I have known many turkey hunters over the years and have guided many others. This spring I wasBrians Osceola Gobbler with Larry Stephens - Bull Creek Outfitters 3-19-14 fortunate to get to meet and hunt a guy from South East Georgia by the name of Brian Threlkeld.

We had a tremendous hunt here in Florida and Brian took a really nice Osceola with me that sported an 1 ¼” spur.

After spending 3 days hunting with Brian it became evident that we were cut from the same camo cloth when it comes to hunting and the woods. Our style of hunting is the same, We are both meticulous about the equipment, and we both have a deep appreciation for the new adventure, sights and knowledge that each hunt brings.

Brian and I hit it off right from the start and I expect will have many hunts together in the future.

After the our turkey season was over here in Florida Brian invited me to come up for a hunt on a tract he owns in Georgia.

Luckily Brian is only located about 3 ½ hours north of me and I stopped at his office on the way up to make our plan for the next morning.

Brian had already located a bird and from his sign knew he was using a few hundred yard stretch of black jack oak ridge that bordered a narrow creek drain. The drainage was predominately thick and impassible with a very small opening in the creek bottom.

The first morning we moved to a spot where Brian figured we would be in easy hearing of the roosted tom. As the light began to break to the east, Brian Owled and the Tom thundered a booming Gobbled in response.

We moved towards him owling periodically to course and distance him. He was in the tight creek bottom just as Brian had figured. There was a terrible thick cut over adjoining the back side of the creek and the turkeys had to come to the hill on our side.

We set up on the sand hill to the gobblers right on a little harrowed food plot strip. We had cut numerous hen tracks crossing the road in the dark and we surmised that they were roosting in the creek then moving up onto the hill to spend the day feeding and loafing.

I only gave the bird a few tree calls until it was time for a turkey to be on the ground. He never answered a single call! Brian was set up behind me about 30yds. After more than an hour of silence and no birds showing up, I moved over to Brian to discuss a new plan.

It was obvious the bird was not going to come to this spot. We were very close to the roost and he surly had moved away by now. Brian suggested we relocate a little and give the bird an hour to start up.

We gave him some time but it was getting late and he had not gobbled so we decided to slip into the creek bottom and have a look at where he was roosted.
It was going to take woodsman ship to kill this bird, calling alone would not get the job done.

  • Turkey Tactics!

Brian and I went back to hunt that creek bottom bird the next morning. We now knew his roost spot was a hole in the creek where the only option for him was to move from there onto the hill. We located a small game trail that we believed the turkeys were using to enter and exit the bottom and marked it for our return in the dark.

The next morning he was exactly where he was supposed to be. It was another Masters move! Brian stayed up on the hill and kept the bird gobbling so I could course him without calling and move in silently for the kill.

I sat quietly on the bank of the little stained, sand bottom creek, a mere 60 yds from the roosted tom, watching intently for his departure from his limb. By 8:30 AM I had not seen him pitch off the limb and Brian could only hunt until about 9:45 so I slipped out to discuss a new plan. Though I never actually saw the gobbler this was a great hunt. I was within a long shotgun shot of him for over and hour and a half, tight as a string the whole time. I just knew I was about to deal the death blow any second! Wow, that was a hunt!

In true turkey form that old tom made the only play possible, short of migrating out of there that could have kept him from getting shot……He sat right there on the roost until we just had to leave him due to our limited time to hunt that morning.

  • The 6 minute Turkey hunt!

Brian Threlkeld & Larry Stephens - Georgia gobbler 11 inch beard 4-27-14

Brian had heard another tom hammering that morning so with only 45 minutes left to hunt, we charged off after him. We pulled the truck down the road and Brian got out to try to strike the bird with his wing bone call. It took him several calls but he finally gobbled. He was not far either. We raced to the truck to grab our gear and took off.

We were on a sugar sand hill with scattered black jack oak, some scattered pine etc. with a ridge paralleling our movement. We stopped to call and course the bird after about 100yds and he responded immediately, just on the other side of the ridge. We barely had time to get set up.

I picked a group of 8-10” oaks and Brian dropped back to call. In just a few moments the bird topped the ridge in front of me within gun range. He turned slightly to follow the ridge and I immediately recognized that it was time. A quick shift of the camera and a load of #6 was on its way down range. Big gobbler down! I jumped up and ran to the flopping tom. Brian was standing where I had shot from when I came walking back up with the bird and a big smile. He looked at his watch…..”you know it’s only been 6 minutes since we struck this bird! That’s got to be a record!”

Big Georgia Gobbler taken by Larry Stephens hunting with Brian Threlkled

The big Georgia Eastern had a 11” beard and 1 1/8” spurs.

We are already planning some new hunting adventures for next year and to say that I am looking forward to it is quite an understatement.

Best of hunts,
Larry Stephens

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