On this week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman, Mitch sit's down and reflects with his cousins Jacob and Joshua Mengel on the opening day of spring gobbler. Mitch was invited to hunt at their cabin in Potter County for the opening weekend of PA's season. We dive into our thought process of approaching the rainy openingday, splitting into the areas we wanted to explore.For Mitch, this was solely based on e-scouting and conversing with Jake and Josh. From here the boys recount the events from first light until noon in each area - all with exciting encounters and lessons learned. Mitch however, hid the lucky horseshoe in his backpack and was able to find a lone mountain top gobbler before the buzzer ran out at quitting time. What an awesome weekend, we can't wait for the next one! Enjoy!
[00:00:00] Hey, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Podcast. I'm your host, Mitchell Shirk, and I got a treat for us today. I'm sitting here in my basement with some of my hunting partners here from this past weekend on our successful Turkey hunt. I'm sitting here with my cousins Jacob and Josh Mangle.
Guys, thanks for thanks for coming over. How you been? What's going on? Yeah. Thanks for having us, Mitch. We're real busy in the working space, but it's nice to get away to Turkey camp for the weekend. Yeah, you better believe that. I was looking forward to that for a long time. You and me both.
I had that date marked on the calendar for quite some time. The funny part about it was, so like we all went up to my camp for Muer season. We were up the, I think it was the last weekend of state statewide is when we did did our group hunt at camp with the Flint [00:01:00] locks and I think it was like, so we would've went home Sunday.
And Tuesday, Jake texts me, Hey, I'm just getting head count for opening weekend of Turkey season. We're gonna have a group of guys go to. I'm like, dude, I barely got off of the camp hunt a deer season. And you're already worried about tur? I don't, my mind doesn't work like that. I don't think about turkeys that quick.
Once it's here, I think about turkeys. But you guys have been texting me jacked about that for so long. What added to that was we really got into Turkey sign in deer rifle season and bear rifle season. So we, we were already getting excited about it then almost. Not necessarily planning camp, but we had an idea where there was a good flock of turkeys to try to get into.
Yeah. And that's an area that you were pretty adamant about learning more, not just from the Turkey end of things, but also because it has your peaked interest for this fall too. Yeah, absolutely. There's the country up there is so big, you gotta do everything in your power to make such a big [00:02:00] area just a little bit smaller.
And the more time we spend up there, the smaller and smaller it gets. And to what Jake said this past hunting season, deer season, we really got into some Turkey sign. We both saw flocks while we were deer hunting. And not that we never saw a sign before, but it was just at that amount that I started thinking about it and Oh, absolutely.
Just like Jake, that's where my head's going last day of deer season, then I'm thinking Turkey. No I used to be like that. I talked about it before I think it was when I didn't have as much busy stuff going on in my day-to-day life. Then I would be thinking, Okay, deer season's over.
Now it's three months till Turkey season. And that's not really the case for me anymore. I think just because I got so much going on and I think I've just submerged myself so much in the world with deer hunting. But I do you get into sometime in April and turkeys make me do weird things.
Think weird things. So I was excited. I was, like I said, it was, we were back and forth on the fence with everything with going. And not that you guys were on the fence, but [00:03:00] I was on the fence about going because had all kinds of stuff going on with that house project and everything else, and decided to go, which I'm glad to.
And we want to recap our weekend here. Before we get any farther with this I just wanna leave a big shout out to our sponsors of this show. And there are art one make our mention out here to Radix Hunting. Guys, if you're in the market for a trail camera, if you're looking for quality, and I'm talking quality images, quality video quality response time on cell cameras.
Guys, look no further than radix hunting. They have everything you would want and more from that end of the spectrum. And I can tell you right now if if your place that you guys have your camp at was anything that I would be deer hunting at, man, I would've loved. There was some of the areas that I went to.
I was thinking, man, I'd be driving a camera here. I'd be driving a camera here. I'm looking at my maps. I'm like, yeah, I would have this ridge covered. I'd have this knob covered. I'd have I this cov because I saw pretty much deer sign. The, I'm always thinking deer. I, it's just all the, the whole time, like I'm, I don't even [00:04:00] deer hunt up there with you guys, but as I'm walking, I'm like, man, I think if I was gonna hunt early archery here, I would I would want to, I would want to set up this way and access this way.
And I'm thinking, man, cameras would be so nice to have. And I keep thinking too I, I want to get up to my camp this spring Turkey season. Cuz I'd like to get up and. And pull cameras up there that I've had soaking since October. And I'm looking forward to coding this area that I have on my mind with with more cameras.
So if you guys are in the market for that, this spring is now a great time. I, me, I'd love to do that. I'd love in the areas where I don't get to spend that much time and I'm gonna be going away and just wanna let a camera soak. I really like doing that. So if you guys are thinking that same thing check 'em out.
If you guys are looking for something local here in Southeast Pennsylvania and you're looking for a place to get these trail cameras, you want to check out Radis, get your hands on 'em go to Little Mountain Outfitters in Richland, Pennsylvania. They're a dealer and they're also a fantastic shop.
I was just at Little Mountain [00:05:00] Outfitters not that long ago. I got my bow ret strung and I had to, I have to give Devon a hard time a little bit cuz you know, I had my my older I shoot an older bot tech. And it's got a lot of character wear on it, on the riser and on the limbs and stuff. And he's I don't know, I think that bows got aged out a little bit.
He's I think it's time for you to, upgrade a little bit here. He said, I got the perfect bow for you. And I said, oh yeah. And it was it was a really nice looking prime and it was everything that I like. It was longer axle. Axle was a 36 inch bow, I can't remember the name of it. It was one of the newer ones and it was a solid black color and I always liked those.
And he's yeah, I really bent your arm because I know that's exactly the kind of bow that you would go for. And he goes, and not as many people would go for that. Everybody wants a camo or a shorter axle. Axle. So if that sounds like something that you guys would be into and you would like to go and buy a 36 inch axle to axle boat that's solid black and it's a brand new prime check 'em out at Little Mountain Outfitters.
I'm sure Devon would love to sell you that bow. But no, seriously, check them out because you've [00:06:00] got Radix. They actually have a radix soft sided blind. That you can check out. Radix offers a number of soft sided and hard blinds. And that's a big thing. We got an episode coming up here in a few weeks talking about blinds and positioning and using them in strategies for deer hunting.
So I'm looking forward to bringing you that. But yeah. And I think with that's a perfect rollway into into our conversation here in Potter County. Yeah. Leading in though with trail cameras, you guys started running some trail cameras up at your camp. That's what I was just gonna say.
Yeah. We just started fooling around with it a little bit, but we wanna play with cell cams, which might be a little tricky depending on where we can put them in regards to service. But I was surprised how much service I had in the area. You did, like when I, so the first spot I went to in the morning I was looking on the map for, past few months, and I was eess scouting, thinking, where do I want to go?
And I was looking at it from a deer hunting perspective, thinking I wouldn't mind checking this specific area out. And I thought they'll serve two purposes. I'll get away [00:07:00] from the road, hopefully I'll get away from people. And it looks like it had everything I want for deer hunting.
Maybe I'll come up and deer hunt with you guys at some point and walked up this hollow. And I probably walked, how far do you think it is to the top of hollow? I'm like three quarter of a mile maybe. That's a long one. Yeah, it's a long hollow. And I get to the top of it and get to a logging road and I looked, I'm like, there's a tree stand.
And I looked at the, there's a cell camera pointing right at me, so waved at the cell camera to put a thumbs up. I'm like, that set a good spot, buddy. I'm like I just didn't expect that. Yeah. Yeah. And talk about a way to make those big woods, like I said, just a little bit smaller. Finding those spots and scouting the spots first off, and then finding those places.
You wanna put those cameras that's huge up there because I think a lot of people don't realize how much woods are up in, in northern pa if you've never hunted up there. You can get lost up there. Just trying to find the area that you're looking for. And that comes with time too, the more time you spend up there.
But there were some areas that we looked at on the map too that I was looking at 'em like, this is bigger even than where my [00:08:00] camp is at. Because I was looking where roads were and I was like, man, there is a long distance between run one road and the next. And even where I hunt, it'd be couple, 60, 70,000 acres of state forest land.
And then there's game lands adjacent to that, right? Like some big woods. There's still a lot of roads that you can navigate through. So you're never. You're never miles from the next road. Like you might have a pretty, pretty good walk, but you can find a dirt road somewhere that navigates through that block of timber.
