provided by John Phillips
Mossy Oak Pro Ron Bachmann of Spring Hill, Florida, is living his dream of hunting and fishing fulltime since his retirement three years ago, after 20 years as a cable-company lineman. He’s been hunting turkeys for 21 years and has been on the Mossy Oak ProStaff for nine years. Florida’s spring turkey season opens at various times, according to where you plan to hunt – private and/or public lands, but Florida always offers the first spring turkey-hunting opportunities in the country. Florida is also the only place in the world where the Osceola subspecies of wild turkey is found, with 80,000-100,000 Osceola birds primarily concentrated in the center 2/3 of the state. Today a guide with Florida Outdoor Experience, Bachmann has hunted Rio Grandes, Merriam’s and Eastern wild turkeys too.
Although the Osceola usually will gobble good from the roost, once that bird hits the ground, if he gobbles even two more times, you're extremely lucky. My experience has been that Osceolas just don’t like to talk. I call Osceola turkeys “Silent Creepers.” Many turkey hunters give up on Osceolas, because these turkeys don’t come in screaming and talking. You have to be extremely patient with them and believe in what you can't see.
I call very softly to Osceolas with just clucking and purring. I tell my hunters to relax, and that we’re not going to overcall this turkey. The terrain we’re hunting in is the Florida flat woods with plenty of pines, palmettos and oak hammocks. We do have quite a bit of swampy land in this section of Florida, so there’s a lot of transition areas that create awesome habitat for our south Florida turkeys. Also, I've learned over the years to wear snake boots. Because the terrain is so thick, a hunter can “bump” (spook) these gobblers. The Osceolas sound much further away than they actually are. The foliage seems to eat up their gobbles. You may think that a turkey is 200 or 250 yards away, and he’s actually only 75 yards away. Last season out of 18 hunts, my hunters harvested 17 gobblers, and I had one client miss.