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  1. 15 points
    I just don’t worry about them. Come across them all the time too. They usually want less to do with you than you do with them. Most of them get a free pass, but when i come across a hyper aggressive one they usually get taken out of the gene pool.
  2. 13 points
    This bird out played us yesterday morning. We put him to bed last night and went at it again this morning. He was hot and gobbling. Flew down and few more calls sucked him in to Dylan. 20 yd shot. We have 3 more years with Dylan as a junior hunt. Get your kids out there.
  3. 11 points
    Rewind to early December of 2018. My phone rings and I get a call from Justin Watts, our regional director of the NWTF. He called to inform me that Draysen's entry into the NWTF's JAKE'S National Essay Contest had won, and that he and a chaperone would be going, all expenses paid, to the NWTF convention in Nashville and to El Dorado, Kansas in April where he would attend and participate in the Kansas Governor's One Shot Turkey Hunt/Competition. Rather than go on for paragraphs and paragraphs about all the lead-up, the convention, etc. (which I believe I posted about previously) I will jump to this past week. We got up about 2:00 AM this past Wednesday morning to head to the airport only to receive reports about potential problems with our Dallas connection on to Wichita. Fortunately, we were a little ahead of the worst weather, and despite some bumpy flights met up with Pat Post in Wichita just a little before noon. Pat and his wife Janet, the director of the Kansas Governor's One Shot Turkey Hunt, have been in volved with it for the past 32 of it's 33 years. Talk about great people!!! We had met and spent time with them while at the convention in Nashville, and enjoyed getting reacquainted on our drive to El Dorado. The Kansas Governor's One Shot Turkey Hunt is a by invitation only event. It is largely made up of leaders of industry, celebrities, pro athletes, a handful of "hunting hero" vets, a few Kansas youth hunters, and of course our Draysen. Each of the 78 hunter participants is pre-paired up with a mentor-guide for the experience. Lucky for us, the JAKE'S essay winner gets one of the best, Melinda Duff. Melinda helps maintain a very special piece of property owned by the Raymond Criss family. Many people told us that this property may be one of the finest pieces of turkey property in all of Kansas. Having spent two days on it, I am inclined to agree. Sadly, the owner, Raymond, passed away in a tractor accident a few years ago. Raymond was one of the founders the Governor's One Shot Turkey Hunt 33 years ago, and was a major part of the JAKE'S essay winners inclusion into the event. As a memorial, the family spread his ashes on the top of a hill in probably the most prime spot of their 400 acre property and have designated this as a spot to only ever be hunted by the JAKE'S winner. Not even family and friends are permitted to hunt to spot. I don't have the words to express how humbled and honored Draysen and I were to be there. The first afternoon was spent getting checked in, getting Draysen's licenses and tags, passing Melinda's shotgun shooting test she implemented a couple of years ago. She has a special name for the test, but I probably shouldn't mention it publicly 😉. During the shotgun test, we had a BIG Tom come into the field across the property line to watch us while strutting across the field. That really got the excitement going. We then had a get together social with all the other hunters. We finally we hit the sack about 10:00 PM exhausted, but super anxious. The next morning, Melinda picked us up about 3:45 AM. After a breif stop at headquarters for breakfast and sack lunches we were on our way. It was only a short 10 minute drive and 10-15 minute walk to the blind, but we ended up doing a circle or two around the hill as we fumbled through the dark. Once set up in the blind it wasn't long before we began to be treated to a pre-dawn gobble party. I've never before experienced so many gobbles coming from so many directions at the same time. It was incredible! Shortly after shooting light, the birds began to show themselves. First wad a big group of jakes to fed 10 yards right in front of our blind for what seemed forever (video below). We saw a couple of really nice Toms beyond the group of jakes and slightly down the hill. They were absolute shooters, but wouldn't commit to coming in. At one point one of the jakes began to sense something wasn't right, alerted the group, and the did a slow walk away. About 30 minutes later, they were back! This time the big boys trailing the group came in! Draysen lined up for an easy 10 yards shot waoted for a nearby jake to clear, pulled the trigger, and "click" but no "boom" (video below)! I had one job, properly