And like there were places up there with you that was like, wow, you could really get yourself lost up here. Which I'd be all right. Oh, yeah, sometimes that's what I was going for. Going up to your can. Oh, yeah. Yeah. But you did get service quick because when I first, when I climbed the first hill of my hunt, I just got to the top and I happened to check my phone thinking I might get it.
And I already had a message from you and I, that's when I sent a message to you, Jake, as well. And then that's, I didn't get your message till two hours later. Yeah. Oh [00:09:00] really? You guys didn't have services at the same time? I was down low. Oh, you were down low. Yeah. So one, one thing too I kinda wanna go back.
So you guys, you talked earlier like this one area you started hunting last year in deer season, had some good luck. You saw some deer. I think you bear hunted there too. When they We did twice. Yeah. And you saw deer. It was it. You saw deer in turkeys. Like you had you had multiple encounters throughout fall hunting seasons with just game in general.
Great sign. Great sign. So it's just one of those things where you wanted to investigate, cuz like up until that point, had you guys ever stepped foot in that specific area? Yeah. Surrounding you for hunting? I hadn't. I don't know that you had either. Never physically, it was a location that I first started looking at because of our grandfather.
Okay. Who knows those mountains arguably better than anyone that I know because he's been hunting 'em his whole life and. Picking his brain a little bit about the places that historically were good for game in general, but then turkeys as well. He mentioned this area. So we went and checked it [00:10:00] out last two, was it two deer seasons ago that we first went up there, or was just this past season?
I think the first time we went up there was muzzle loader or archery bear This past season. That's right. In October. That's right. Kinda scouting around just doing your thing. Yeah. But at that time is when you'd seen a bunch of turkeys right? In the fall. Yeah. So going ahead, like you guys had gone up, like you were up a little bit pre-season this spring and kind of scouted around when you had time.
We were I mean we hit just about every season we could. So we were up for both bear seasons. We were up for deer rifle. I don't believe anybody from our immediate group got up in archery. Yeah. Some of the other members of the camp might have. But yeah, we got up there a decent amount this fall. And you were also up there in April prior to Turkey season?
We did a work weekend. Okay. We were April there. In April. That's right. Didn't work the whole time, cuz we got out and Yeah, that's right. I got, actually I was up in September as well and I got out in the woods a little bit. So going in like this was [00:11:00] an area you guys wanted to spend time on.
We were back and forth cuz so when we went to camp you had some, you're the one guy the Turkey whisperer himself decided to not go Turkey hunting with us. And that's your youngest brother? Isaac. I call him the Turkey whisperer cuz man, I'm sitting with two of my three cousins here and you wanna talk about some of the craziest Turkey hunting experiences I've ever had.
I've taken Isaac, who out of the three of you. I know he really enjoys hunting, but he's probably he's just the least excitable of the three of you when it comes to stuff. He loves to do it, but it like, when you was that fun, he was like yeah. It was good. Yeah. I know. He has fun.
He's just his reaction to it is so funny. And he doesn't stew on it for weeks and weeks beforehand. The way that Jake and I do. So like, when we went up this weekend, first of all, opening day was windy. Oh, rainy. Oh, you got down the whole time. Then the temperature hit and the fog lifted up out of all the bottoms.
I don't know if you guys have [00:12:00] that. Yeah. A little bit of that. Yeah, a little bit. Yeah. But that miserable weather. Yeah. And he was the night before. I'm like, are you going out? Eh, we'll see. Yeah. So he didn't even get outta bed and neither did the rest of the game.
Yeah, they were more up for fishing, just hanging out with the guys and stuff, which is fine. But, we got up that morning and I was thinking, I was gonna go by myself. And then we were, it was just the three of us then, cuz originally you, you might've had partners with you and you might've had someone with you.
And so we sat in camp. We were like, why should we hunt together? And we were like back and forth should we go stuff? And then it ended up we just decided we were all gonna go our separate ways and hunt on our own. Yeah. Now you guys hunted the similar area, like you were like, we parked our vehicles right next to each other.
Okay. Yeah. We went down in, at the same spot, climbed up the same ridge, and then I headed north and he headed south just on that ridge. We both walk, walked north from the road and he went a little east and I went a little west. Okay. [00:13:00] But it was still pretty, pretty spacious back there. Oh yeah. We didn't see each other until we got back to camp then.
Didn't see each other and didn't hear any of the same birds even though we got, we both got on birds, but I, like I said, I think you needed a Turkey whisper with you that morning. He didn't get out of bed. That's what we needed. Yeah. He's, I had to finish that because the Turkey whisper goes, he, I, Isaac has hunted turkeys with me.
Three times. Three for three baby. And he shot three birds. Now you, Josh, I, you went with me three times. Yes. And I think you killed two. Yes. Almost went three for three as well. Yeah, we came close. That was right. That was at your camp? That was at my camp. At your camp? That was at my camp. But most of, I think most of them were like when you guys were juniors.
Yes. And I was older. Yes. I wasn't a junior so I took you guys up and Jake, you haven't been, you just the happenstances and stuff going on in your life. Like you just never were able in the springtime to go Turkey hunting that much. I went with you once, one time two years ago. And the most actually we had, was.
You were [00:14:00] full draw in that 70 yard coyote. But he never stopped jogging. No, he didn't. That's right. I forgot about that. Yeah, that was the worst part because the night before I saw birds, heard birds and thought and put, we were in that area. Oh, really? Didn't, we didn't even, we didn't see or hear a bird until noon.
Like it was just the weirdest thing. But no, Isaac is just like the luckiest Turkey hunter I've ever met. His first gobbler he, we literally had 14 gobbler. It was like a group of five Jakes and then That's crazy. And then a group of nine turkeys that had seven Jakes and two long beards.
Met in a field 50 yards away, out of range, fought for 20 minutes, made more sounds and commotions than I've ever experienced in my entire life. And that followed up with the 15th bird hearing, the commotion coming in to range, and then he killed it. And then, he's killed he killed two others.
And we had the other couples. And then, you were pretty fortunate killing, killing birds. So like I was, when we were at camp that morning I knew you guys wanted to go to this [00:15:00] specific area and I knew you guys also, like you guys take a lot of pride going to camp. Like you, like to go to camp, you like to do it on your own.
And there's a little bit of enjoyment when that satisfaction doing yourself. And I get that too. But there's a part of me that was like, man, I want to go with Jake and see if I can call one in for him. Yep. Yeah. And I was actually, I was at the mindset, like you said, that I was taking one of the, one of the other guys in our crew out that day who ha, who has a little less experienced Turkey hunting, Turkey calling and that, this would've been my first experience really trying to call one in.
Because like you said, the only two birds I've ever shot. You called in, cuz that was years ago. It's right, it's been quite some time since I shot a Turkey. And so we sat down there and we started talking about it and I said, I was just thinking, man, I could go with Mitch and if I went with Mitch it would be very successful.
But I really, I don't know about that, but I really want to try to get one myself. And we got close. Yeah. You guys had a good [00:16:00] morning. So I'm curious Jake, tell me a little bit about your morning because you heard birds throughout the morning I think, didn't you? It took me a little bit to get into 'em.
Okay. But were we parked, the road is parallel to. The valley, it's a really large valley that we deer hunted the other side. And even in deer season, we accessed it from a completely different spot. But we knew that we were gonna be much more mobile with turkeys and we're I was going to work to use cardinal directions.
I was gonna work west as the mountain, went away from the road and work that top of the ridge and just call until I eventually got down to the bottom and I was just gonna make it up as I went from there. That was the only thing I knew for certain I was gonna do. Then I didn't do that. I got down a little bit off the road and the clear cut, or at least the shelter wood cut went way further along that mountain.
Then I guess you can say I was aware. I knew it was there, but only from the other side. I never actually set foot in it. Okay. So I got down into it and then [00:17:00] pretty quickly wanted to get in the other side instead, where I transitioned from the pines and the bottom up to just regular open woods on the other side.
It got thicker on the top, but the side hill was pretty open and so I went all the way down to the bottom, went straight up the other side, got to the top, called and milled around in there a little bit back and forth cuz I didn't know if anything was down in the Pines from that morning and I could coax it out of it.
Eventually up in there I got service. I was looking at my OnX and all of a sudden a text came from Josh who I knew was at least a half a mile up, probably closer to a mile up the valley from me and said he heard two gobbling the next valley over. Okay. If I would cross over and Then I'm real far from the cars.
