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#1 - Hunt For The Osceola
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
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
Lutger, Doug Crabtree, Tony dukes & Robert Hoague in Florida
- March 29 - Morning - Doug & Fred Bowhunt @ Florida Wildlife Unlimited
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.
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
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
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
saw 2 hens.
- March 30 - Morning - An Osceola Longbeard
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
No other wild turkeys came
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
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.
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
Day #3 Morning
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!"
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.
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.
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.
clicked his cell phone on. He had a signal. My phone rang and, right from
the blind, Doug told me what had just happened.
never seen a gobbler react like that to a decoy!" Doug Crabtree was elated,
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
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.
is a pic of the Montana Decoy "Tom
Turkey" decoy. )
LUTGER'S AFTERNOON HUNT:
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
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.
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
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.
said, "We'll get him tonight, let him go." And they left.
Day #4 Continued
- Fred's Last Hunt ...
stopped and called at two locations before they reached the Indian Mound.
there, Doug called. A Tom gobbled in the distance.
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.
called. The gobbling stopped.
Doug game the gobbler his no holds barred, down and dirty, "Victoria Secret"
calls. No response!
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
#3 - Morning: Ken Mayes took us to the Grove.
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.
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.
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
picture as it stood there slobbering.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tony saw several gobblers going to roost and he decided to move the blind
in the morning.
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
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
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".
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.
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.
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
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
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.
To Florida ...
Apr 23 at 9:46am
- I'm at the Detroit airport updating from the Online Cafe. Ken Mayes of
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
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
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
I shifted and saw 2 other
birds in the clearing. I looked at Ken with an expression that asked, "How
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
the downed bird and pecked at him. Before long they left.
Ken grinned real big and
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.
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.
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.