Goodness gracious what can I say it's the last hunt, it's hot, dry, and windy! Pray for the people affected by the drought and the winter blast in the north. Hun three is the last on our schedule, and a small one. With only five hunters and one guide, Darren it was a small party, but a fun one. Charlie and Cindy of course finished out cooking for us with more delicious food. What we are discovering and learning about our TX rio turkeys is that they are hard to hunt. They are either right up on top of you or just out of shooting dictance. Some of them are coming right in to calling and some of them are totally ingnoring calls. Gosh, I'm not a turkey hunter but this seems like it would make it very difficult.
This first hunter was a new guest to the Lodge. Dan Foster from just up north Grand Prarie, TX was in camp less than 24 hrs. Hmm, you say? Well shoot, Dan arrived at 1230, it was my job to show him around the home ranch and the land he could hunt while here for the next few days. While showing him around about 1000 acers we saw some birds, by 2pm he's all ready to get out and get to hunting. He had already devised a hunting stratagy on the drive, by no later that 3:30 he had already called in a brute of a tom and bagged him. That bird came right in to his calling, I guess he was cackling? Well it worked cause the tom came up close and personal. That Bird was 22.1#, 1x1 1/8"spr, and 8 3/4" brd. Pretty nice. He had time to do more hunting that evening but reallt didn't want his hunt to be over so soon. The very next morning about 8am Dan had tagged his second tom. 17.2# 1"spr, 8 3/4"brd. By 10am Dan was on the road to his deer hunting lease to put out protein.
Dan Foster Grand Prairie, TX
Dan Foster Grand Prairie, TX
The next two fella's both hail from MO. Glen from Arnold and Craig from Poplar bluff. These two guys have been friends and hunting buddies since the second grade. Not going to mention their age, but lets just say a long time. These guys were all about hunting, out of the lodge before breakfast was served, and on the hunt. They both tagged a nice tom. Glen's was 19.2#, 1" spr, 7 1/2"brd and Craigs was 17.8#, 1 1/16"spr, 9"brd. These guys can shoot birds at long distances, Craig shot his at 57 yards. They had seen lots of other toms but couldn't get them into the 70yrd distance that they feel is the max they prefer. They had birds right on top of them and spooked out. They mentioned that the hunting is much more difficult here than MO.
Glen Ellis Arnold, MO
Craig Smith Poplar Bluff, MO
The final two hunters on this hunt were husband and wife Mikkie Hernupont and Pat Flynn. Boy did they give those birds heck. On one evening hunt, they stepped out of the truck and decided to give a call and see if they could maybe locate a bird. The did get into some brush before, but as soon s Pat hit the call A tom hammered out a call about 10 yards in the tall grass in front of them, they said it about blew their socks off. They set up and tried to make it happen. As the bird rounded the bush he was almost eye to eye with Mikkie, he ducked and skeedaddled out of the country. There were a some other encounters with birds but it just wasn't meant to be for them. They'll be back next year for another go round.
Hunt #2 2022
Hunt #2 Begins with eight hunters, six returning and two newbies. What can I say, it's been hot, hot, hot with breezy days. The birds are slowly coming round and doing normal turkey things. Hens are breaking off and going to nest and the toms are strutting and so are the jakes. The jakes have been in abundance, I guess you'd call some of them "super jakes", they are strutting and gobbling like the big birds making it difficult for the hunters. Our guides Darren and Albert are working hard to make it happen for the hunters, and when the guest come back tired from the hunt Charlie and Cindy are refueling them with the best TX food around.
Charlie Eifert of Mason, OH wasted no time in tagging the first tom of the hunt. It makes perfect sense Charlie has been a guest of camp for many many seasons and know all about these TX Rio's. This bird was 20.3#, 8 3/8" brd, but ironically the tom did not have any spurs, not even bumps. Charlie also went on and tagged another bird 16.5#, 6 3/8"brd, and 3/4"spr.
Charlie Eifert Mason, OH
It was a new guest to Camp that had the next great success. Kevin Pulsinelli of Bethlehem, PA that scored two really exceptional toms on back to back morning and evening hunts the first full hunt day. The first bird was 20.5#, 1"sprs, and a whopping 11 1/8" brd. The second 18.3#, 3/4" spr, 8 1/8" brd. The next few day kevin scouted and hog hunted and enjoyed the camp life.
Kevin Pulsinelli Bethleham, PA
Kevin Pulsinelli Bethleham, PA
Now here is a familier face, it's Ed Ford from hunt #1. Ed has been hunting here for at least 12 seasons and has now harvested his 179 bird on this hunt. Traveling to at least 10 states and Mexico every year, Ed keep an extensive record of each bird ever tagged. We are hopping that next year, if all goes right for the rest of the season this year, that he will be tagging his 200th bird in our camp next season. The first bird Ed tagged on this hunt was what we have come to classify as super jakes. They are full on strutting, gobbling, and red head making a hunter believe it's the real deal. Ed blasted this guy and it was a "super jake" 13.2#, 1/2" spr, 5 3/4"brd. His second was 18#, 3/4"spr, 8 3/8"brd.
Ed Ford Dexter, GA
Ed Ford Dexter, GA
David Stallings of Raleigh, NC joined us as new guest this season. What can I say, he had the plague of being overrun with jakes on his hunt. Good for us next year, bad for him on this hunt. He did tag a bearded hen on the first evening out, her beard was 10.1" long. While on one of his "jake watching outings" he captues a photo of one on top of his decoy. Oh Yeah, how can I forget, on the first evening he also had the pleasure of a rattle snake under his popup blind, good thing it was zipped up.
