Just returned from my second turkey hunting trip this spring season in Texas over the Easter weekend. I was invited to a ranch about 100 miles west of Dallas Texas in Palo Pinto County. I have hunted this ranch before and there are lots of turkeys and big mature gobblers in this area. I arrived along with two other friends on Wednesday afternoon in time to make a late evening hunt and hopefully call one in or roost one for the following morning. The wind was pretty stiff but I did manage to call in two young gobblers which I videoed with my phone and one hen, I also heard another gobbler in the distance but never could locate him at dark. My two buddies were hunting in different locations on the ranch and one of them was able to roost three different gobblers. So the next morning we split up and tried to get on these gobblers. I made my way to where he had heard one of the gobblers on the roost the afternoon before. I know this ranch so I kind of knew about where this gobbler would be roosted at. There was a nice size lake with big trees on the dam end so I figured the gobbler would be in that general area. I eased into the area and waited for day break. As the birds started singing so did the gobbler. He was only about 200 yards from where I had stopped to listen for him and he was exactly where I thought he would be. I slowly made my way closer and found a good spot to setup which put me about 100 or so yards from his location. I settled in and made a few soft tree yelps which set him off gobbling. After a few minutes I heard a hen start calling to him while still on the roost. He would gobble at her and I would call and he would gobble at me. After about 5 minutes of this action I heard as a turkey pitched out of a tree and landed only about 20 yards in front of me. It was a hen that I never knew was there. Then a second one, third one, and a fourth hen landed out in front of me. I froze as the hens started walking away. The gobbler by this time was gobbling at everything, crows, songbirds, and owls. I let the hens get about 50-60 yards away and I made a few more soft yelps at the gobbler and he fired back which seemed to make the leaves on the nearby trees rattle! One of the hens then started calling to him and he would answer her. It was so cool to be this close and hear his thunderous gobble and see all of this unfold. He finally pitched out of the tree and landed in an old road bed about 80 yards from me and went into a full strut. I then unleashed a volley of cuts and cackles which made him crazy as he gobbled his head off and was strutting straight in my direction. About this time one of the hens which was about 50 or so yards away from me started calling at him. He would come out of his strut look over at the 4 hens and then look for me. He would then go back into his strut and start wobbling in the direction of the hens. I would cut and cackle at him and he would start moving in my direction. This went on for several minutes and he was slowly getting closer. He kept looking for me and was checking out the four hens off to his side. When he got to about 50 yards he came out of his strut and stood up looking for me. After a few seconds of not seeing a hen in my direction he turned and started walking towards the four hens and went back into a full strut. At that time I decided it was now or never and gave out a loud cluck with my mouth call which froze him and made him pick up his head. BOOM I let him have it with my Browning Gold 12 gauge 3 Â½ inch number 6 turkey load. He rolled and I had a great gobbler on the ground. He had a 10 inch beard and 1 1/16 inch spurs. I was so pumped up just to have witnessed this kind of action was just awesome!
My other two buddies each had opportunities but one missed and one got his gobbler. Man I love hunting these Rio Gobblers, lots of fun and plenty of action!
I just completed my first trip to south Texas for this springs turkey season this past weekend. As always I was not disappointed chasing those Rio Gobblers and Hogs. I arrived in time to make a quick scouting trip on several ranches that I had permission to hunt on. My good friend had trail cameras set out and we had a good idea as to what ranches had the best turkey population. We set out a ground blind on the ranch that had the best opportunity for big gobblers.
He also showed me pics of a big blonde boar hog that was coming to one of his deer feeders consistently every afternoon and asked if I wanted to try and get him. I said sure and the big boar looked really cool in the trail cam pics. So Friday afternoon we setup in a ground blind about 150 yards from the feeder and sure enough like clockwork the big boar showed up. I gave him time to settle down and start feeding then I let the cross hairs settle on the side of his head and squeezed the shot off. The big boar dropped in his tracks. We had no scales but figure he was in the 250 pound class.
