I was fortunate to have be able to start my season in Florida seeking success on an Osceola towards my hopes of completing the NWTF Grand Slam. On a high I was unable to travel back west this season for a Merriam’s hunt, but I wanted to share some of the pure joy I experienced while back in Florida.
I think it’s important to note this was a 5 day , public land hunt. This was an option that meant I had to rely on past friendships made to make possible. A few years back, by chance we had made a friend in a serious Titusville Crappie Fisher, we call him Jeff.
Having been down to visit and fish , we have been the best of friends since. I was also new to fishing to be honest. I always enjoy chatting with Jeff week to week and the time we do get to go visit is always a treat. During my last visit, I had voiced that I was seeking an Osceola Hunt. With a budget to work against, I soon found a chance hunt without need for much more than gas money! So the stage was set!
Come early turkey season, I traveled back to Florida and took up this turkey hunting task with Jeff’s long time friends Rashelle and joey. This was a woman I adored from the moment we met! Having knowledge of the land here, her and I quickly took off to the woods for round one! I’ll just be honest, we were hunting 30% of the time, cutting up the other 70%! We couldn’t help it! From excitement over previous successful hunts, showing me new call hand placements to just being chicks, we saw one bird but had a killer time. Sunset came soon and we drove out in the dark, with plans to return early the next morning.
I have been well aware that the Osceola would be a heck of a time to hunt. Even still this bird was more brutal. Nearly silent, mixed with this not being their heavy mating season for the area, made it tough. A memorable fun point was getting a car stuck! That was great! No but really, we all laughed. With a little fix, we did get the car unstuck. Traveling to hunt another spot for the evening, we barely made time, but we made it!
One of the highlights of this hunt would have to be the ash forest belly crawl.
I had been talking on and off regarding how many hunt turkeys back home where I was from. I call it “run-in and gunn’in” at times. Simply meaning, I’ve had success the past couple years by being read and willing to move quick. When you hear the call and it ain’t setting up right, you gotta decide how bad you want it from there. From crossing creeks, sand spur covered sand hills to sprinting across hillsides, you just never know what you’ll face. Returning from lunch , we were driving back deep into the WMA area and I spotted red heads to the left. Without second though, I slammed my truck into park and grabbed my turkey thug and was gone. Sprinting down the tree line, this was an odd area as they had recently burned off a-lot brush. The ground was black and covered in ash, no foliage for coverage. Going back to Rashelle telling me turkeys like the ash! She was right!
I was gone before anybody could catch me!
The funny part was seeing Rashelle creeping up behind me at some point when I had settled to glass. It was the best thing ever, she had my back! We did not kill a bird that day but it was epic still! The same day we had two deer come in on us thanks to calling turkeys.
Are You Comfortable, Does it feel right?
These are words I’ll never forget from my hunting buddy. On the last day I pulled out Octavia, my trust Obsession Bow. I realized how uncomfortable I actually was with a shotgun. Not that I haven’t shot one many times and love the 12 gauge, but I have become so in tune with my bow, I went for broke! This decision paid off! Another memory from Rashelle is the better shot placement than what I had shot a turkey at before. Shoot a bird from the back! After another intense crawl in to cut off birds I had been chasing, my Ramcat Broad head shot straight through my first Osceola and the victory was mine! Right after I had to hit the road and head north for home but with a smile and good memories!
The hunt is was claims your soul
This statement is so true for many reasons. After 5 days of actively hunting WMA/Public Land I almost went home empty handed and that would have been ok with me. I guess obsession pays off in time and now I only lack one subspecies to claim the NWTF Grand Slam! I can’t speak enough about the value in the relationships I have gained in the individuals met along my journey. All I can say is that in them, I am beyond grateful and treasure each more and more as time goes on. I’m looking forward to returning the efforts and taking Rashelle with me to Canada. I can’t wait to see her claim her first Canadian Deer. This woman deserves it more than I ever could and I can’t wait to see what our future adventures may be!