The 2015 Spring Season is in the Books!
Final Tally for the 2015 Spring Season = 100% Success Rate!
It has been one hell of spring turkey season. I am still in amazement that we end up at 100% through one of the toughest years I can recollect. The weather fought us the whole way with rain, high humidity hot temp.’s and very few ideal mornings for gobbling. On top of that, gobbler sign was the weakest I had ever seen. Finding a gobbler track on the road….difficult…..strut sign….impossible!
More often than not the hunt went right down to the wire! I was a nervous wreck. All I could do was scout my butt off and take it day by day. We hunted through pouring rain, humidity you could cut with a knife and even roosted a bird in a thunder storm! There were days we drove over 300 miles and covered 4 different tracts of land. We didn’t just hunt, we attacked them!
What was the secret to our incredible success? Well, it was a number of things. I am sure there was some luck mixed in but the two factors I feel were key, were my relentless scouting/determination and a vest full of new tools. None of the calls I have hunted with in the past made the cut for 2015. Topping the list as most used was a new Mouth call I have started building called the “SIREN”. It is a 3 reed bat wing style call and a true KILLER! Also included was an assortment of custom calls from some of the finest calls makers in North America, including a trumpet from Craig Scott and Natural Addiction Custom Calls, a custom Slate with walnut and a Woodhaven birch striker, a Marlin Watkins short fiddle box and a long box crafted by Ralph Snodgrass.
Congrats to all the successful hunters. All were trophies but some were truly exceptional Toms! Two of the Birds killed will rank #86 and #97 in the NWTF record book. Outstanding….Two of the best Osceolas I have ever laid my eyes on.
The following are some comments from the hunters themselves……….
Hunt #1, Morgan Stephens, Public land youth hunt:
Morgan drew a permit for a youth hunt this year and I scouted us out a little spot where some birds were using. I called up this young tom for her along with a hen and she made a terrific shot!
Hunt #2, Morgan Stephens:
This hunt took Place on Morgans 13th birthday. We did not call anything up first thing so we moved off to the edge of the river swamp and struck a pair of toms. Called them both up and Morgan laid one Low!
Hunt #3, Jim Coffee, IN.:
This hunt with Jim took place on opening day. I set us up at a known roost pond but the birds were roosted in a small pond directly behind us. They pitched down right behind us and we had to let them walk off. Once they made up to move off we pursued. Caught up with them and Chris went to work on them. Called the whole flock back down a road they had already traveled. That don’t happen very often!
Hunt #4, Chris Coffee, IA, Pro Caller for HS Strut:
We killed this one in the pouring rain right off the roost, actually got to hear him gobble twice on the limb in the rain, incredible!
Best of luck the rest of the season. I will keep an eye on the updates via facebook and your website. Definitely looking forward to the video. I am excited to see how it all turns out. It will be cool to see Dad’s hunt and to get to listen to my own calling and see how I can make it better.
Hunt #5, John Perry, TX :
We didn’t get a weight on John’s tom but this was one fine bird! One of the best I have ever seen. A Bull Creek Custom Calls “SWEET SPOT” mouth call did the heavy lifting on this one.
“I booked a hunt for an Osceola with Bull Creek Outfitters for the first week of the 2015 season. I had several close calls with toms but finally closed the deal on the last morning of the hunt. This hunt finished my Royal Slam with a bang. The cabin was comfortable and Dalton did everything possible to make it a successful hunt. The morning of my harvest could not have been drawn up on paper differently…..foggy, hazy morning and five hens glided into a clearing I was set up in followed my the gobbler. He was one Monster tom with a 10 1/2” beard, 1 3/4” & 1 1/2” spurs!
Thanks for a great hunt,
John Perry, TX”
Hunt #6, Steve Elrod, TN :
Steve’s hunt was another one that went right to the wire and had lots of ups and downs. We roosted flocks of turkeys only to have them land in our lap the next morning with no gobbler among them. Called up another gobbler within gun range but thick saplings prevent a shot. We finally killed at 10 in the morning on the last day. I struck the tom in a clear cut and it was all over in 8 minutes. Steve scared me to death when he missed the first shot only to dump him on the run at 38 yds! The bottom drooped out of the sky within 2 minutes of the harvest.
