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Fred Lutger Reflects On Our 1st Grand Slam Bowhunt

Fred Lutger

Getting a grand slam of wild turkeys is quite an accomplishment. Doing it with a bow is an even greater challenge. Doing it with a bow in one season is a monumental task. But a double grand slam in one season with a bow is pretty ambitious to say the least. That was the challenge given to me by Robert Hoague. I was all for it.

Of course it all starts with Florida. If the two of us didn’t tag an Osceola apiece it just won’t happen because unlike the other 3 species there are no other states or seasons to hunt the Osceola. Our plans were made, we planned on hunting the earliest season in Florida. It opens first in south Florida. Our airline tickets were bought, car rented and I bought my 10 day non-resident hunting license and turkey permit online.

The night before our trip Robert called me. He was driving to Dallas for his early morning flight. He gave me the bad news. Our outfitter had changed his mind about the deal he previously offered us. His new deal wasn’t what was expected and wasn’t what we were told when we finalized the hunt. We mulled the situation over and decided not to go. A deal is a deal – Fred and I both agreed, a man is only as good as his word. We didn’t have a back up plan for the early season and got lucky on our first phone call.

Two weeks later Robert Hoague and I met at the Tampa airport and drove to Zolfo Springs, Florida to hunt with David Mills. Bowhunting wild turkeys, being what it is, is NEVER a slam dunk deal and I muffed my first close encounter. We were videoing. I had set our Double Bull blind up close to the decoys, too close. A big  Osceola gobbler came running in from my left but I didn’t see him until he was dead on the decoys, four steps from the blind. This was my first hunt of the year and I had been too sloppy with my setup. The Double Bull Matrix blind was opened too much. When I started my draw it immediately spooked the gobbler. It scurried off and got behind some orange trees and I never got a shot. I was disappointed but had plenty of days ahead to get the job done.

The next day Robert videoeded as I called two long beards across the neighbors pasture. This land belongs to another outfitter and he had hunters out that morning. My calling also attracted two hens from our side of the fence. They walked to my decoys. The two gobblers stayed on the neighbor’s side and walked parallel with the fence past my blind and decoys.

They offered a shot but I needed them on my side of the fence. When they crossed over they were two orange tree rows away and the trees prevented a shot. One gobbler strutting and put on a show. I could only watch. They followed the two hens into the orange grove. My gobbler action was over for the morning.

After the hunt I took a picture (below) of the wing drag marks the strutting tom left in the sand. It was a very exciting mornings’ hunt Robert captured on film.

Strut marks made in the Florida sand by the Osceola gobbler.

Things turned quiet the next few days. Our guides David and Sean took us to a new spot.That evening I killed my first wild turkey of the year, a really nice Osceola long beard.


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