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While spring was taking its sweet time to find Pennsylvania, it certainly was in full swing in Florida! I had the pleasure once again to head down and hunt those coveted Osceola turkeys. This year I had the opportunity to hunt with good friends Bobby Mathews, Chris Galavis and Merritt Fore again and I couldn’t wait to get there. Chris had located some birds on one of his ranches and they had not been hunted. We were super excited to get in there early and see if they were still working the same area. Bobby and Merritt were going to do the majority of calling and we had a perfect setup.

We eased into the blind a little late, but the fog had us covered. Well of course the birds didn’t read the script. We were waiting to hear them gobbling from the swamp straight in front of us, but of course they were all roosted behind us. We had one good bird gobbling and we hoped he worked our way. Just as the birds were flying down, we had a herd of cows move right on us. I thought they were going to blow the whole thing. Merritt was positioned behind me and saw the bird working our way. After some good calling, Merritt said he was running in! Just then, the cows decided to put a stop to everything. One of them actually started to chase the gobbler. Fortunately, he saw the decoys and pushed through. My heart was hammering! He worked right into the strutting gobbler decoy and Chris gave me the signal. I would like to say I crushed him right there, but all I can say is “Boom…Boom, Boom”!!!! I couldn’t believe it! I had the bead buried on his wattles at 25 yards. He got a little spooky and started to leave when I shot. No excuses, I blew it!

After a quick look, I dejectedly made my way back to Bobby, Chris and Merritt. We reviewed the footage and saw that my shot actually hit much lower than expected. I had borrowed the gun from Chris and had not patterned it. My bad!!! We were all standing there talking about what happened (Yeah, they were giving me some grief) a bird gobbled right behind our blind! I couldn’t believe it. We all dove across the field from our blind and hid the best we could. Merritt crawled back and started calling. Just then two longbeards came right in the same way the first bird did and raced to the decoys. I said a really big prayer, aimed above the head on the bigger bird and crushed him at 30 yards!!! I just couldn’t believe my luck. Like I said in the interview afterwards, “I certainly didn’t deserve this bird, but I’ll take luck any day”. It was an awesome hunt!!! Big thanks go out to Bobby, Chris and Merritt and I look forward to doing it again!!!