly, a buzzard landed by Tony's decoys. He kept calling and more buzzards landed. 
The gobblers stopped at 40 yards. The blind was surrounded by buzzards and they would not let the turkey come closer. Tony videoed them and the gobblers to show us what had happened.
Thinking quickly, he threw an orange at a buzzard and they all flew off. Two hens came to the gobblers and distracted the gobblers. Tony purred and one stepped into the clear in an open row. Tony aimed high and shot. A few feathers flew but the shot was a miss.
He returned that afternoon. At 3:00 Tony noticed a bobcat stalking his decoys. An hour later he coaxed in 2 gobblers and a bearded hen. They came in to 15 yards but the low hanging branches of the orange trees were in the way.
Later Tony saw several gobblers going to roost and he decided to move the blind in the morning.
Day 5 - At 9:30 Tony purred in a giant gobbler with a 12 inch beard. It came close but no shot was possible. Afterward Tony moved the blind 100 yards. 
At 3:00 Tony experimented with his calls. Suddenly he saw a large Tom coming in. Tony drew his bow and just as he put the pin on the gobbler his chair collapsed, broken. 
In 45 minutes two gobblers walked toward him in the next orange row. He drew his BowTech bow and make a high pitched chirp to stop the birds. He aimed and released on the second bird. The arrow hit the gobbler and it flew straight up for 15 feet and then gave out and fell like "a shot down helicopter".
Tony recovered the gobbler. The shot had been high but the wide cut of the Rocky Mountain Assassin cut it's windpipe and put it down.
Tony folded up his Double Bull blind, picked up his gobbler and went to the meeting place to wait for us. When we arrived he told us about the chair breaking, but I know this guy pretty good and saw through it. I clicked on my flashlight to look for the bird he had hidden.
As I took his picture Tony said, "The grand slam originally seemed impossible but now it may actually happen." 

Tony Dukes with his Osceola - his second in his quest for his Grand Slam.

End Of The Osceola Hunt
Ken Mayes and I hunted very hard the next 2 1/2 days. 
Mid afternoon on Day #5 we set up in a old roadbed connecting two fields. Two longbeards came through and I misjudged the yardage and shot over one. On day #7 we were in an orange grove and at roost time a huge bomber gobbler walked into our grove lane 80 yards away. Ken called and the bomber started towards us.
A second longbeard appeared and it wasn't interested, it wanted to go to roost and walked on. The bomber stopped coming just out of bow range and joined his compadre. But he stopped in the next row, I figured the distance for 30 plus yards and got off a shot. Again, I overestimated the yardage and the arrow was high. The last morning 2 longbeards and a bomber walked up 10 yards behind our blind. They were going to walk right by us. 
We had an opposite window open and I closed it. The bomber putted and the birds spread out.
Today Ken had my range finder and he put it on the only bird I could shoot -- 46 yards. Too far, and I passed. A few hours later we returned to camp and left to hunt Merriam's with Dave Keiser at Double K Guide Service in Gregory, South Dakota.
My Osceola hunt is over. Fred, Tony & Doug all have their Osceola's but it just wasn't in the cards for me to get one.

Back To Florida ...
Apr 23 at 9:46am - I'm at the Detroit airport updating from the Online Cafe. Ken Mayes of Florida Wildlife Unlimited will meet me in Sarasota, Florida and we'll get some huntin' done. Sunday is the last day of the Osceola season.Last Chance Osceola

Apr 23 at 7:46pm - At 1:08pm Ken Mayes of Florida Wildlife Unlimited picked me up at the Sarasota, Florida airport. We ate a fast lunch and drove to one of Ken's nearby properties and went to a clearing and set up Ken's Double Bull blind on the edge of the woods. I'd been up since 3:00am and was tired so at 4:15 I told Ken I was going to take a short nap (That's another good thing about the Double Bull blind, it's big enough to spread out for a nap.) I quickly dozed off.
"5 gobblers!"
I heard Ken's words and instantly I was awake.
"They are close," he added.
Quietly, I raised up on my knees and got my bow. Ken pointed to a shooting window. Two gobblers were in it about 10 yards away. But they passed through before I could shoot.
I shifted and saw 2 other birds in the clearing. I looked at Ken with an expression that asked, "How far?"
He already put the rangefinder's cross hairs on the lead bird, "24," he whispered.
I put my top pin between the bird's legs and moved it up into the body. The green fiber optic dot of the Timberline bowsight held stone still for an instant.
My arrow hit the gobbler right where I had aimed. The bird took a few steps and dropped. Two jakes investigated the downed bird and pecked at him. Before long they left. 
Ken grinned real big and I took his picture. He had also worked hard for this. It was neat, he wanted me to get the Osceola for the Grand Slam as bad as I did. And my bird brought the Florida Wildlife Unlimited wild turkey hunter/kill percentage to 100%, 22 out of 22, for the 2004 season.

I want to give another credit where it is due ... to BowTech: Ordinarily when I set up a bow my top pin will reach out to 18-20 yards, so I feel confident out to that range. But my BowTech Justice is right on out to 25 plus yards. It reached out and touched 'em when I needed it. BowTech advertisement says, "Taking the arch out of archery." And they do. Thank you BowTech.
 
 

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

To Contact the Outfitter
For This Hunt::

Florida Wildlife Unlimited 

Ken Mayes
PO Box 2523
Wauchula, Florida  33873
863-781-1334
863-781-1332
or 863-781-1331
Email:
florwildunl@yahoo.com

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