So I had no idea what time he sent that. That came through to me at nine 15. So Josh, you actually heard birds in there morning, earlier than night? I heard birds before He did? Yeah. Okay. You also got to that valley way early. I did. I was hoping to get up there in the morning and I didn't even call when I heard the first one.
Oh, you heard 'em on their own? I heard him on his own down in the [00:18:00] bottom of the valley as soon as I got to the top, and just like Jake said, that's another valley further away from the vehicle. So I was sitting there thinking about it for a second cuz we were way back in there. But yeah I went down after him and it ended up being too a, along with a hen and got down in the direction of 'em calling along the way and man, they were hot.
They were firing off each other. I wasn't calling much. They were doing it all by themselves. So I kept cutting the distance. It turns out when I get to the bottom of the valley, they're just across the bottom with beaver dams in between them and I for the whole length of the valley going up.
So that's where my dilemma started to set in. So was the first gobbler, were they on either side of the beaver dams you think? Or they were still on that other side? You just, I believe they were both on. The opposite side of me from the beginning, but they weren't together. But as I progressed down the hillside toward them, I, and I heard the hen, it sounded like all three of them were slowly coming together.
And by the time I got down to 'em, the two gobblers were right [00:19:00] next to each other. And you worked them for quite a while? I worked them, yeah. I worked them for maybe 45 minutes, just really trying to pinpoint their location, pulling up the maps to see what my best course of action could be to try to get on these birds because they, I could hear 'em.
They were just walking side by side. They're just up in the edge of the woods, cuz the bottom of this valley was open maybe 80 yards wide, wide open. So they were just up in the edge of the woods cruising back and forth, waiting for me to come across to them, which I ended up trying. It just didn't end up working out.
Yeah. That's so hard because I've tried to move on birds like Earl, especially early in the season we're like, I betcha we're 10 days ahead as far as leaf out right now. We're further ahead right now, I think, than normal, but like moving on birds in the beginning of the season is tough.
I've tried moving on birds toward the end of the season and still got busted be just because like I know some of those places upstate Pennsylvania, where you've just got the same age open [00:20:00] hardwood forest that just goes from miles and miles, right? Like it's, there's just not a lot of understory vegetation to cover.
So then you gotta use terrain. Like I remember moving on a bird one time, it was Memorial Day weekend and yeah, I was probably 150 plus yards from that bird and thought I had enough cover in between 'em and I heard put and way they went. And it's, yeah probably the same thing cuz you had tried to go up the valley and cut across and make another settle.
I did. So I was almost directly across from 'em maybe a hundred yards away from 'em. Just up in my side of the tree line. So I cut back up the hill a little bit. I went upstream I would say between 200 and 250 yards until I could look back down through the valley and feel confident that I could make it across without them seeing me crossed, found a shallow area to cross.
Got up in on the other side, and I didn't get up to their level. I actually went a little bit above thinking that it if I could give myself any benefit, it would be that if I'm a little bit above them and try to bring 'em up to me. [00:21:00] So I think part of my mistake could have been that once I got across and I went up, I also started to cut back down the hill downstream toward them before I ever called.
And as soon as I crossed and got up into the trees and now was back in cover, I should have called right there. And to see if I could locate him. I already then started closing the distance and, who knows? I didn't know where that hen was. She could have been right with him. She could have been a little bit closer to me and she saw him.
Saw me. So it's tough to say, but looking back, I think I just, I rushed it a little bit, rushed my plan, and I had plenty of time too. This is, all of this happened for me. I think I first heard the birds just before seven o'clock and I believe I got across the valley probably around nine.
So there was no need for me to be pushing and trying to hoof it real quick. But I did, I was just too excited and and it got the best of me in that case. But what a neat hunt. Just to hear the two of them feeding off each other. Especially, that was another point I wanted to bring [00:22:00] up tonight was that we drove around, we pro my friends and I, before you guys got up to camp, probably went.
We put a good 30 miles on dirt roads calling and trying to roost one both Thursday night and Friday. Didn't hear a single bird. Yeah. Not one. That's tough. And I was getting, especially that man, I was getting discouraged. Yeah. I thought this was gonna be a rough one. And I think they were too the other guys in the group and I think what that was probably the lack of motivation for them getting up in the morning in addition to the ring.
And so I think when the three of us all came back and all said we got on birds, I think they were a little bit. Oh man. Oh man. So did you run into your birds later in the morning?
Judging by his, when he messaged me or when I got his message about nine 15, even though you sent that at seven 30, I quickly got over the other side then, and I heard him probably right about nine 30 when I just got off the other, the got off the top into the other valley [00:23:00] and I only heard one for a long time.
And I, I couldn't judge if he was on my side of the creek at the bottom or the other side for a while. So I was slowly going down the hill cuz for all I knew he was on our side and I was gonna run right into him. And I ended up calling a little bit and I waited I called back and forth with him until he replied to me very quickly, and then I just stopped replying.
And he got over the next maybe 10 to 15 minutes, he gobbled three times. And I just, I kept not saying anything. I was trying to get him closer to me from where it was hole up. And I don't know how far a distance, all the way from the bottom to the top of that hill was probably wasn't quite a half a mile.
Okay. But when I did that when I was about one third up from the bottom. And all of a sudden I heard him and he was dead in the bottom then. [00:24:00] And I see, was there a creek in the bottom? Yeah. Big creek. And then I determined either he moved away from me out of confusion or he was on the other side.
So that meant he had to go down to get closer to me. And I took a gamble that he was on the other side for a little bit and I went lower and then I definitely could determine, cuz I was, I never saw him. It was thicker down there. I was probably within 200 yards of him. And as I was doing that final move where I, then I ended up really holding up and just staying quiet for a long time.
Maybe 400 to 500 yards to, to the left of the bottom from the side I was coming down was another gobble. So another one started working and he didn't really seem to bothered with that boy. I got down to the bottom. I could see the bottom. It was a giant beaver dam. I'm being conservative here. It's probably 50 yards across at the bottom.
And. I didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. I was letting, I was being quiet with him and all of a sudden [00:25:00] he gobbled and within 30 seconds of him gobbling, I heard two different hens on that side. And I was thinking, oh crap. It's hard to get turkeys across water as it is. It's raining right now, and he's got hens with him.
What's gonna make him leave those hens and come over here? Especially since the other gobbler started going. And at that point in time then I started walking down the valley D direction opposite of Josh, trying to see if the creek got more narrow. So there's just no good spot to cross that creek.
It was too big. Not that I found, I actually to be able to walk the speed that I wanted to walk, I had to go back up a little bit. It was too thick down in it. Gotcha. And because of me being almost the opposite of Josh, I was probably overly patient. Not because I was trying to drag my feet, I just didn't wanna bust him up.
All of a sudden it was 1115 and I still didn't cross the creek yet, so I'm going down the valley, going down the valley, and the other gobbler got closer to him. They started closing the gap between themselves [00:26:00] and just for the people listening, I'm probably a good mile from Josh. I don't think we were in on the same birds.
You never know. They could've heard you or whatever you say. You busted them up and they could've ran all the way down to me. Yeah, there's a lot of space up there. There's, and it was, like I said, there was plenty of Turkey sign in that area. There was it, it's tough to say. The timing almost lines up that when I believe that I got over there and mine busted and took off somewhere.
Was around the time that you started hearing them. Yeah. And we were in the same valley, but I agree, we were quite a distance away, so it's tough to say. We'll never know, but. I'll say they were all different birds. I'll say we got on four different ones. I think the cool part about that is so you guys are reflecting on things that you guys think might have been a mistake, might have not been.
And I'm still a firm believer, like I'm not much of a Turkey hunter. I like to go Turkey hunting. I've learned a lot from other really good Turkey hunters over the years. But one, one thing that I've learned is every time that you go out and you do something you take something [00:27:00] away and you learn something.
And the biggest thing you take away is turkeys make you learn the woods. Just because when they're gobbling certain areas, like you're trying to figure out when you're looking on your maps or you're just looking naturally at the terrain and the stuff like, how can I move on this bird?
And then you run into situations like you ran into Jay Court's oh, there's giant beaver dams here and there's no good places to cross. And now you're back to the drawing board. So you didn't connect on those birds just because it was hard to move on them, but like you learned a whole different section of that property and saw a whole bunch of stuff that, whether it's deer season or whether it's this coming weekend, like you've probably formulating a new game plan to attack that area.
