On Wednesday, March 21, 2012 I headed south to Florida for my first Osceola turkey hunt. Coming from Missouri it is a long 16 drive…thank goodness my husband Clint came along to keep me company.
Thursday, March 22nd, we met Nancy Jo and Richard in Montgomery, followed them to Troy, AL where we picked up Rusty Cockrell, Ladies In Camo photographer.
Six hours later, a stop at Wal-Mart to get our license and my first bag of boiled peanuts, we arrived in Crystal River. We met up with Dave Mehlenbacher with Woodland Outfitters for dinner then headed to the hotel to try to get some shut eye, 4 am would come very soon.
Friday, March 23rd, put on our camo, lace up your snake boots here we go! We drove about an hour to our hunting location, met Dave and headed to the woods. Dave, Clint and I were the first stop, where we set up our blind under a big oak tree. Nancy Jo, Richard and Rusty headed to their blind about 300 yards past us. Right after sun rise you could hear faint gobbles as the turkey came off the roost. We continued to hear gobbles, Clint and Dave were calling for me trying to get those big boys excited and come our way, but they already had some girls and didn’t want to leave them. Around 8:00, BOOOM, we heard Nancy Jo Shoot! Only one shot so we were pretty sure she had a swamp rooster down. I received a text “did she or didn’t she”, SHE DID!
Dave and I decided to venture out on foot to see if we could get close enough to a big ol tom. We went about 90 yards to a fence…there he was strutting big and proud. But, he was 80 yards out and walking further away chasing 2 girl friends. We kept moving parallel to them, but they went over a hill and were gone out of sight. I decided to set up a decoy and have Dave call to see if we could make magic happen! It happened, just behind us. As I tried to maneuver around I was spotted by a hen that quickly ran off with the other hen and tom in toe. We decided to call it a morning.
After lunch, Clint, Richard and I decided to go back out. Clint and I where set up in the blind that Nancy Jo was in earlier. Richard set up to our right in a lounger chair and a ghilley suit with the camera. Clint started calling for me. As I sat there in the middle of Florida, 1:30pm, no wind, in a blind that was hotter than a sauna, I was praying the Little Runt decoy and Clint’s soft puuurrrrrsss, would bring in a turkey soon! About an hour and 15 minutes past, I heard Richard “psst, psst”! I look to my left, then 7 turkey came around the corner. Clint started to lightly ppuuurrr, he told he wait until you have a clear shot! I had already picked out my bird, I waited for him to clear, BOOOM! Swamp rooster down! My first Osceola turkey…I could hardly hold in my excitement as Clint tried to calm the other birds, we waited for them to leave, let the party start! Then, I realized Richard was trying to get footage. Poor Richard set out there with us in the Florida heat and I was so wrapped up in the hunt I forgot all about him. Needless to say we didn’t get much footage, but I DID get the first turkey of my Grand Slam attempt for 2012. I got out of the blind went right to my bird, no he’s not the biggest bird I’ve ever got but he was part of something that not everyone can say they have done. Nancy Jo quickly received a picture of my Remington and my spent shell! The pressure was off and I was able to enjoy the rest of my stay in Florida.
I would like to give a big “Thank You” to Ladies In Camo, Dave Mehlenbacher and The Little Runt! But, most of all I would like to Thank Nancy Jo Adams, for seeing something special in me and asking me to join Ladies In Camo for this wonderful journey.
I am looking forward to crossing paths with other women along the way, those who I can teach and those I can learn from. But, most of all making lasting friendships along the way, in this thing we call the “Great Outdoors”!