I want to thank you again for a great hunting experience in Florida. Besides being able to complete my
Grand Slam with a gorgeous Osceola, I thoroughly enjoyed spending three days with someone who shares
my passion for turkey hunting and just spending time in the great outdoors. Despite the adverse weather that included fog, mist and rain, as well as a bunch of birds with lockjaw, we were able to kill a beautiful tom, enjoy a lot of time together, and swap a lot of stories. I will never forget setting up against a sapling the size of a broomstick while you called that gobbler 250-300 yards out of the cutover. Of course, we had a little drama there at the end, but that just added to one of the biggest thrills in my turkey hunting career. Normally, the killing part is not really necessary for a successful and enjoyable hunt, but with a three day window to try to complete a Grand Slam, that kill was certainly one of my most satisfying in 27 years of turkey hunting.
Good luck to you and your guests the rest of this year. I am already looking forward to doing it again next year, the Good Lord willing. Feel free to provide my contact information to anyone who would like to hear more about my hunt with you in Florida. There is no way to describe the entire three days in a few sentences, but I enjoy talking turkey with anybody who loves it as much as I do.
Hunt #7, Brian Trelkeld, GA :
Brian is a tremendous turkey hunter and really loves to hunt public land. I helped him get through the quota system here and he was able to draw a special quota hunt. I pre-scouted for him and had 3 excellent places lined up upon his arrival. We heard two different birds the first morning but couldn’t get anything going except a gobbling Jake that we called up. That afternoon Brian roosted on his own and mistakenly marked a hen for a gobble when it flew up to roost. We inserted by moon light and got right in front of him, i mean HER, and waited for daylight. Boy was Brian shocked to realize his mistake! We moved on to a spot where Brian had seen a gobbler and hen the afternoon before. Gobbler tracks in both directions indicated he was living right there. We slipped down the fire break calling with no response until we came to a T. Brian called and a booming gobble came from close behind us. Before Brian could get his gloves and all on the bird appeared in the fire break and He had to attempt a long shot. The bird flushed and we were left to stand there cursing our luck! This would be the only hunt where a gobbler was not taken.
Hunt #8, Jeffery Hokenson, NY :
Jeff and I had a great time, but we did struggle a little. Had a bird coming to us one morning only to have it ruined by a pair of coyotes. Killed a coyote that came running to me calling the next morning. I roosted a strutter for the last mornings hunt. Jeff was in disbelief when I related my plan for the hunt and that we would be positioned 75 yds in front of the bird come daylight with nothing between us but air!. We would kill him without ever having made a call! All Jeff could say was, “really!” Just trust me Jeff! The tom glided down and landed to our hard left, I think the shot was 38 yds.
I am writing to thank you for a wonderful hunt. I have been on a number of guided hunts over the years, but your hunt was one of the best. I so much appreciated your knowledge of turkeys as well as the terrain we were hunting. You were true to your word doing everything you could to get a nice gobbler in front of me. Your expertise and passion for turkey hunting was contagious. On top of all that, I was fortunate enough to harvest a very nice Osceola. This was my second step toward accomplishing the Grand Slam. I would very much love the opportunity to hunt with you again. Thank you ever so much!
You’re the best,
Hunt #9, Chuck Gibson, OH :
Chuck and I found this bird early one afternoon and My good friend Rick Edwards roosted him for us while we chased another bird at a roost site. It was the hunt of a life time! I think it took an hour and 10 min. to play out and before it was over both of Chucks arms and begs were asleep. The tom was in full sight the entire time and we got to watch as he serviced several hens. He was in full strut the entire time and gobbled as much as one turkey possibly could. Finally, the hens left him and Rick and I call him to Chucks gun. Shot him at 15 yds.! It was a sight to see! He was a magnum sized tom to boot. He had 10 3/8″ beard and 1 5/8″ & 1 1/2″ spur! really sharp. heavy weight also.. 19.62#
“Larry, That was One awesome hunt. The bird gobbled a hundred times or more, breed two hens, strutted for an hour , and walked in front of my gun barrel at 15 yards. Just doesn’t get any better! Thanks again, Chuck”
Hunt #10, Dennis Griffin, GA :
I have seen more than my share of Osceolas in my life but this was one of the best I have ever seen to date. I had gone out on a little scout mission the evening before Dennis arrived and saw two different gobblers on a powerline. Dennis and I set up for one about daylight but he was several hundred yards across the property line. He gobbled great but there were hens involved so we packed up to try to go strike the other bird. That didn’t pan out so we went back to the first tom and re-set up out in a dew berry brier patch with our decoys in a grass road. We had barely gotten settled in and made a couple calls when I spotted a fan coming down the road! The tom was so excited I could not break him out of his strut for the shot and had to give Dennis the green to shoot with him in a medium strut. He was a true Magnum and will rank #86 in the NWTF record book! He had an 11 3/4″ beard, 1 7/16″ & 1 3/8″ spurs and 20 lbs. 9 oz.