I'm definitely formulating a new game plan on how to get in there. I think I know where to cross the creek that isn't, I could be soaked up to my hips. And the one thing that I have to say too is I never actually hunted that valley before when I crossed over the top and got to the other side, and this is the first time I ever hunted turkeys [00:28:00] on my own.
Yeah. I never went out on my own. And I'm not saying that as an excuse, but a place I never actually hunted in trying to do it for my first time. I was, I heard so many people say in the past, Ah, they rushed in and busted him up and spooked the Turkey. So I tried to push myself to be disciplined and not do it.
And, hindsight's always 2020. I don't know if I probably would've busted 'em if I crossed the way it was open over there. I never saw 'em. But I ended up going all the way down the valley until that valley opened up into the other one, all the way at the bottom. And that was about ending time.
And I, I was walking faster than at a desperation to see if I could find a spot to get across in there. And it just didn't work out. And then actually around 1140 they got quiet. So I don't. It is what it is. Yeah. It's hard to say. We'll be back up in there this weekend and see what we can do.
Yeah. I like what you said there, Mitch. I would agree that more so Turkey than deer season, you can really cover ground up there, at least for the way that our camp hunts. You get up at three, you hoof it back into where you want to go, and then you plant your butt there until [00:29:00] or as long as you can stand it, to be honest.
Try to wait for that first push of hunters to come outta the woods and start moving deer for you. And if you're good enough, some people like to say in one spot all day, so you're really not covering a ton of ground or seeing a ton of ground the way that we deer hunt up there. But Turkey hunting, and I want to ask you, I checked my steps after I was done Turkey hunting from let's say five 30 to 11 o'clock.
When I stopped hunting, I went 8.3 miles. Okay. Yeah, I So And you went far too? Yeah. So I didn't have I didn't put my tracker on my maps. So I, when we were sitting in camp, then I looked at the maps and then I just drew. Like rough, roughly where I walked and where my route was for the entire morning.
Okay. And I was really conservative in the way I drew it. And I came up with a total of 7.5 or 7.7 miles. Yeah, I think, yeah. I'm very confident it was more than that just cuz of the way I drew the line. So I'm guessing I was between seven and a half and eight and a half [00:30:00] miles is what I walked.
But I, I did not have the action you guys had like at all. So yeah, let's get into the, let's get into the killer story here. Here we go. Like I said, I was, the whole time I'm thinking like I had so many mixed feelings. I love going to your camp. I, your camp is awesome. I love the woods. I love the it's more, how do I wanna put this?
It's more. Back in there compared to my camp. And I think my camps definitely gets away from civilization planning. You guys are remote at your camp? Yeah. Remote, that's the word. Like you guys are very remote and I love your camp, but it's just a further drive. And I had this thing going on with my house.
We were doing this roof project that was a nightmare. And then the weather, and I'm just like, what are the chances that I'm actually gonna connect on a Turkey? And I was like, you know what? I don't care about that. I get that outta my head. I'm here to go have a good time. I wanted to go hunt a new area, hunt with you guys and just enjoy it.
And I'd been looking for weeks and we were texting back and forth areas and I [00:31:00] had this area picked out that was relative to it was a, there was a pipeline, a gas line at this one area. And there was a bunch of different chop offs. And I had looked at it and said, you know what?
I think I can plan this route if I walk from the main road across the creek and walk probably three quarters of a mile to a mile up this long hollow, I'll get to this top where there's a lot of chop offs and there's not a lot of road acts. If you'd come from a road to get to where I was, it's a substantial walk.
Oh yeah. And so I walk up this hall and it was daylight when I was walking up and I didn't, I saw some deer. I didn't see or hear any birds the whole way up. I get to the top and think, all right, I'm just about there. And that's why I saw that tree stand cell camera. And there was, there's actually two tree stands at that top.
And I'm navigating around this chop off. And I get to this gas line, and I'm thinking, all right, this is an area where, you get those edges. I'm thinking maybe I'll finally find some Turkey sign out here. And hopefully I hopefully I can, be away from people. And I kid you not, I walk out on [00:32:00] the guest line and look, and there's two guys and they're probably 200 yards from me.
And I'm looking at 'em thinking, get the heck out. They had to hoof it back here. I didn't think about it. We're on state forest land, right? And they had E-bikes. I was like, oh, more power to those boys. Good for them, because that's how I felt like you beat me at my own game. But, so they come up to me and they were two, they were like, How'd you get back in here?
And I said, oh, I said, I told 'em where I accessed from. They're like, oh, that makes a lot of sense. And I said, what's, I said, what's your guys' route? And they said, we're just gonna keep rolling. And the area that they wanted to cover when I was looking at my maps, I was like, man they're covering a lot of what I wanted to cover, and they can cover more of it on that.
First I was looking like, do I go further back in across the lineup thinking I haven't seen much sign up until this point. I found a little bit of sign at the gas line and it was, the weather was getting worse at that point. Like it, I think it picked up between seven and nine was the worst [00:33:00] range for me.
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And I just thought, you know what, I'm just gonna make a loop around the next finger ridge and head in the direction back towards, towards my car. So I hunted my way through a couple times, stopped and waited and sat down for, 15 minutes. And I did that up until quarter of 10. And I'm just sitting there down in the dumps, no, no Turkey sign.
I saw a deer sign, but no, no Turkey sign, no. Didn't hear [00:35:00] a bird, nothing. And I was like, I gotta do something different. I gotta reconvene. And I'm soaked at this point. I had a rain suit on I was dry from the outside in, but I was wet from the inside out just cuz it holds all that heat in.
I went back to my car, changed clothes, and I was looking at my maps the whole time and I was looking at this, and this, the. The road that I was parked on, it's it's in this valley and parallels these two different mountains running, I think it's running north and south.
But anyway, I was looking at it and the road goes up the valley and gets to the point where it's on, basically on the top of the mountain to the right. And I was looking at that and I measured it and it was like three miles back to camp. And I thought, I could park there and I could walk back to camp and then we'll go pick my car up later and that'll give me a cool opportunity to just go into a new area and and just hoof it just hoof it and call.
So when I drove up, I was thinking I know where I gotta [00:36:00] park. There was people there this morning. I was curious, it was just before 10 o'clock, I'm thinking, I wonder how many people are out yet. And there was one vehicle. The whole way up. And it was on the opposite side of the road I was looking to go.
And all the places where there was main parking, there wasn't a, there was tire tracks there where people left and there wasn't a single car there. And I thought, wow, I'm, I think I'm gonna be back in here by myself because, from camp up through there was nobody on that parked on that side.
Now I guess somebody could have came in from the other side, but that would be a huff. I just decided, you know what, I'm gonna, I'm gonna park at this line, I'm gonna get on the top of this ridge and I'm gonna huff this ridge back to camp. And I started doing that and I, got on logging roads and then it was open hardwoods and, go every a hundred, 150 yards, make a couple calls, and and keep rolling.
And I got about halfway between where I parked and camp. So I'm gonna say I got about a mile and a half and the weather's getting a little, it's clearing up, it's still cloudy and overcast, but it's getting a little bit nicer. [00:37:00] And this mid-morning I was thinking, there is a good chance I'm gonna run into a gobbler.
I just had that feeling. I might run into something and I heard a bird gobble on his own. I was walking and it was faint, but I'm like, I'm pretty sure that was a gobbler. So I kept moving and the, the ridge widened out a lot. And I was trying to figure out which side of the ridge he was on, but I just said, I gotta keep going.
Kind of, I think it was south ish, southeast ish. And kept moving and he gobbled again on his own. That time I knew that was definitely a gobbler and I got a direction on him, kept moving in. I'm I'm going through thicker. Pines like low pines, like the, it wasn't mature stuff.
It was, high stem count stuff. So it was harder to navigate. I'm slowing down. I didn't wanna make noise. I couldn't tell how far he was. And the third time he gobbled on his own a crow called, and he he gobbled and he sounded, I'm like, man he's pretty close. So when I found a spot, I was right at the transition [00:38:00] of the Pines, the young Pines getting into that hardwoods okay again.
And I was like, man I don't know how much farther I can go. I don't know where these woods will open up. I don't know if he's on top and I don't wanna bust him, so I'm gonna, I'm gonna sit here. So I sat down and by this time, as I went through this, I heard him at about 1110, after 11, 11 15.
So I sat down and threw a Yelp out, nothing. Waited another 20, 30 seconds, threw another Yelp out. And he answered, and he sounded, this time he sounded like he wasn't on top anymore. He was down over the ridge, a little bit from me down over on the backside or on the roadside Where he, on the roadside, on the road side.
