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Dave Reisner took his bird on March 28th and John O'Dell harvested his on March 29th!

Dave and I decided to kick off Longbeard Madness 15 in late March in the Sunshine state. We were guests of our good friend Scott Crippen of White’s Tackle in Fort Pierce Florida. It has been a long off season/winter so Dave and I could not wait to hear our first gobbles of the year and officially start off the 09’ spring turkey season.

When we arrived in Florida we were both filled with nervous anticipation of a great hunt as Scott had been doing his scouting and had seen no less than 20 different longbeards on the ranch that we would be hunting. The first morning right out of the gate we called in 4 longbeards but Dave was hunting with his PSE and they stayed just out of bow range. The wind really picked up and essentially blew us out for the remainder of the day. The following day the wind had dissipated just enough for the gobblers to really cut loose. One tom gobbled at least 100 times which is a lot for an Osceola. That said we were having difficulty getting a bird into range. I told Dave it was probably because he needed to practice his calling! Finally in the afternoon we were in the game with three longbeards but they hung up at a fence just out of range. We were forced to let them walk away and then circle to try to get into position. Fortunately for Dave the plan worked as were able to get ahead of the birds. The problem was that when we looked up to see where the toms were, they were right in front of us so Dave had to act fast and he made a great shot as soon as I told him I had the gobblers in focus. It was a great turkey and now I was up to bat.

The next morning we set up in a place where we had seen turkeys each day. The morning started out slow as we did not hear a single gobble on the roost. We had confidence in the spot so we stuck it out. At 8:30 our patience was rewarded when a hen and a big strutter showed up about three hundred yards away. Long story short they closed the distance quickly. It was one of those dream scenarios that rarely happens where the turkey seemed to have read the script and was doing his best to be a movie star! Once he was at thirty five yards it was time to end the show and I harvested my Osceola longbeard. It was one of those hunts you will never forget.

Over the course of the few days that we were lucky enough to be in South Florida there were many interesting things that happened including seeing my first 12ft plus alligator and harvesting my best Osceola turkey so far. He had razor sharp one and a half inch spurs and over a 10” beard. All in all we had an awesome trip thanks to Scott and we are already making plans for next year!