Saturday morning we headed out way before day light and I set out my gobbler and hen decoy on the edge of a cow pasture close to where we had set up the ground blind the day before. We climbed into the ground blind and waited for day break to come. As soon as the song birds started we heard what sounded like two or three gobblers on the roost about 300 yards away and across the cow pasture from us. I let out a few tree yelps with my mouth call and got an immediate reply. We sat tight and as soon as I heard them fly down I started calling to them. They would gobble and I would call, this went on for several minutes and I could not see them due to the way the cow pasture was laid out. I could tell that they were coming in closer so I backed down on my calling and just gave out a few purrs and clucks. My buddy was running the video camera and we had decided we would look over any gobblers that came in and try to take the better ones. After about 10-15 minutes a Jake showed up along with a few hens. They seemed a little nervous with my hen and gobbler decoy close buy but didnât run off. Shortly after that I watched as 4 big long beards came into view all strutting and walking straight towards the gobbler decoy. I picked the best gobbler out and waited for the shoot. BOOM he rolled and I went for another, BOOM another one rolled. I had two nice gobbler down and the other two was jumping on the ones that I had just shoot. We kept videoing and watched as the other two gobblers just went crazy attacking the two gobblers that had been shot. We finally emerged from the blind and went and checked out my two gobblers. One had a 9 Â½â beard with 1 3/8â spurs and the other had an 8 Â½â beard with 1 1/8â spurs. I tagged the turkeys and picked up our gear and headed for another ranch to see if we could get another gobbler fired up.
We rode over to the ranch I had shot the big boar hog the afternoon before and checked out one of his hog traps on the way in. While fooling around with the hog trap we heard a gobbler sound off about 400 yards away, I quickly grabbed my gear and ran down the edge of the cow pasture for about 100 yards trying to cut the distance. I was out of breath so I took out my box call and made several yelps and got a reply from the gobbler. I then eased into the wood line and found a good spot to setup. I took out my mouth call and started working on him. Every time I would call he would answer and he was getting closer. When he got to about 75 yards I shut up. I could not see him but knew he was getting very close and I didnât want him to know exactly what tree I was sitting by. There was this dead silence in the woods as I waited for him to appear. After about 5 minutes I picked him up walking down a fence row head straight towards me to my right. We he went behind a clump of brush I eased my gun around to catch him when he came out the other side only 25 yards from me. When he cleared the brush I clucked and he froze with his head fully extended, BOOM I let him eat a load of 12 gauge 3 Â½ #6âs. This big Gobbler had an 11â beard with 1/ Â¼â spurs. What a way to start off my Texas turkey season with 3 big gobblers on the first day of my hunt. I hope to get back down to south Texas in a few weeks and try and finish filling my last Turkey Tag. We took some great video footage of both the big boar hog and the turkeys which I will post when I get some time after turkey season.
I'm getting ready for the opener! Here a few neat trail-cam pics from my place in Catahoula Parish.
Just completed our annual rifle deer hunting trip to Nebraska, this year made for my 21st year heading to this hunting destination. This year there was six of us hunting the farmland in the North West corner of the state. Mostly corn fields and cattle pastures. Weather was unseasonably warm but that didnât stop the action as we took 33 deer in six days of hunting with several nice bucks. The area we were hunting allowed for two buck tags and four doe tags per person. We saw plenty of bucks but nothing huge as we have in past years. I believe the weather had the big boys laid up. I took some great video of bucks chasing does and even caught one mating a doe which I will post on YouTube later when I get some time under channel LETUMGROW.
Fished the Little Lake area over the weekend with some friends from Nebraska and had a blast with the Reds. Found several schools working the banks and we jumped all over them. We also just worked the banks hard and that produced several nice Reds in the 7-10 pound class. All of our fish were caught on Gulp Shrimp tight lined, gold bladed spinner baits, and gold spoons.
I ran my trail cameras this past weekend and found the ever growing population of bears! I have big bears, small bears, bears with tags, bears with collars, and even cubs!
This past Friday and Saturday we loaded up on nice Reds in the Little Lake area. Friday afternoon we had our three man limit in under 3 hours with 4 going over 7 pounds, Saturday morning was steady and had several over 8 pounds. Specs all over the place just running small. All of our fish were caught on gold spoons and gold bladed spinner baits working around the grass beds. Water was really clear and had fun sight fishing and casting to several Reds.
