MARCH 23, 2019 VIDEO HUNT #1
LOCATION: BALDWIN COUNTY, PRIVATE
AM HUNT IN 1 HEN AND 1 JAKE
Chase and I would hunt out club in Baldwin County on opening day. We heard three birds gobbling at daylight but nothing close enough to count on calling in. We called every 15 to 20 minutes and eventually called in a hen and jake. See the footage on my 2019 video.
MARCH 25, 2019 VIDEO HUNT #2
TWIGGS COUNTY, PRIVATE
AM HUNT 1 GOBBLER (BOWKILL)
I would hunt my club in Twiggs County on this morning. Since it was early in the season I made my decision to take the bow and try and get a bow will on video. I set up in a small hardwood draw with an Avian hen at about 25 yards and 2 Avian jakes at 25 yards. At daylight I could hear a gobbler across the road and other property. It would be a longshot but I this was the only bird gobbling so I sat in hopes of him crossing the road and coming in. About an hour later I thought I heard another gobble but could determine the exact direction. He continued to gobble and was getting closer. This was going to be my best opportunity as the bird would come down the property line and then hopefully come directly in after he saw the decoys. Once he got in sight he saw the decoys and came in to the hen first. He strutted around her for about 15 minutes before he finally came to the Avian jakes. He jumped on top of one and began pecking the other. His wings were dropped some so I adjusted my aim a bit higher. The shot was a little forward but penetrated the vitals and broke the large wing bone on the opposite side. He fluttered up on the shot but landed and walked off as if nothing happened. He expired about 30 yards. The gobbler weighed 20 lbs. 4 oz, had 1 1/8 and 1 inch spurs and a 10 inch beard. See the footage on my 2019 video.
MARCH 26, 2019 VIDEO HUNT #3
BULLOCH COUNTY, PRIVATE LAND
PARTNER: ALLEN FREEMAN
AM HUNT 3 HENS
I hunted this morning with Allen Freeman at his farm in Statesboro Georgia. Allen had heard and seen birds on opening day running and gunning but wasn’t able to close the deal so we decided to give it a try my style in a blind with decoys in a food plot. We heard a distant gobble at daylight but nothing after fly down. We called in three hens and one of the hens had about a 6 inch beard. We eventually tried a different location with no luck. See the footage on my 2019 video.
MARCH 29, 2019 VIDEO HUNT #4
WILKINSON COUNTY, PRIVATE
PM HUNT 2 JAKES
I hunted some private land in Wilkinson County this day. At daylight I hear a total of 5 gobblers but they were all out of calling distance and most were not on the property I was hunting. I figured if I sat long enough there might be one come in range so I sat back for the wait. After about an hour a jake slipped in from my right to the hen decoy. He had no interest in going to the other jakes but he did become love struck with the hen. He spent about 20 minutes around my hen decoy crawling around her and on top as well. It was almost like he tried to show her how to lay down in from but was just not getting any cooperation! It seems he was in a hurry and panic as I could hear a gobbler in the distance. I probably should have ran him off and continued calling but I was enjoying the show too much. See the footage on my 2019 video.
APRIL 6 - 9, 2019 SOUTH DAKOTA
STANDING ROCK INDIAN RESERVATION
PARTNER: KEITH SMITH, RICHARD GREEN
Keith Smith, Richie Green and myself would travel to South Dakota to hunt the Standing Rock Indian Reservation for Merriams this week. We traveled in to Bismarck ND and made our way to McLaughlin SD to meet 3 friends from Ohio. They had driven and arrived a day earlier. Their scouting would pay off as they harvested a couple of nice Merriams on the first day of the hunt. Our first day consisted of mostly scouted in search of terrain that would hold turkeys. There were not many places that were huntable but we did find sign in one place and saw a gobbler and about 12 hens in another. Keith and I would pair up and hunt for the next couple of day with little luck. There was still snow on the ground and this was a little tough for a couple of Georgia boys! We met with an Indian guide who showed us a few places to try. We saw 4 gobblers and planned our strategy for the next day. We made our way the next morning to a point between where we thought the gobblers had roosted. As we gathered our gear and made our way toward the draw we had seen the last gobblers, it began to rain. We were a little skeptical at being able to get out should it rain very much so we retrieved and tried to find a setup on the flat between the two bottoms. Still very early we could barely see 100 yards and spotted something coming out way. It was all 4 gobblers we had seen the previous day. We never had a chance of getting set up properly but decided it may be our only chance of getting a Merriam so we sat down and readied our guns. The 4 gobblers were coming right at us and then detoured around to come in a marginal distance for the 20 gauges we were shooting. We decided they were within range and shot but we only killed one of the gobblers. When we ranged the shot it was 55 yards, just a bit too far. Although not the way we had wanted, Keith had gotten his first Merriam. I hunted the next day and heard several and saw one but never had one in for a shot. Richie and the other friend from Ohio also got their gobblers in the same area that the first two had been taken. We basically had to get back to our flight a bit early as another snow storm was approaching. It was a good hunt but we hope to find more huntable areas on our next trip.
APRIL 16, 20198 VIDEO HUNT #5
AM HUNT 7 JAKES AND 4 GOBBLERS (GOBBLER KILL)
I was glad to get back to Georgia where I could not see 20 miles and have some terrain to set up in. I hunted some private land in Wilkinson County on this morning. I heard 1 gobbler at daylight and he wasn’t anywhere close to being callable. As before when I hunted this place I decided to give it at least til noon before giving up. At about 11:15 I spotted the whole flock coming into the food plot. As best I could tell they were all gobblers. One was strutting and there were at least 3 more mature birds. The birds either didn’t see my decoys or didn’t want anything to do with them. With the toms all grouped up it made me wonder what was going on. I could only assume they were all subdominant and all the hens were setting. As the birds made their way around me just out of range they began to get farther. I soft called a bit to hopefully change their mind. It did somewhat but they still were at the extreme limit for my Benelli 20 gauge. I ranged them at 48 yards and decided to try one. At this point I couldn’t tell which one had been strutting so I decided to take the one with the best beard since he had become separated a bit from the others. I made a good shot and when I reviewed the video found I had shot the strutting gobbler which had a cut in one of his tail feathers. The gobbler weighed 17 lbs. 5 oz, had 7/8 and 1 inch spurs and a 10 inch beard. See the footage on my 2018 video.
The remainder of the season would become bittersweet as my Dad’s condition worsened. He was bedridden and hospitalized for one week before coming home with hospice. The cancer he had fought for nearly 12 years would finally become untreatable. We comforted him as best we could until his passing on May 15, ironically the last day of the Georgia turkey season. “The season and his journey was over.” Gone but always remembered for the times we shared and all the memories we had made. These memories will hopefully live on through my videos. This season and video is dedicated to my Dad – Norman Harold Fowler - “The Striker Man”
August 21, 1941 – May 15, 2019