On the roadside. Really? Yeah. He was down over on the roadside. There's, there was real big mature pines up in that area. There's a big bowl. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Real, real big pines. Like I said, I think he was just down in there, just looking for a girlfriend and was gobbling on his own a little bit.[00:39:00]
So he answered me. And then I was sitting there thinking, what do I do? And I'm like, I've only got 45 minutes. Like I. I'm either gonna I think I gotta call hard to this Turkey. I thought he's, I don't know if he's got anything with him, but he's gobbling. It's late morning.
I've had good luck when you find the late morning Turkey that sometimes you, you can call hard to 'em and they want to come, and I thought, I've got nothing to lose. I'm almost outta time. So I started to call I went into some Yelps and cut hard at him and he answered me pretty much. He answered me a couple times waited a few seconds, called to him again, and he answered.
And I thought, okay, he's, he knows I'm here. Now I'm gonna, I'm gonna shut up for a little bit and just see if he makes a move. And in that calling sequence I've been listening. So last year we had Matt Dale on the show and Matt has a YouTube hunting channel, Dale Outdoors, and he's a Turkey hunting fanatic.
And, we had Jason Miller on a few weeks ago, and he's a Turkey hunting fanatic. And a lot of these, like really good Turkey hunters [00:40:00] talking about their calls and stuff. I've been hearing more lately, and like I said I'm newer to the party and I'm sure there's people listening to this that, probably, oh, I've heard about this call, but I really was not familiar with it.
They were I've watched the Primos guys years ago. I hear them do this call and I didn't know what it was. And it was a wine and it was and I don't have a mouth call with me to make the sound on. I should really have somebody on that can do it better than I can. Cuz mine was pretty pitiful.
But it is like a Kiki, but the oscillations are different. Like Kikis, like Woohoohoo and like this wine that these guys were talking about and showing me how to do and explaining to me it was more under your breath and it was like, woohoo. And it was like I said under your breath.
And it was described to me that it was a call, if a hen was ready to breed with a gobbler. And I don't know if that's true or not. Maybe somebody listening to this can confirm that or deny that. Whatever the case was, I was like, I've got 45 minutes and I've been practicing this call.
I, I had my Turkey calls in my center console of my work car. So every now [00:41:00] and then I get bored and I throw one in my mouth and I just start practicing, just trying to make sure that I can make different sounds. I was practicing this sound, I would've throw this at him, see what he does. So the call I had in was a raspy call.
So I flipped it upside down to get that true crisp sound. And I threw one at him with a, I did a series of Yelps and threw one of those at him. Got, I was like, oh, he got all of that. Okay. And then then I went into this. Moment of silence. And I say it was five to seven minutes.
I feel like whenever you're sitting on a Turkey and you say, oh, I waited 10 minutes till I called to him. It's like half that like, cause you're just you're just so jacked. I'm like, what is this bird doing? What's this bird doing? I got the gun on my knee. Is he actually coming? Is he not coming?
Is he with the hands? What's he doing? So I'm gonna say it was five minutes and I I thought I'm gonna just throw a soft yelp at him and five soft yelps. And he was like, wow. He's he's coming. He's probably 60 [00:42:00] ish yards like it was. No doubt. He was on the top of the ridge and he had closed the gap significantly, and right after he gobbled, I threw another wine at him.
Whoa whoa. Double gobbled at me. I'm like, man, this sucker is coming. So at that point I shut up. I flipped the safety off and I was watching and I heard boom. Heard him strutting through the thick though. Oh. He was drumming. Here he comes. He was so cool. Here he comes, he strutting and then I finally got this black blob moving right to left in front of me.
And by the time I saw him, he was already in tur in shotgun range cuz where I sat up, sat, I was at the edge of the pines and the hardwoods, but it wasn't like a straight line, like it was thinning. And I couldn't see more than about 50 yards from me. And, from that 30 to 50 yard barrier was pretty thick.
It was just a black blob moving through there. But he was, and he wasn't running. But you know how sometimes like if they get something in their mind and they just they're on a mission, like I'd said, what he was doing, [00:43:00] he was walking fast. Like he strutted, I saw him strut one time behind a bush and then he came out and he just walked and he closed the gap and I'm gonna say he was about 30 to 35 yards.
And I was looking in front of him. Trying to find an opening I could shoot through. And I finally looked at this one section. I was shooting through some brush, but I knew I had enough that I could get through to his head. So when he got to that, I did another Whoa whoa. And he just threw his head up and looked and I left him have it.
And I was like, it was like, I couldn't believe it. Like I, everything about that, like when I shot, I was like, I actually got one, I actually got one up here. It was like, pinch me. I can't believe this happened. And I ran up to him cuz I didn't in my mind I was questioning shoot the shot slightly just because I knew I was shooting through some brush.
And I, I've. Never had it happen to me personally. I've heard too many horror stories though, of people doing that and they roll the bird and they think they got it, and then it gets up and runs. So [00:44:00] I like, instantly I did the old fashioned get up and go running after this Turkey.
And I think every pellet within that size of his head, nailed him. I don't think it was deterred. He rolled him dome. Yeah. It was a perfect textbook shot and he rolled and that was, I was jacked. I mean it, and I, and when I stood on, when I got up to him, I checked my phone to see what time it was, and it was 1132.
So I figured I shot him like, like 1131. 1132. But from the time I heard him till I killed him was probably, I'm going to say it was 15 to 20 minutes, but I only called to him maybe 10 minutes. It was that quick. So it was, I was jacked. I really was. And then I didn't ask you this.
Did you check to see. If you were closer to camp or closer to your truck at that point and make a decision? I did. I think when I looked at it, I might have been a touch closer to my car. Okay. Just a touch. But I would've had to walk uphill. Yes. I say, that's uphill. And I was like downhill. I was like, you know what?
[00:45:00] I'm gonna be that schmuck. I'm gonna have a Turkey on my back, walking out, walking down the road back to camp, thought maybe it'll be late enough that these guys will come looking for me, and I'll have that big, grin on my face, look what I did. But when you were on the road, did anybody drive past you?
I didn't see a single person. Not a single person drove past me. I even walked slow at one point. No, I'm just kidding. I didn't do that. But no I was, I figured it's just gonna be easy to walk back down to camp and then we will, we'll go get my car later. But yeah it went from zero to a hundred for my morning.
Yeah. And in the crazy part about it was too, I was standing over top of my bird and yeah, I was pretty, pretty jacked and excited and I was like hooting and hollering to myself a little bit, and then I heard like down the ridge farther towards your camp, and That's right. Yeah.
And I was like, get the heck out of that. I don't care now. I'm done. When he was coming and you started seeing him, Did you at all take notice if he was a long beard or not? Or you just knew he was? I had no clue. I didn't know. I had no clue. [00:46:00] I think I knew I knew it had a beard because I think at one point when it was going through the brush, I saw it Bob.
But it didn't even register to me. Is this a Jake, is it a long beard? I didn't care. I was, I knew I was gonna shoot it. Like it could have been, big mega Jake with a two inch beard. And if even if I would've known that I would've shot him, I absolutely, oh, I had a feeling. Oh, absolutely.
There was no prejudice. If he was gonna act like a big boy, he was gonna get treated like a big boy. That's how I felt. And you've had a lot of Turkey success before, but that was your first northern pa big woods Turkey, right? Oh, yeah. I shot a bunch in the southern part of the state.
I shouldn't say a bunch. I've been the goofball that I was really lucky when I was a junior. I shot. Like multiple birds and and two bear, right? That's irrelevant at this point, but I I thought, I wanna shoot one with my bow. And I took my bow for
maybe [00:47:00] eight to 10 years and never brought, broke a shotgun out, like never. I stopped and I actually to this day have never killed a Pennsylvania spring gobbler with a bow. I've shot, I shot two birds in Virginia with the bow, and I've shot two Pennsylvania birds in the fall. Now, when it was deer hunting, I got two, but I still I felt like cursed.
And it got to a point where it was eating me up because for a while it was like, ah, I don't care. I'll go. And in that time, it's not that I wasn't getting on birds, I screwed up on them. I missed them. I called in a bunch of birds for other people, like I called in, we, we had people helping us call for year one.
Yes. Year one. Yes. My second 1, 1, 1 of Isaac's, there was somebody that helped call that one in. But I would say I was part of, the five that you guys killed. Yeah. I called one my first, I've called a First Bird for my buddy from college. I called in a fir. And that [00:48:00] was up at, that was up at camp, called in a, oh, was that a camp?