Here are a few pics of the Bulls we caught during the rodeo this past Labor Day weekend in Grand Isles. In 3 days of fishing we boated and released around 60 Bulls and brought 4 in to the rodeo to be weighed in. All caught on Cut Mullet and Live Crocker. Sharks not as bad as previous years but hooked a few.
As you can see in these two pictures the Hybrid Soybeans and Iron Clay Peas are really working great! This makes the third time the deer have hit them hard this summer. Notice the dates on each picture, in a matter of a few weeks the deer devoured the bean and pea tops. The good thing is I have a solid stand which is allowing the plants to come back strong and allow this heavy browsing. If you go back to my original post on 6/16/16 'Summer Food Plots' you can see the progression with pics. Between the two dates on these pictures I had over 700 pics of deer browsing the tops!
We had some co-workers come down to our camp over the weekend and we enjoyed some great red fishing down in the Little Lake and Bay LâOurs area. My bride, Annette took top red with a solid 10 pounder caught on a gold spoon. The reds are starting to bunch up as we had several hook-ups that had three and four reds following the hooked red back to the boat which we were able to catch a few of those by casting close to the hooked up red. All the reds were caught on gold spoons and gold bladed spinner baits. We also caught a few nice catfish at night from our pier using cut bait.
Fished the Little Lake are cuts and ponds and produced a 3 man limit of reds using gold spoons and gold bladed spinner baits. Reads are bunching up and we had several occasions where we had multiple reds following the one that was hooked back to the boat. Water was very clear and very light winds which made for some nice site fishing.
LWLF checked us while we were fishing, very friendly guys looked at everything and even went through our fish in the ice chest. They told us they have been seeing people with a lot of short fish.
We also fished late Thursday afternoon and caught a few reds close to camp.
We got on a good bite last weekend on Reds and Black Drum in the Little Lake area. Located several schools of Black Drum and had fun chasing them around limiting both days. The Reds were in tight on the grass beds and using Gold Spoons and Gold Bladed Spinner Baits produced limits over the weekend.
Last month (May) I set out 1 sack (50 pounds) of trace minerals which I poured on a log and set a salt lick block on top of it. I checked my trail-cam and was excited to see the deer are hitting it hard. I also put out several Trophy Rock Mineral Blocks but have not seen the activity as this site has. As summer progresses we will see which site preform the best. I will post pics as I get them.
As I continue working on my property trying to make it the best it can be for habitat and wildlife I wanted to share some neat pics of a summer food plot I planted back on May 23rd. I have been reading about the Eagle Seed Game Keeper RR soybeans and wanted to give them a try. We planted about 3 acres (1 two acre plot and 2 half acre plots). We also mixed in some iron clay peas. Well after 3 1/2 weeks the plots look great and the deer are tearing them up. The interesting part is that the deer are passing on the iron clay peas and whipping out the hybrid soybeans first. I installed a browse cage so I can monitor just how bad the deer are tearing up the plots. Trail-cam pics show deer out in the plots all times of the day and night. I don't think with what I am seeing these plots will last till fall. I'll keep posting pics as the summer goes on.
This past weekend we had 2 boats and 7 of us fishing from our camp in Lafitte. Found good clean water in a lot of places and where there was bait fish there were Reds. Caught limits and had a blast. All reds where caught on Spinner Baits and Gold spoons. Even caught a few nice flounder on spinner baits.
This past Saturday with all the thunderstorms in the area we had to wait until around 8:30am before we could head out and try our luck on the Reds. Once we had a break in the weather we headed south to the Texaco canal area and started working the canals and ponds in the area. We found some clear water in the back of a few ponds and found some hungry Reds willing to attack our Spinner baits and Gold Spoons. We did get pounded by a few storms and the wind really picked up as the morning went on but we managed a nice 3 man limit of Reds for the day. It was neat as when we first arrived in the area we wanted to fish there was no wind and you could see plenty of bait fish and wakes from Reds moving around. That was good enough to keep us in the area once the winds picked up and you could not see any movement at all.