David Stalling Raleigh, NC
Mike Kramer frm Lake Villa, IL was the las t hunter to bag a bird on the hunt. Mike is a veteran hunter to the Lodge. He has deer and trukey hunted for many years and was a good friend to Skipper. Mike scored a very nice bird on his hunt 19.9#, 1" spr, and 7 1/8" brd.
Mike Kramer Lake Villa, IL
Mike Kramer & Charlie Southworth
Well there were three hunters that were unable to seal the deal on a bird, opportunities were there, shots were fired, misses made, birds being uncoperative. I guess that's why its called hunting. All three will return again next season. Gobble Gobble
Hunt 1 2022
This hunt began on a beautiful west TX afternoon, but it did quickly warm right up to about 85. There were ten hunters and one non-hunter joining the party. A few veteran guests and several new comers to camp, and three of them were youths. We even did receive a thunderstorm that produced a rain shower. The Birds were on the move, they were leaving the roost early and on the ground before daylight already moving for the day, I'm sure they were trying to beat the heat and get to their shady spots and water. It did reach up to 95. In the afternoon the birds were heading to the roost late in the evening and you could here gobbles at the lodge after dark. The Toms were a bit skidish about coming to calls and decoys and kept just out of shot range for some of the hunters, but all had succesful hunts, be it they tagged a bird or not.
On the first evening one of our vetran guests, ED Ford from Dexter, GA tagged the first bird of the hunt. Ed is an avid turkey hunter, in fact the two birds he killed on this hunt make his 177th turkey. The first weighed in at 19#, his beard was 8 3/8", and the spurs 1 1/8". The second bird 16.4#, 4 5/8" brd, and spurs 1/4". Ed will be on the next hunt as well, check in next week for those updates.
Ed Ford - Dexter, GA 19.2#, 8 3/4" brd, 1" sp
ED Ford 16.2#, 4 1/2" brd, 1/4" spr
The next two hunters were a father and son duo from Scotsboro, AL. Kyle and his son Brody (11yrs) had a very successfull hunt. Kyle joined us at the lodge last season and we feel blessed that he decided to bring his son this year. It was Brody who had the best Tom of the entire hunt, and he was able to get both his birds with one shoot. Brody's birds: 23.2#, 8 3/4" brd, and both spurs 1 3/8" a monster west TX Tom, his second bird 18.6#, 8 3/16" brd, 1/ 1/8" spur.
Kyle is recovering from ACL knee surgury but was able to get around pretty good. He was just as succesful as his son Brody. He didn't kill two birds with one shot, but he did tag two real nice Tom's. The first 19#, 3/4"spr, and a double beard 13 1/4". Each bird that Kyle tags he makes on his leather carrying strap, I'd say he is a lucky hunter making great memories with his son.
Brody Thompson Scottsboro, AL
Kyle Thompson Scottsboro, AL - Double Beard
Kyle Thompson - Bird # 2
The next group of hunters is a family of three huters Mark Rich the father, his son Ellis (14) and another son Charlie (7). Mark and Ellis joined camp last year for the first time and decided to bring little brother this time. What a great great experience to have so many youths in camp at once; there was football throughing, basketballs bouncing, and just a lively enviroment. One the first morning hunt both brothers tagged birds. Ellis made a great shot on a nice tom that came struting in. His bird was 20.7#, 1 3/8"spr, and 9 3/8" brd. Next is Charlie's first ever turkey! While sitting on Dads lap there's a bird out front, he is so excited he tells his dad, "I can't feel my legs!" he gets a shot and tags his very first ever turkey. It's a 16# jake, 3 1/2" brd, and 1/2" spr. Charlie also tagged an additional jake 15.5#, 3 1/2" brd, 1/2" spr. Mark was so involved in making great memories for his boys that he es unable to tag his own birds, but he gets the dad of the year award!
Charlie Rich Jackson, MS
Charlie & Mark Rich - proud papa
Ellis Rich Jackson, MS
Nelson Copeland and his lovely wife Beverly joined camp from Moss Point, MS. Nelson was the hunter and Beverly is the moral support and travel companion. This is their first fisist to the Lodge. Nelson hunted and hunted with persistance and the birds really did give him a hard time, but he stayed with it an dwas able to tag a beautiful 18.9#, 1"spr, and 9 3/16" brd.
Nelson Copeland Moss Point, MS
Nelson Copeland Moss Point, MS
The last hunter to tag a bird was Tom Green of Garrestville, OH. We had to give Tom a bit of a razz because our county is also named Tom Green. BUt needless to say, Tom was another one who was ao persistant and did not give up on the toms that he started with on day one. He hunted and huted them darn birds and finally it paid off. He tagged a 20.2#, 1 1/8"spt, 93/9" brd Tom on the last day.
Tom Green Garrettsville, OH
All in all it was a good hunt, the birds we plentiful, but very hard to get to come in to calls and were skiddish. It seemed like the turkey weren't doing normal turkey things. We're sure with the drought that we are experiencing, it is effecting the normal patterns of the birds. There were two more hunters in camp James Pugh from Urbandale, IA and Matt Smith from Windsor Heights, IA. They both were very vigilant hunters but as the cards fell they were just unable to make it work out this hunt. We hope to see them for another try next year. The total bird cound was 8 Toms, and 3 jakes.