load the shotgun, and I totally blew it! The shell wasn't fully chambered. By the time we cleared the shotgun, the birds had heard the click, and again had done a slow retreat. Would he get a third chance? Absolutely, and only 20-30 minutes later. This time the biggest Tom was in the lead. Draysen wasn't going to wait for him to get too close and get mixed up with all the rest of the birds preventing a clean shot, and took him with one clean solid shot at about 25 yards. Tag #1 filled! But rather than going to get the bird, we decided to sit tight and work on a double. There were way to many birds still in the area. It about 45 minutes later a new group of 3 big Tom's were spotted and on their way. As the lead bird approached, he began strutting and heading for Draysen's first bird. Draysen had pre-determined to memorialize this trip by getting a bird mounted if he got a good one, and his first bird was awesome! So he didn't want to allow this second Tom to beat up on the first and took his shot before the second bird got the chance. "Boom", second tag filled. As we celebrate, the other two Toms that came in with his second bird, being the bullies that Toms are, came and started beating up on their downed buddy. We also wanted to keep this second bird in good shape and tried to shoosh them off, but they weren't having it, and lingered for another 10 minutes until we started to get out of the blind. Even then, they only went another 50 yards down they hill. But at that point they had cleared the JAKE essay winner hunting only area. Melinda had her own tags, so we encouraged her to go after them. Eventually we convinced her. Only a few minutes later, a third bird was down. Draysen's first bird had 10.5" beard, a really nice long spur on one leg, and slightly rubbed down spur on the second. The second bird had a 9.75" beard but huge sharp 1.25" spurs. We headed for competition weigh in, measurements, and lunch. The Kansas Governor's One Shot takes amazing care of their guests! While we ate lunch they completely plucked and processed Draysen's second bird to look like a grocery store cleaned whole turkey (we froze the first whole for taxidermy), and put it in camo soft sided cooler for him on dry ice to take home. That afternoon we got a good nap and headed in for the evening banquet and auction. For that night's auction master turkey caller Preston Pittman had brought 20 custom box calls. Preston was there guiding the hunting heros. With his tags filled, Draysen got the opportunity to play the part of guide the following morning to help Melinda fill her second tag. We sat the edge of a recently planted corn filled and again were treated to a symphony of pre-dawn gobbles in the full moon light. Our blind was almost directly below the roost trees. So in the low light of the morning, we watched an estimated 50-60 birds fly down and work their was across the field in front of us. It was a scene we will never forget. The many Tom's were all hened up and didn't seem interested in our calls as they strutted hundreds of yards across the field in front of us, but just out of range. Once they were all out of sight we determined our best opportunity would be to set up a couple of hen decoys and try to call a Tom back when his hens left to lay eggs. While I was dozing off, Draysen and Melinda spotted a lone gobbler about 500 yards across the field. Game on! With a little coaching Draysen called this gobbler clear across the field to about 200 yards. Then a hen showed up that got his attention. So Draysen shifted gears and called in the hen with him cutting the distance. About the time the hen was about 5-10 yards from us, she began to sense something was up and alerted the Tom. He stopped dead in his tracks, puffed up, but wouldn't come any closer, but he had already come to close. A great 40 yard shot from Melinda and our hunt was over. More banquets, auctions, thank yous, and farewells that night. Draysen didn't win the top gun contest for biggest bird, but was given a beautiful rifle from the C.O.O of the NWTF who said some very nice thing about Draysen to the crowd. We then returned to our hotel packed up and went to bed. It is now the following morning. We are now at the Wichita airport and have a long wait for his flight, hence the long write up. This has been an experience of a lifetime for Draysen and me. So many great people did so many great things to make this great experience happen including: Mark and Kathy Nixon who kead out local East Valley Toms NWTF chapter. Janet and Pat Post of the Kansas Governor's One Shot Turkey Hunt. Mark Elliot who foot the bill for the trips. Melinda Duff, Draysen's mentor and guide. Mom, (my wife) who had to stay home with the siblings. So many more, sorry I can't begin to name them all. I know the write up was long, hope you enjoyed it, the videos, and pictures.