This Past Saturday we fished Little Lake and found some clear water in the Bay L'Ours area. We were using Gold Bladed spinner baits with black and chartreuse tail body. The Reds were holding tight to the grass beds and on points. There was a good breeze blowing which made it almost impossible to sight fish, so we were just doing a lot of fan casting over the grass beds and getting a steady bite that way.
I am always looking for ways to improve the wildlife habitat on my place, so I wanted to share a simple and cheap way to get some blackberry briars introduced in areas with good sunlight that are void of this type of vegetation. Blackberry briars have several great assets to having on your property. One is the cover value, once you have a good patch or stand of blackberry briars deer will use it for bedding along with other animals like rabbits. The second is food source, deer and rabbits love the tender new leaves and turkeys eat both the leaves and berries. The third is escape, both deer and rabbits utilize briar patches for quick escape from predators and hunters. As a kid growing up and even today you could always count on jumping a deer in the biggest baddest briar patch you could find. In the 1970's when we ran dogs for deer you could bet that's where the big old bucks were bedded up! Rabbit hunters also count on those briar patches for striking up a trail with their beagles.
I start off first by locating areas with good sunlight that penetrates to the ground with minimal shade, along pipelines, power lines, food plots, logging turnarounds, roads, trails etc. I then identify low areas where water stands for long periods of time. I mark my map as I do not want to plant where water will keep the briars from growing effectively.
My second step is to locate existing blackberry briar patches in the same general area I wish to plant (same parish or county). In early spring you can spot them from all the white flowers they produce and then make a mental mark on location for late spring picking.
My third step is to revisit these blackberry patches in late spring when the berries are ripe and ready to pick. I will pick as many as I can and keep them cool as not to spoil.
My forth step is to lay them out for drying. I use a big sheet of cardboard and lay out the berries so they are spread out and not on top of one another. Drying time is generally 2 weeks based on conditions like humidity and temperature. If I can I will set them out in direct sun light for several hours each day to help speed up the processes. You must keep them in a place where animals cannot get to them and were wind will not blow them away.
My fifth step is once completely dried is to crumble them up so that I have the seeds separated from the berries. This is easily done with your hands and only takes a few minutes. I use a zip-loc bag to store my seeds until I am ready to plant.
One gallon of blackberries once dried will produce around 10,000 seeds which will plant a LOT of areas.
Best time to plant is late spring, summer, and early fall.
I recently cut with my tractor several old logging roads and logging loading spots and will do a light chop with disc. I will then broadcast my blackberry seeds in the areas I wish to establish. If you have some new timber logging going on this is a good place to spread your blackberry seeds, just make sure it gets good sun light.
Cutting and disking is NOT required but will help, broadcasting on the ground will work just keep in good sun light areas. If possible try to time your planting just after a rain while the ground is still moist and damp. These seeds are so small that a heavy rain will float a majority away if planted before a rain.
Germination is pretty quick if the conditions are right and you we start to see deer and rabbits browsing on the fresh sprouts within weeks of growth. I will generally place a trail-cam out to capture this growth and animals for the first month or two.
Bird and animal poop is how black berry briars are generally started and introduced to other areas. This way you are expediting the process and adding much needed habitat to your hunting area.
An experienced and dedicated deer hunter knows the importance of having good cover and habitat in the areas he/she is hunting and this is a way to help make that happen that is inexpensive and fun work in the woods with family and friends.
I hope this info helps and you can get out in the woods and help improve the wildlife habitat you are using.
This past Saturday we went looking for reds in the ponds. With the strong south east winds we have been having the water level has been running around 1Â½ feet above normal. This is great for pond fishing and generally pushes in good water and reds into the ponds, it also allows us to reach ponds that at normal level we can never get into.
We headed south and started working the Bay Round area and after jumping around found a few ponds with very clear water and plenty of Reds. We eased along and with the clear water was able to spot numerous reds in the grass. The bite was slow but we were able to put together a pattern and ended up with a very nice mess of Reds. We were throwing a Â¼ oz. gold bladed spinner bait with a single spinner with black and chartreuse body. That seemed to be what they wanted and we had a blast hauling in several 6-8 pounders on light tackle.