Yeah, he killed one at the camp. That was Big Woods. I called one in a first bird for my one uncle. And That, that was a cool experience. And I'm forgetting turkeys at this point. I've been part of so many different Turkey hunting experiences even in the big woods. I've worked so many birds that I either screwed up on or somebody else shunt or, just whatever.
Yeah. So this was the first one I actually killed up there. And I truly feel like if I had a dollar for every time I screwed up on a bird upstate, like I'd, probably pay this mortgage that I have. Oh, yeah. No it's so rewarding. You could shoot a squirrel up there and you feel like bare grills.
It's I've felt that, and it's just really tough. Nothing is easy up there. I think the thing I've learned too is like when I first started hunting in the northern part of the state, it's different and it's intimidating. But once you start putting [00:49:00] boot. Bootleg down and you start learning areas, it's no different.
Oh yeah. It's just bigger scale. Yep. Every part of it. And it's, it gets easier every time you go. The problem that we run into, and this is ev, most of the people listening to this and you guys and myself as well, is just the time, ability to go up and put the time in that we need to.
Cuz I, I've come to this conclusion as long as I've done this show and the people I've talked to I don't care how good of a hunter you are, how efficient you are with your time. Those are all really important. But the people who put in the time and have those things are the people that have the most success.
Absolutely. And I hate to say this, but time is huge now. S put that on a, on the right scale with different people. I understand that you're gonna learn things as time goes on. More experienced hunters can make things more efficiently. That's not what I'm saying. I'm just saying, generally speaking, if you can spend [00:50:00] the time and you're just bound to and it doesn't have to be time in a 365 day span necessarily. Like we were just talking about each year that we go up there, we know a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more, there's always gonna be places now, in the back of my mind from this past weekend that in the past there's been turkeys there.
And not that's gonna be where they are every year, but that's a, that's something that I will now remember and that stays with me. But now I may not be Turkey hunting up there while I am going up next weekend, but after that I might not be up there again until next year really looking for turkeys.
Yeah. And another thing too, like you brought up a good point earlier in our conversation when you were talking about the way you guys deer hunt, and I've fallen into that trap too, where you have it in your mind where you want to go and the first day of rifle season you want to sit and whatnot, and.
I find myself too, when I'm especially bow hunting where I'm like, I don't wanna, I don't want to, go in there at the [00:51:00] wrong time or I might chase something out or this and that, or, I tiptoe around and find that I miss out if I don't go explore and putting e even deer hunting, like I'll never forget like that, that buck that you always eye up every time that, that buck.
I shot up my camp, I did corner show. That's good deer. Yeah. That, that, that buck was, I literally had the mindset, like I, I still had my buck tag in my pocket opening day of deer season of buck season. And I just had it in my mind. I'm not going to sit somewhere. Just because I didn't know where to sit.
I could have looked at the maps and I had a general knowledge of that area, but I didn't know where I'd just sit and be confident. I just had, in my mind, I don't care if I spook deer. I need to learn a little bit more about this area. I don't know it as well as I want to know it. And I'm gonna, I'm gonna walk in to the best of my doic ability.
I'm going to still hunt it. And I literally shot that deer tripping over log like I tripped and was catching. That's right. I [00:52:00] was tripped, tripping and catching my bounce. I was trying to, I was walking on a side hill and there was logging trails and there was these sticks and logs in the middle of the trail.
So I was trying to like tiptoe and find the best way around it. And I took a step on something uneven and lost my balance. And I'm like on one foot with my rifle on my shoulder, like wobbling around trying to. Balance and then place my foot somewhere that I'm not gonna make noise. Finally, I lost my balance and I had to just plant my foot or fall.
When I planted my foot, of course, I planted it on this giant mess of sticks, cracked really loud. And when I did that, immediately there was a buck. I was on the side hill and there was a bench below me. The bench, the base of the bench was about 60 to 70 yards, and then the bench was very wide, so it was over a hundred yards to where it dropped off again.
And when I stepped, I looked and right about at the base of the side hill, probably, I'm gonna say it was about [00:53:00] 70 yards, that buck jumped up. And there it was one of those, it was open hardwoods. And I knew right away when he jumped up, I'm like, I, right away I saw it was a legal buck and I right away thought that looked like a nice buck.
And I've never shot a bucket camp, so I'm gonna at least let one shot fly and I'll never forget, like I threw the gun up. I had the deer in my scope. He was running almost straight away from me. He was slightly quartered away, downhill, pretty steep. And when I threw the gun up, I remember he was bounding into my crosshairs.
And I thought, and like I said, it's amazing how I don't think I'm exa. I've thought this story about a million times and how much of it's instinctual versus how much of it are you actually thinking when this is happening? But in my mind now, I was thinking I, the only shot I have is like at the back of his, in his neck was he's running away, right?
So that's where I thought I had to cross hairs and I pulled the trigger [00:54:00] and. That's another thing too, like when I shoot a gun, like I know some people can say I could see through the scope, I hit him and I've never been that way. I can't do that. Nope. I've tried. Nope. And the gun kicks, I blink, I lose my sight.
And I, I had a bolt action at the time and I rack the bolt and usually the gun comes down a little bit racking the bolt. And I'm looking for where he is and I'm, I don't see him. I'm like, how did that deer get outta sight that quick? I know he was getting to the edge. He was gonna drop down over and be outta sight.
But I'm thinking I should have seen him bound somewhere. Like I had to have, and I'm like looking all over the place. Like I, I've got the next round and I'm like, I'm ready to just up and shoot thinking I'm going to see him slinking out somewhere. And I don't know how long I looked, but I finally was like, I guess he's gone.
I guess I gotta look at my binoculars. And so I put my safety on, put my rifle on my shoulder, and I had my binoculars and I'm looking in my binoculars and at one point I looked, I'm like, is that a deer laying there? [00:55:00] And I took a step over and looked. I'm like, oh my word. He's laying there dead. Like I got him.
I was like, disbelief. I'm like, I actually got him. So I go running down the mountain and I get up to him and I'm like, holy cow, this is a good buck. It was stupid, but literally like the whole point of me telling that deer story real quick was like, I didn't know where the heck I wanted to go.
I just had an idea looking on a map, like I'd like to explore this. This is how I'm gonna try to explore deer hunting and learn stuff. That area that I shot that buck. That was where we spent time in rifle season the past few years and made some pushes and we've killed deer outta there.
Yeah. And like every year, like you fine tune it a little bit and I think that concept of what I did deer hunting there, like I, I keep trying to apply that and I'm trying to not be afraid to be mobile because I think it's us being in the southern part of the state, we're so used to having smaller parcels of land and we don't wanna chase anything.
So we set up in safe areas and that's where we sit. And up there [00:56:00] it's the same concept, but it's a bigger scale. And I just feel like I, I've gotta branch out. I've gotta be able to, like I said, Turkey hunting I just think is a great opportunity. So I think about all the stuff that you guys ran into, like I'm anxious to hear about your Turkey hunting as a Turkey hunting adventures is coming weekend.
Just because you saw it, you got an idea where birds Oh yeah. Were, you're gonna try to access it a different way and. Maybe it pans out, maybe you come back with more stories of learning and we'll also be guiding a little bit instead of hunting. That'll make it interesting. Yeah.
Right now we're taking the ladies out, so yeah, she'll be holding the shotgun first. So it, it was interesting how you talked about still hunting deer, cuz this past year when I went into this new area for the first time, it was the first time in rifle season that I decided to pretty much, still hard right?
Still hunt right from the get-go. I sat maybe until about eight o'clock and then from then on I had my whole day planned out the general direction I wanted to go. Cause that would depend if I saw hunters or right. If I even got in [00:57:00] on deer and had an idea and I was a bit of a doubter to it. I didn't know if more of myself, I didn't know if I was actually gonna be able to sneak along and truly hunt animals while I was moving.
But I got in on them without much of an issue to the point where I know that's what I'm going to do again this year. Yeah. Maybe a slightly different area. I might plan a different hunt, but I don't see myself sitting much other than maybe if I find a spot that I really like and sit there till dark at the end of the day, something like that.
But it, it really does get you to learn a lot. Like the hollow that I went in this past year for Turkey or just this past weekend for Turkey. I'm probably going to go up there at some point in deer season because I know another spot, another way to access it probably a little bit better.
