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Hitting the Early Late Shift

by Brian Lovett,
T&TH editor

After Tad Brown, Jud Carter and I took photos of my Osceola, we grabbed a quick lunch and hit another property. It was about 3 p.m., and the mercury was pushing 85.

“We’re probably a little early, but I’d rather look at the area and find a good setup than rush things,” Carter said.

It was a good plan. Of course, it went out the window when Carter pulled into a large pasture and spotted several gobblers strutting or loafing under some large oaks. He drove past the birds at a distance and pulled into the next pasture. Then, we slipped back through some flatwoods and tried to get a visual on the turkeys.

“Three of them,” Carter said. “And they’re heading this way.”

As Carter filmed the action, Brown set out a Flambeau Shady Lady decoy and yelped on a mouth call. At the second series of calls, the birds hammered and started angling toward us.

After several tense minutes and some raucous gobbling, the longbeards were about 30 steps away, searching for the hen they’d heard. Brown dropped the strutting bird, ending our hunt and giving us two Osceolas for the day.

“We sure caught them in the right mood,” Brown said, hoisting the 3-year-old longbeard.

Yep. On that Florida day, a little early had been perfect.

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