This past weekend I made my 3rd and final trip to Texas for this year?s spring turkey season. I have made three weekends in a row to Texas and put a lot of miles on my truck but called in a lot of gobblers!
This trip I would be hunting a ranch in Zavala County near Crystal City, Texas. The owners of this ranch let me come down every year both during the deer season and turkey season and shoot a few deer, hogs and turkeys. For the last 4 years in a row I have taken my turkey the first day that I arrive and hunt the ranch. So this year I had some pressure on me to keep that streak alive. Leaving Baton Rouge at 3:30am and driving hard I picked up my close friend near San Antonio and arrived at the ranch around 2:00pm. After unpacking at camp we headed into the ranch only to find most of the roads were flooded by a 3 inch rain that had fallen the day before. So we had to come up with another game plan to figure out where and how we would hunt. Looking at a map of the ranch we made our way down a pipeline that was overgrown and finally got to a point where we were close to the area I have always hunted. We did have a long walk but I was confident that once I got in the area I could get a gobbler fired up pretty fast. I walked up to and old cow pasture that runs along a nice creek bottom that I have always seen and heard turkey before. I was amazed at how much vegetation had grown up down there from such a wet spring. The field I normally hunt was chest high in weeds and the mosquitos were horrible! You never expect that in south Texas. I had to end up setting up on the road that led into the field as there was no way I could see a turkey in the field or the turkeys see my decoy.
The road had been well traveled by the rancher so the weeds were pretty much knocked down. So I set out my decoy in the middle of the road that passes along the pasture. I backed into some tall grass about 30 yards away and setup there. It was 5:45pm when I sat down and started some soft calls. My buddy who rode down with me decided to sit in one of the deer blinds and try his luck at some hogs while I turkey hunted.
It was miserably hot and the mosquitos were horrible. I was calling every 10-15 minutes without hearing anything. After close to an hour I stood up to stretch and text my buddy to see if he was seeing anything. I eased out and looked down the road in both directions and nothing. I was thinking that my killing streak was going to come to an end today. I sat back down sprayed more mosquito dope on me and made a series of calls again. This time I heard a gobbler answer me in the distance. He seemed to be about 300 yards or so away. I quickly made another call and he responded again, but this time it sounded like two gobblers. My heart started pumping and I knew I was getting ready to have some action coming my way! I waited a few minutes and made another yelp with my mouth call. When they gobbled this time it was so loud it freaked me out. They were on a dead run in my direction. I figured they were less than 50 yards from my location. I snapped my safety off and pointed my shotgun towards my decoy in the road. I just knew they would be on top of my decoy any second. What seemed like an eternity went by (only about one minute) and nothing. I started thinking that something must have spooked them. The grass was so tall I only had a window directly in front of me at my decoy. I let out a very soft yelp and cluck and sat tight. All of a sudden I hear them drumming to my left and only several feet away. I slowly turned my head and could only see parts of turkeys in the road through the tall grass. It was two gobblers and they were in full strut and less than 20 feet from my location. They were so close I could hear them hissing and drumming which I have only heard a few other times in my life of turkey hunting. Something made them gobble again and being that close I thought my hat was blown off of my head! My heart was coming out of my chest and thinking they are just too close! I still had my gun pointed towards the decoy and they were ever so slowly working their way down the road to the decoy. They both looked to be the same size and had about the same length beard. As soon as the first one came into the tight opening in front of me I let out a cluck with my mouth call. He raised his head and BOOM I let him have a full load of Winchester #6 3 1/2' magnum turkey load from my Browning Gold 12 gage. He was only 12 steps away and I cut him a flip. He was flopping around and the other gobbler took off running. I walked up to my gobbler and he had a 10 1/2' inch beard with 1' spurs. I was so pumped up as this made 5 years straight taking a gobbler from this ranch on the first day of my hunt each year.
It was awesome to close out my turkey season with such an exciting close up and personal hunt with a big mature gobbler. I spent the rest of the weekend with my buddy shooting hogs and listening to other gobblers. I took some neat video footage and will post soon on my channel on YouTube under 'LETUMGROW'. I hope you had a chance to enjoy some springtime turkey hunting this season and to just be in the woods this time of year is so awesome.