And I might even try to get up there in archery because of the way it transitions. There's a little bit of opening thick bottom and there's pines and hardwoods. There's a whole lot of different stuff right back in there. And then you said you saw a lot of deer sign currently this time of year when you were there this week, I saw way more than I'm used to seeing.
Yeah. [00:58:00] And that's springtime, but still it couldn't have been the same deer. There was way, way too much that deer would've been second. That's a whole other story. But yeah, I, yeah. One, one thing I know too so like we're talking about putting the time in learning areas during hunting season, and I will say for me, I've put so much emphasis on my deer hunting closer to home.
So then when I have off season time, where do I put my time in, around there? And if I went to camp or upstate or something like that in the summertime, most of the time it was with the family. And I never really prioritized getting out and exploring in the summertime. I'm not throwing my wife under the bus by any cases, but she doesn't really like to hike.
So we never take time to say, we're gonna go for a hike. And, hey, let's do it in this general area. I'd like to learn a little bit more. Shame on me. Like I'll go up and I don't. How it, the little bit of time that I have in the off season, [00:59:00] I don't spend it as much in the woods. The, and the time I have in the off season devoted to preparing for hunting has been more of those places close to home.
And now after spending the time in the hunting season, walking and learning those areas now, when people talk about, off season work and scouting big woods, it's not that I never understood why they didn't do it. I'm just getting that allure right, that now I wanna start shifting and spending more time in the off season.
Because I like hunting here and I want to keep learning it more. And like I said it's not that was a foreign thing to me. I understand the concept of off-season work. I've done it just in a different capacity on property types. So I think that's one thing I continue to challenge myself.
But like I said, Turkey season's a great opportunity and I, I've, I quickly start looking at weekends in Turkey season. I wanna go here, I wanna go here, I wanna go here. And that way I can scout this area. There's a spot I've been looking at in, in a part of the state I've never set [01:00:00] foot on, but I've been looking at it from maps and I've driven past it.
And I, I keep thinking that has got to be an area for me to spend time. Bear hunting. Yeah. I wanna kill one with the bow. It looks like it sets up well from a food and cover standpoint that I think, wow, why don't I go down there and Turkey hunt. That'll give me an excuse to walk out and hunt, learn ground, cross places off, put pins on, and then revisit that right before bear season and scout it.
And I still might do that. There's a lot of other cards that I'm rolling back and forth of whether or not I'll do that and put that into application this year. But stuff like that, like Turkey season just does that so much. I'm curious, like we're yaking around, we're, we're right here right around an hour, but I'd really want to pick both of your brains because you guys have gone to camp since you're young.
I think you guys all started deer hunting air [01:01:00] when you were 12 years old going with your dad, I think, right? Yep. I might have been 13 because of the way soccer worked out or something. Gotcha. But right around there. Yeah. But you were still going, so like you guys have gone through an evolution on your own going there, like from hunting with dad and hunting with your grandfather, hunting with the other members of camp and tagging along.
And like you guys have just every year branch out a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more and try new things and stuff. And I'm really curious like just your thought process and that evolution, what you've experienced from then till now. Like maybe what's been your things that have happened over the years that have motivated you to want to check out these different areas or stuff like that?
I'm just curious, like that stuff, because you talk about camp a lot and you're like me in that respect and you just it's just like a, it's constantly flowing. I think one thing right off the bat is that, Don't get me wrong, there's deer up there, but deer hunting is tough up [01:02:00] there.
It's really tricky to find deer and don't, there's days that you will sit all day, and even with some walking around mixed in there too, and you don't see a single deer. And for me, I think it was the thing that I was getting sick of it, and we were also typically going in the same general direction.
I believe from the time that I was 12 years old to that 15, 16, 17 year old mark, when dad was starting to let the reins go and let me go wherever I wanted, I was still going in that general area, because that's the area I knew. But year after year, I was disappointed in the deer numbers that I was seeing.
Yeah. And so it was that look how big these woods are up here. Why am I still hunting this same piece of area? Oh, year after year and getting disappointed over and over again, staring at my shoelaces, walking back to the truck. It just, it dawned on me. I ended up, started using some more mapping software as well and just really starting to understand from a further a, from a bird's eye view, what area we have around there.
See where the [01:03:00] roads are, see where the really hard access points are. That's where I want to go. Thankfully, we are in the position and the health that we're in, the age that we're at, that we can put on miles. Yeah. And that's now what I try to do as much as I can. Starting with the maps that you mentioned, especially since this past fall when we really seem to go on little adventures ourselves into new areas.
One of the, I think the most used apps on my phone is Onyx. And not because I'm looking at anything short term. If I have nothing else to do, I'm just looking at the area around the Oh yeah. Because I think if you tap on one side of the camp and the other side of the camp, it's somewhere around 180,000 to 200,000 acres.
Granted, I'm never gonna hunt that in my lifetime, but I'm curious and we from, man, I think the first time I actually hunted anything different other than rifle deer up there was just in 2021. And that was the first time I got up there, got the bow out cuz I didn't really start [01:04:00] bow hunting until after college and.
Where I hunted that first year was close to camp, cuz that's where I put the camera. Yeah. I didn't put the camera too far out cause I didn't have a cell camera and I wanted to be able to check it whenever I went up. And we got buck on the camera too. So for me it was go up, try to archery hunt in that area.
It was decent for archery. It's, I still think it's decent for archery in that spot. It's not that bad for rifle. You guys killed deer in that general vicinity too, right? Yeah. And and I have where dad used to like to take us and still even likes to hunt his two different spots.
I killed a buck in one of the spots when I was 18 with a rifle. So I'm gonna probably view that spot historically more fondly than you do. And at some point in time we're probably gonna go back in there and hunt. And I just, from looking at where I look at, I already have two other places in mind that I really want to put some boot leather down into, use Mitch's quote and check out.
But I'm also much more pleased as we've gotten older and gotten together and gotten. Not just you, me and Isaac, but other [01:05:00] guys that were venturing out into other species. This is the first time we actually put together a Turkey camp with all of us there. I know you went up for Turkey before.
This past fall is the first time our camp hosted a bear camp that actually went out in the woods, I guess you can say. Cause I know they had a few. Yeah, I know they had a few extracurricular bear camps, but this past fall is the first time we went out and actually all went out in the woods and were more organized that way.
And I'm just more enthusiastic with that in general. So yeah, the camp camaraderie, thing's big for that too. Speaking for the evolution I ventured definitely way more into archery and definitely into more species. In 2021 we went up with dad and we're going for grouse as well. We were, yeah, that's right.
I forgot about that. That was the first time I hunting in that area. So I don't know if that fully answered your question. No, it absolutely answers my question because I've said this before on this show, and I say it again like I am definitely. A bit narrow minded and blockhead when it comes to my hunting.
I am all about whitetails. That's my thing. And[01:06:00] going to camp with an a changed expectation or going with a group of people or going for a different species and broadening your horizons. I never, I always looked at that as, I'm wasting my time. I could be doing something for deer hunting.
And I don't look at it that way anymore. I look at it as every time I'm going into woods, I learned something for deer hunting. Or I formulate a thought that I wouldn't have had because I did something out of the ordinary and I experienced something that might prompt me to think I'm to try this for deer hunting.
So I'm, you talked about grouse. I've never killed a grouse in Pennsylvania. Never. I actually I lied. I shot one with a bow one time and I didn't get it. That irks me. But no, I've never killed the grass. And like I used to always think maybe I'll go in that late season, after deer season, after Christmas, then about the time I would've thought [01:07:00] to do that.
We've since closed that season, we don't have it anymore. And, grouse there for a while. I was hard pressed when I was deer and bear hunting upstate to see grass. Now I'm starting to see some, again, some of the places I go. I even heard grass drumming when I was Turkey hunting up there at your camp this week when we were up for the work.
We went weekend, we were painting in the morning. There was a grass drum and probably only 40 yards back behind camp. Had one right behind camp. Yeah. Stuff like that I'm, I've, I, and one thing I have to say is since I've done this show and I've forced myself to get outside of my comfort zone from from my, the contents so to speak, and, talking about things, Outside of what I normally do and getting to interact with people that enjoy outdoors and creation outside of just deer hunting.
It's forcing me to get outside of my comfort zone in the great outdoors. And I think number one, that challenge I, I feel is slowly making me a better hunter. One thing too is that I'm really, and I've been really,[01:08:00] stressing this on the show is like I'm trying to make sure I continue to balance my priorities in life.
