Any of you ever hunt Osceola turkeys?

took this pic in 2005 on my friend's land
https://i.imgur.com/M6zEAR2.jpg

We could never come close, probably because we lacked the proper blinds or skills.

I've heard they're a particularly elusive bird.

Got one in FLA years ago.

If i had the time to committ, i would love to go for the Grand Slam one year.

They are the hardest of the bunch imo, people pay big money to hunt them. Easterns can be challenging and the Rio is pretty dumb, they would be the easiest. 

jasperb -

They are the hardest of the bunch imo, people pay big money to hunt them. Easterns can be challenging and the Rio is pretty dumb, they would be the easiest. 

I see them all the time on my way to work. Damn things always in the road over here.

What is different about these compared to Rio Grande turkeys? Ive got a few rios with my bow

I don't know shit about turkey hunting, I grew up in nebraska around tons of hunters, I bought a bow last year and was told to get a turkey first. What is significant about this type of turkey? And I k ow I could Google I'm cutting weight and need convo

jasperb -

They are the hardest of the bunch imo, people pay big money to hunt them. Easterns can be challenging and the Rio is pretty dumb, they would be the easiest. 

Interesting thanks, what makes them difficult, are the fast and more alert? Hide better? Lower population?

UGCTTNpNe -

I don't know shit about turkey hunting, I grew up in nebraska around tons of hunters, I bought a bow last year and was told to get a turkey first. What is significant about this type of turkey? And I k ow I could Google I'm cutting weight and need convo

I can't answer the significance of this turkey as im wondering the same thing, but turkeys are the easiest tags ive ever filled. If you have a good ground blind and can sit quite for a while, youll get one

UGCTTNpNe - 
jasperb -

They are the hardest of the bunch imo, people pay big money to hunt them. Easterns can be challenging and the Rio is pretty dumb, they would be the easiest. 

Interesting thanks, what makes them difficult, are the fast and more alert? Hide better? Lower population?


I have heard some people say it is because of where they had to survive and even years of indians hunting them.

But the most elusive — and, consequently, the most esteemed in the Grand Slam sweepstakes — is the Florida bird, called the Osceola. With a population of about 80,000 concentrated south of a line between Taylor and Dixie counties on the Gulf to a divide between Nassau and Duval counties on the Atlantic, the Osceola is the only turkey confined to a single state.

The beast is skittish, hawk-eyed and more lightweight than its eastern relatives, and is distinguished largely by feathers blushed with more iridescent greens and reds. Bottom line: The Osceola gobbler is arguably the most paranoid bird in America.

“From the time it hatches until the time it dies, something is always trying to eat that bird, every day,” says Fleming, who has yet to score a Grand Slam. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and people will pay top dollar to get one, like $1,500, and that’s probably getting off cheap.”

Does it taste better?

Sarasota financial planner Bob Clancy calls the Osceola “the most challenging turkey out there,” due in part to the toms’ reluctance to respond to mating calls.

Clancy’s shotgun has helped score seven Grand Slams, but he has failed to bag a single Osceola with a bow.

“Elk,” he says, “are easier to hunt with a bow than a turkey.”

Unlike Crews, Clancy says Osceolas make a decent Thanksgiving meal — as long as you keep them slathered in liquids like mushroom soup to keep the meat from drying out.

Sixteen-time Grand Slam winner Jeff Bunke of Rushford, Minn., calls Osceolas “clearly the real prize” in the American turkey hunt and, like Clancy, he doesn’t mind sticking them in the oven.

Crews, who guides hundreds of hunters through his Cracker Heritage property each year — they’re after deer and boar, mostly — does his best to stay poker-faced when a visitor asks about getting a mere glimpse of an Osceola at his ranch late one afternoon.

If you’re trying to sneak up on him and you see him while he’s moving, you can forget about it, he’s already seen you,” Crews explains as he carves up a pork chop at the Pioneer Restaurant off sleepy Highway 17.

“Everything in the woods wants to eat it. Coyotes, bobcats. A bobcat is a turkey-eatin’ machine. Hawks and ’coons go after ’em when they’re young. So they’re wary.

“If a turkey could smell, you’d never kill him.”

Crews has a better idea for getting a photograph of an Osceola. He directs his guests along a county road twisting through a treeless landscape gutted and scabbed by phosphate mines. Quarry mounds transform the low horizon into rolling hills.

“You’ll never be quicker than they are,” Sid says. “You have to out-think ’em.”

Crews’ hunting buggy is a four-wheel drive half-ton Dodge pickup, circa 1999, with 36-inch TSL Super Swamper radials. It hauls two rows of seats affording hunters a 10-foot vista. Four dog cages are mounted in the rear, but only a puppy will make the trip into the swamp-walkers’ muddy lair today.

The high seats pitch and lurch like masts in a storm as Crews skirts pastureland and dog-fennel prairies and heads for the low-lying hammocks, where the wilderness pulls in tight and dank. He stops and explains this is typical of where the Osceola roosts, well above the water.

“A lot of other birds live in more wide-open country,” Crews says. “They can see you, but you can see them, too. But these woods are thick, and to come in here and try to outsmart that bird is really something.”

As the sky fades to lavender, Sid spots something way up yonder near an orange grove. He sights it with the scope on his .22 Magnum rifle. But the three grazing deer have been alerted to the buggy as well, and grow taut as exclamation points.

Crews explains no one is allowed to shoot from the buggy, lest the critters start bolting from mere association. The deer hold their ground as the truck moves out, headlights sketching the dark down the home stretch.

Crews lights a cigarette as he talks about the people who come from all over the nation to chase swamp-walkers at his preserve. There was one guy — he can’t remember the name, a senator from Utah, “tall fellow” — who dropped in a few years back.
Worst turkey hunter I ever saw,” Crews recalls. “He couldn’t quit talking on his cellphone.”

Crews and his son demonstrate a few tricks — a wooden box call, a slate call — essential for luring a gobbler into firing range.

The first gizmo issues authentic staccato cries when wrist-shaken; the latter emits saucy henlike clucks or purrs, depending upon how you etch the stylus on its surface.

Both are utterly useless now because mating season is a good four months off. Even during the season, a lousy technique will splash icewater onto even the most overheated avian libido.

“You get it wrong and they will get call-shy,” Crews says of a Miocene-era bird that has spent the past 20 million years of evolution dodging jaws, claws, clubs, arrows and bullets — all a long time before Thanksgiving came along.

“He’ll say, ‘I ain’t never seen a hen with a mouth that big before, and I ain’t going nowhere near it now.’ ”
http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20121121/for-turkey-hunters-floridas-osceola-the-rarest-prize

ClutchTheBear - 

Does it taste better?


no not at all