“Larry Stephens by far knows more about turkeys and the Area he is hunting than anyone I know of. Felt like I knew him for 10 years after the first phone call.
Oh yeah he put me on the biggest bird I will ever see much less shoot. All on the first morning.
Thanks for the trophy of a lifetime and my first ever listing in any type of hunting record registry.
Will definitely return. And highly recommend.
Dennis Griffin, GA.”
Hunt #11, Veronica Yates, NC :
This was a classic Larry Stephens Osceola Hunt here. I stopped by to check a trail cam near a known roost late one afternoon with Veronica and her husband Andrew. The card revealed a mature tom had been there 30 minutes ahead of us! I knew he would be roosted close by. the next morning we were set up in front of the roost but the gobbler roosted off to the right from the hens about 75 yards. He gobbled and strutted and gave us a little show before the hens made up to head out to feed. As he passed by I stopped him for the shot. Veronica made a great shot at 43 yds and harvested he first turkey. It was an honor to be there to witness it! Another one falls to my Bull Creek SIREN call and a custom slate!
“My husband Andrew and I are both new to turkey hunting and have not been able to harvest a turkey until we went hunting with Larry. Not only did we learn a ton of helpful stuff about calling and tracking we got a ton of tips on how to be successful turkey hunters. On the second day Larry put me on a great bird and I was able to get my first turkey and first kill with a gun. On the third day my husband got his first turkey in an amazingly short hunt. After learning all this I am looking forward to taking all this back to NC and harvesting more birds! A bonus to all this was the great high quality photos and video of the hunts! We had a blast with Larry and next time we do a hunt in Florida we will be sure to look him up!
Veronica & Andrew Yates, NC”
Hunt #12, Andrew Yates, NC :
I had been keeping tabs on a couple Gobbler That were using a turn road along a big canal to strut. I took Veronica and Andrew on a little afternoon scout mission and just happened to catch the pair out on road as a light shower started. I pushed the pair down the road with my truck to a wooded block where I wanted them to roost. by the time it was over it was a full blown thunder storm. We watch the gobblers from a quarter mile until it was roost time and they crossed a small ditch to fly up. We were waiting on him come first light and with a little persuasive calling from my SIREN call and a custom slate, his fate was sealed! He was completely sold, hook line and sinker. He actually came in and strutted for the invisible hen he knew was there somewhere. He turned out to be a great 4 year old tom with 1 1/4″ spurs, a 10 1/4″ beard and 16.76 lbs.
Hunt #13, Tristan & Crystal Pendergrass, FL :
This one just and awesome classic hunt! Tristan and Crystal met me at my office in Bunnell at 5:30 AM and we headed off into the darkness looking for one more willing gobbler. At gobble time, Tristan was able to hear a faint gobble about 1/3 of a mile distant. With no other birds close by we headed that way. The tom was roosted about 125yds behind a small green field and gobbling at every call I made. What I did not know was there was a dim trail that looped around us and came into the field directly behind us at 29yds. When I called and he gobbled directly to our right at about 50yds I quickly had Tristan spin around 180 deg. Moments later we could he the drumming of an approaching tom. Tristan had to make a little move for the shot and at 18yds the tom picked up on it and started putting. I had already given him the shoot signal 3 times and in a panic said “SHOOT HIM NOW!” and finally got the reaction I was looking for. Boom! Another monster trophy down! My custom slate and Bull Creek SIREN did it again.
The tom was 18.78 lb, had an 11 1/2″ beard and 1 5/8″ and 1 9/16″ spurs! A MAGNUM!
Tristan met me at 5:30 AM and walked out at 1:30 PM with a magnum of a Turkey and a finished tail mount! You can’t beat that!
Hunt #14, Larry Stephens, FL :
Well, I finally got to hunt one for myself with just a couple days left in the season. I had not had a chance to scout and only knew of one mature tom still living. Unfortunately, he was on an adjoining property and the first morning I hunted him I realized the fence was a field fence with no way for the birds to get to me. I had him and his 3 hens so fired up they were about to blow a gasket but would not fly the fence. He tried to pull a fast one on me and relocated that afternoon 3/4’s of a mile away to the back of a clear cut. When he did not gobble where he had been the morning before I knew where I would find him. I took me until 8;00 AM to get near him as I got side tracked picking up some flint chips from an old indian camp site. The hunt was 1:48 from the time I set down, too pull of the trigger! It was like taking candy from a baby! The tom had a 10 1/4″ Beard, 1″ spurs, 18.07 lb., Ammo- Winchester Longbeard XR 3″- #6, Call – Bull Creek Custom Calls – “SIREN”….again!