A Tom & Tee Trip in Florida

With turkey season in full swing, my first hunt of the season took me to Florida as that is the only state in our Union where Osceola turkeys reside.  That is important as I am working on a ‘grand slam’ in turkey hunting where the hunter can harvest each of the four sub-species of turkeys: Eastern, Merriam, Osceola and Rio.  I am half way through my slam and so off to Florida.

I went with a fellow hunting enthusiast who happens to be one of the men that I play golf with twice a week and is part of the Magpies.  Consequently, we took our golf clubs, too.  The plan being get our turkey quickly and then play golf for the next day or two.

Unfortunately for us Florida was just coming off a late season cold snap and that effects the toms from gobbling.  The only good news was our guides said that in their experience it is not worth hunting after 9:30 am as the turkeys disperse after morning mating so the chance of getting a turkey are practically non-existent so we went off to the golf course each day.

One of the great things about hunting is just being out in nature and taking in the flora and the fauna.  While we each hunted separately with our individual guides, we saw bald eagles, wild boar (some of which were white), deer, lots of Spanish moss hanging off ancient oak trees (and others), swamps and marshes but fortunately no snakes as it was too cold for them.

Finally on the last day I had a chance to shoot a turkey but circumstances were against me. I was positioned at the base of a tree that had a lot of vines hanging down in front of me, which didn’t have leaves on them yet but were very distracting.  When a turkey came into view it was positioned behind the vines.  As I had been patiently waiting for him to stop gobbling and come out to find the hen, I waited for him to take 3 more steps forward and come out from behind the vines I was looking at him through.  Alas, real hens called him from another direction and I couldn’t get myself to take a shot that was in my mind a low percentage shot.

Later, the guides and my friend all told me that I could have and should have taken the shot. I did the ‘hit my forehead with my palm’ move and said, “Now you tell me!”

As we started to drive him I told my friend Jack that we needed a name for our excursion.  Another trip I had gone on for trout and pheasant is known as a ‘Cast & Blast’.  After a couple of false starts I decided on Toms & Tees. And so it has become.

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