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Dejavou 2013/2019 South Florida

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Back story; back  on March 2 2013 Reid and myself had planned a trip to Florida to finish our grand slam. It was an awesome experience ending in us sitting shoulder to shoulder on a pine tree in a palmetto thicket and doubling on our first Osceola turkeys.  That completed both our grand slams but we went ahead and made a spur of the moment run out west that year and was able to make it a single season grand slam. 
When we met the land owner of the property we hunted and they ended up being from the same area that were from and it made for good conversation. This year it took some digging and research but Reid was able to contact the landowner and was able to get permission to come hunt it once again. (We tried contacting the guy we hunted with and his number was no longer the same not had he land owner had any dealings with him since our hunt that one time) We wanted to go public land but figure it was worth a shot to try and ask and it was well worth the effort. 
We left MS Thursday mid morning and arrived in a little town south east of Tampa around 12:30am Friday morning, after trying to help a family headed to Orlando get their car started for an hour or so.  As the day started to come alive we were standing in the cattle field on the woods edge waiting to see what we had to work with.  We heard 4 different gobblers that morning spread throughout the pines and burnt palmetto thicket. We had a hen right by us that was as vocal as could be it was so cool sitting there for over an hour listening to her talk. As they eased off in the distance we slipped out trying to formulate a game plan to scout the area with it being so open and decided it wasn’t worth bumping and spooking birds. There was a couple fire lane/trails running through the property so around lunch we drove through the area. We saw the old live oak we took pictures on back in 2013 and it brought back some good memories. We saw a pile of hens and jakes and 2 longbeards  during our drive and all the crazy cows that lived on the property. So we had a good feeling about the next morning.  We tried to roost a bird that afternoon but it was all quiet. 
Our game plan for the morning hunt was to be pretty much centrally located between where we had heard the birds the morning before. It was still pretty dark and we hear a faint gobble in the distance so we moved in that direction. Once we got closer I hooted and birds gobbled down through the trees, 3 to 4 of them. Then 2 Owls got cranked up on top of us and the gobblers shut up for some reason. (Lol made me feel good though, I could make them gobble but the real thing couldn’t, guess I sound so bad that the ol gobblers laugh gobble at me) we ease deeper into the pines and a hen starts up and the woods come alive. It’s birds gobbling from every direction. We decide to set in between the groups of birds and see what happens. It’s way to open to move any closer. We find a tree that has some scorched bushes around it but is enough for some extra cover.  After fly down the bird work their way away from us and all gobbling stops. Reid gives a soft yelp and one of the hens in the distance answers back. So they get to talking to each other.  Before we know it there are 4 hens running our way and behind them there are 2 gobblers trying to keep up. The hens literally run by us at less then 5yds, Reid had to close his eyes so they didn’t spook.  The gobblers close the distance to about 50yds when out of nowhere a cow comes charging charging in and literally, if you’ve ever seen a cutting horse work, cut the gobblers from in front of and and had them running away from us. We couldn’t believe what had just happened.  The cows finally work off and Reid makes another call and the hens crank up behind us and here they come again. Running back by us and off into the pines where the gobblers had run to. So we’re sitting against this tree facing south. My gun shouldered right handed. Reid had repositioned to shoot left handed and was also facing south.  
As we watch the hens disappear I hear a faint pthuuummmm and I say to myself that was a turkey drum. The sound seemed to come from behind us and I ease my head around the gobbled steps out from behind a tree at 10yds. Directly behind us. He is in full strut and is breathtaking(literally I couldn’t breath or half see because of the way I was craning my neck lol) he drums again and I’m trying to tell Reid that he’s on top of us but he can’t hear me. He makes a soft call and the bird realizes something isn’t right and breaks strut and starts walking towards his side of the tree. I try telling him again to get ready but he still never heard me. Then the bird walks behind a clump of trees and I make my move to shoot left handed. The bird probably heard me and is now going straight away for us and he’s getting it pretty good. I got an opening and I pulled my shot just to the right of his head. I was so aggravated at myself but it happens still doesn’t make it any better.   We let the woods quieten down and I slipped out to make sure I didn’t connect since I went cross eyed after the shot and couldn’t really tell what happened. After I looked around and we relived the hunt we got up and eased down to where we had see the other birds earlier.  
Reid is a little ahead of me and he stops next to a pine tree just before a clump of palmettos. As I ease up to him I hear him
say gobbler 120yds  and we both hit the ground. I crawled to the right to a tree and he got against a tree to his left. He calls and after a few minutes we don’t hear or see anything so he crawls over to me and stands up next to my tree. He can now see a strutting bird and a few other gobblers. He makes a series of yelps and says “here they come” and drops down beside me. We’re on a small pine sitting shoulder to shoulder and there is a clump of palmettos and a burnt scrub bush in front of us about 50yds out. He whispers that they are gonna come around that bush. And then I see a glimpse of one through the thicket.  The first bird steps out and we see his beard swing. The next one steps out and his beard is hanging but isn’t swinging and I whisper to Reid “he’s good enough for me”. Reid calls one more time ever so softly and the birds start our way. There are a few pines between us and you know it the closer they get the more frantic we get because we can never see both birds at the same time.  Then we they get to about 25yds they finally spit the tree and we can see them on each side of it. Reid draws down on the left bird and I draw down on the right. I count down 3,2,1,Zbooooommm both birds hit the ground. We had done it again. We jump up and walk towards the birds honestly expecting to see a couple 2yr olds but couldn’t be happier with them. Well to both our surprise when we get about 5yds away I see the first set of spurs then the second. I couldn’t believe it and of coarse my dry heaving starts up and I’m out of commission for about 20 second. After I get all that over with i go and we’re both amazed at what we had just done. Doubled on two 1.5” spurred birds.  His has 1.5” spurs and a little over a 9” shot up beard and weighed 15.02 pounds. Mine has 1.5” spurs and a decently thick 6” beard(it’s like it was cut with scissors, maybe it got burnt off while feeding after the controlled burn) and weighed 15.72lbs. We relived the hunt and said a prayer thanking the Good Lord for blessing us and then we took pics on the same old live oak from 6yrs ago.  It was pretty cool. 


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WOW !!!!!!!!!!!

Great story and great birds !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CONGRATS to you both, two times !!!! 

I need to get busy finding ME a Florida landowner willing to let me hunt...…………………………...

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