  4. 11 points
    Went out this morning with both of my boys for the youth turkey hunt. We heard the first gobble at 5:30 am and about 300 yards away. We quickly cut the distance to about 100 yards. The Tom wouldn’t stop gobbling from the roost. Once he flew down he made his way straight towards us and our decoys. After a few minutes he came out of the junipers and Jacob took a shot at 25-yards and putting his first turkey down
  5. 9 points
    My son went on his first turkey hunt today with a tag in his pocket. We heard a gobble right after the sun came up this morning. We had only been walking about 25 mins an called twice. We put out the decoy and got set up. He came in great but circled us the last 75 yards and got above us. We tried to reposition but the sun was right in our face and we couldn’t see. We kept quiet as he gobbled and passed around us, trying not to move. After a few minutes we backed out and moved up higher to the bench above us. I set out the decoy again and we set up above it. I let out a few yelps and 2 different birds sounded off. Within 10 mins my son says he see’s him. The Tom spots the decoy and starts running in. He breaks into a strut 30 yards from us. I hear the click of the guns safety as he goes behind a tree. I’m trying to video the best I can but I can’t control my shaking. The strutter catches movement as the shotgun gets shouldered and sticks his head up. He starts to turn away and I cluck to stop him. BOOM !!! The bird drops and starts kicking. We high five, shake hands and hug. It all happened so fast we are still smiles while hanging out in camp. a special thanks to Ammon at little creek calls. He makes great sounding calls, at least this bird thought so.
  6. 8 points
    We got lucky and turned one up yesterday. It was my sons first time shed hunting. Completely made his and my day, he was tired and riding on my shoulders back to the truck when we found it. Quiet ride home
  7. 5 points
  8. 5 points
    I have posted this before but this was basically my introduction to rattlesnakes.......down in the bootheel of New Mexico in what some would consider middle of nowhere nothing! My dad's ditch banks were clean from weeds, our house......clean from weeds all the way around! If you went off the main path you made sure you had a shovel in your hand! Lots of great memories and lots of PTSD memories about growing up there! We have had several encounters out in the boonies with rattlers, walk loud and carry a big stick!!!!
  9. 5 points
    I wear turtle skin gators if the grass is so tall and thick, there is no way I am going to see them. (19a antelope hunting). Some people disagree, but I usually kill the ones I see.
  10. 4 points
  11. 4 points
    I'm in Ireland for business and got to see this Sika Deer shedding while I was out and about. Still on the look out for Red and Fallow Deer.
  12. 4 points
    I drew a 24 Coues tag... was a tough hunt last year...shot a buck, but was rough. I swore I wasn’t going to put in for that hunt again, but after all the effort I put in learning the unit, figured I’d give it one more shot
  13. 3 points
    I would use Mike Vaccaro with A Head of the Game taxidermy. I have known him for years and he has completed a javelina, coues, and elk for me, which all turned out great. I currently have a mule deer with him as well. All of the animals have been done in a reasonable time and again, turned out great.
  14. 3 points
  15. 3 points
  16. 3 points
    Weed wack to close to a patio door and you'll have a bunch for free!
  17. 3 points
    If I have to put my feet where I cant see,, I'm with HuntHarder and wearing the TurtleSkins. I wear them hiking in the dark on early Coues hunts. Sweaty feet beats the heck out of the alternative. Especially in Mojave country.
  18. 3 points
    That’s a gopher snake. That’s a good snake.
  19. 3 points
    We run into them all the time. They are no big deal at all. When you get near they rattle and let you know they are around, simply move away from the rattle if you cant see them. General when you first encounter them they will coil and rattle, the second encounter is more likely to provoke a strike. Meaning the first guy walking the trail steps near or on him isn't as likely to get bit as the second guy right behind him. Be in the lead hahaha. August Sept when monsoons hit snake are most active and odds of encounters increase. Humid river bottoms are hot spots for snakes, odd are better to find them. Avoid those kind of places if you can. They shouldn't concern you much just be aware and keep eyes open, they are actually kind of cool to see. I use to kill them all, now I let them be unless they are in a bad spot. I had a big black tail a couple years ago stand his ground on a trail when I was leading a pack string. Middle of now where on a steep hill side and I couldn't get him to slither off so he had to go.
  20. 3 points
    My house would be immediately be fore sale!!!!!
  21. 3 points
    Barbary and muzzy coues for me!
  22. 3 points
    Gobbling isn't all they are doing. They don't plow open FS roads in unit 27, just the state highways.
  23. 2 points
    Last October a buddy living in New river went out to feed the chickens and goats while raining after dark and got hit by a rattler in the top of his foot. Barely broke skin took 4 vials of anti venom and day in the hospital. I don't take chances with them.
  24. 2 points
    Completly new experience for us, only ever done "party boat" type fishing until this trip. Lost a few good ones but landed enough to be dang happy. Me and the younger boy got sea sick but not too bad. I learned a valuble lesson about taking dramamine before you get to the boat! We had a blast though, Pickles catching the grouper was just icing on the cake
  25. 2 points
    These 2 boys are still looking for a good home.
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