Next to hunting, cuz you guys know, hunting is something very important to me, but nothing is more important than God, family, friends. And so like this has made that open. I guess the more well rounded I'm thinking of making my hunting experience the better my deer hunting experience has been.
I don't know if that makes sense or not. No, it does make sense and it goes sideways a little bit off of that, but how I've approached it since I've been up in the cabin is I will by technicality be hunting one species when I'm out there hunting most of the time, other than some of the fun little overlap that we get.
Yeah. But mentally I'm hunting all three of the main big game animals that we can hunt. Yeah. I don't know how common that is or if that almost makes me a hunting nerd, but I'm constantly looking to see if there's a whole lot of Laurel or Rhododendron in an area, even if I'm [01:09:00] deer hunting. Just thinking that might be a spot to check for bear.
Exactly. Or when I go through pines, I'm always keeping my eyes out. Four turkeys, even I'm out the, even if I'm out there with my bow for deer. So go take it one step further with kind of what you said earlier in, in that portion is just what you learn when you're out there and what wow. And also what you focus on when you're out there.
And then what you said, we're about to experience this coming up this weekend. Maybe not Josh as much, but it. I do feel it this weekend in regard to the balance of God, family, friends, and responsibilities outside of that even, because like I needed to set up a sitter this weekend with the two kids to take the wife and I to go up.
So that's one other thing. Yeah. So that's what you guys are hitting at. You guys are taking the wife and the girlfriend out hunting this weekend. That's right. That'll be a whole new experience. I could tell you right now, hats off to those ladies because my wife did hunt with me when we were younger, but there was no way that she would've hiked the places that you guys I know are [01:10:00] gonna go.
I don't know if my wife knows what we're about to do to her, but some hard terrain, huh? Yeah, I mean it definitely is. It's mountains, it's long term. Look, I didn't run into anything that was like impenetrable as far as thick cover and stuff like that, but just long, vast terrain.
Yeah. Like most places up there, the only spot it's really thick and you can't get through is. Really old clear cuts. Yeah. Yeah. Stuff. Eight years older, something like that. But yeah, no, this has been fun. I wish you guys wish you guys the best of luck. I'm anxious to, to hear some hope, hopefully some success.
Hopefully some re do you have a second tag, Mitch? I did get a second tags. I never ever bought the second tag. One time I was in high school, I think it was like right after I was, feeling real cocky and I shot a couple birds when I was young. And they started that second tag business.
I think they started that one, since I'm hunting and I'm gonna get the second tag. And that year I bought the second tag. I [01:11:00] didn't shoot a single Turkey and everybody made fun of me, so I never bought it again. And for whatever reason, I honestly, I think it was because. Here recently, I've been talking to friends.
I had, Jason and Mark, I had those guys, Mark, we had on for bear hunting, but I was talking to those guys about Turkey hunting and, the, just the people I was interacting with me had me jacked up. I was more jacked to go Turkey hunting this spring than I have in a few years, and I don't know why.
I just was for whatever reason be between all that conversing with people and I was going out and listening to birds and I had multiple areas and properties. I had birds on 'em. I just thought, I'm getting a second tag. I don't care if I don't shoot a single bird, I'm getting that second tag cuz if I kill one early, I want an opportunity to go again.
And for once I was like, wow, that was actually smart Mitchell. There you go. There you go. I wanted to say one thing I thought of earlier that when you told me your hunting, your Turkey hunting story, [01:12:00] right when you got back to camp, you said something that really resonated with me, and this is for any anybody listening who's a, an archery hunter.
I think it relates in that way as well. You said there was a point where you called one time and he fired back right away and now he was closer and you said, oh, this is gonna happen. And I love that you said that because I felt that way archery hunting so much. There's that magical point where all of a sudden you're hunt, you can see the deer, he's 70 yards away, mingling around doing what he wants or the Turkey, same thing, but all of a sudden he does something and there's a certain time in that hunt where all of a sudden you say to yourself, Oh my gosh, this is gonna happen.
And I love that is one of my favorite feelings when I'm out hunting. Oh, it's a great feeling. But you know what, to add to that's a feeling that you only get with enough experience. And I think one of the things I struggled with from an early age, and you know what? I still struggle to this day.
I get I'll be the first to admit it. I'm, I've got buck [01:13:00] fever sometimes. And I think what you were saying about that moment, like this is gonna happen, that moment, like when I said that I right away went into kill mode. I went from calling, working this bird to now I'm gonna kill you. And I think.
Mentally, I don't know. I'm speaking for myself here. I need to have that because it's a focus thing in order to make this happen. It's not as much for a gun for me, like guns. I just feel like I've been shooting guns for so long and there's so much margin of error with guns. I've been fortunate.
I've I don't think I'm exaggerating or lying to say I don't think I've ever wounded anything with a firearm. I've been very blessed and lucky to have that. But on the archery, hunting end of things, that's why I said specifically archery going in, going into kill mode. It's a new fine, fine-tuned level of focus.
And I think [01:14:00] when I was inexperienced and would get really excited, I wouldn't I wouldn't finish and I had too many mistakes, misses, wounds, stuff like that. So you. To, just to to cater off of what you're saying there, like that's important for two reasons. Number one, it's a good feeling.
It's a great feeling when a bird closed the gap about seven, I'm just gonna say 60, 70 yards or whatever, and he was gobbling that hard, and I'm like, this is gonna happen. That's like a smile, heart pumping outta your chest moment. But from a, from a next step standpoint and going into kill mode as I would call it that's, to me is important.
And I think a lot of hunters really experience hunters probably don't even talk about that because it's so natural. But, people that, like myself I'm still, I've been hunting a long time, but at the same time, I'm young and I still make a lot of mistakes. I think that's something you have to concentrate on.
[01:15:00] Some people are more natural than others, and I think I fall somewhere in the in between. But yeah, Mentally preparing for that next step and not screwing it up. And I like the word focus. It's a, it's not that. It's, when I say that and it's the realization of, oh, I'm gonna have a chance here.
This is gonna happen. It's not a, it's not a giddy feeling. Don't confuse the feeling with an over excitement of joy. It's a focus. Oh yeah. It's almost, it's like a predator like feeling. Oh yeah. It's an instinct. That's why the, like the few people that have been anti hunters or not like really fond of hunting, but gave it a chance and then realize that instinctual thing that's within you to pursue.
Kill and eat like it. It's no wonder people get like hooked on it then. Oh, yeah. Like they understand it. They see the other half. Let me tell you, I'm hooked. Yeah you better believe it. I'm thinking of eating that [01:16:00] Turkey we had of yours before we started. Oh yeah, before we started, man, that, that was good.
I gotta bring that one up too. So I took the breasts and sliced them laterally to make a butterfly opening. Then I oh, before I did that, they marinated in Italian dressing and then Did that butterfly slice like a pocket of the breast. And I put some pesto in there. And then I sprinkled some grated Parmesan cheese or actually shredded Parmesan cheese, not g graded.
Put some of that in there and then closed it and then wrapped that baby in bacon. And I had it on the smoker for about about three hours till I pulled that off, re bound 1 65 and put it in the oven and broiled the bacon just to crisp it up a little bit and let that baby sit. And man, that was pretty good.
You might have never told you listeners that he's a fivestar chef too. I'm not a five-star chef, but I can, I'm overweight. Let's just put it there. Yeah. We, there's no leftovers for tonight. No. That sucker's gone. No. I want to add one final thing that I learned since [01:17:00] this is the Turkey BS session, this past fall when I was deer hunting, the sun came out.
I got to my tree probably 20 minutes before daylight Sun comes up. There's turkeys roosted above me. I didn't know that because I found out they're roosted above me. By them pooping on me. That's right. The sun comes up and I guess turkeys go to the bathroom. So I thought I actually found the one oak tree up there in that maple birch forest.
But no fun little fact there. I don't think I'm ever gonna have that happen to me again. I hope not, but Oh, you be, you'd be surprised. I've had I've had similar instances with turkeys, especially archery hunting. Get up in the tree and then, oh there's a bird, right? Like right there. And then I do that, like I climb up in my tree stand and there'll be a bird really close to me and doesn't know I'm there.
And I'm thinking, how many times I have snuck under a tree in the dark in the springtime? And they, they flew outta a tree. Really? Oh yeah. I've chased birds out in dark. And I'm like, I understand. Maybe I was noisy, did I use a flashlight? Did I not? Was there something that.
Might've chased [01:18:00] that bird, but that's in the springtime. You think I got in plenty early enough? They have no idea. I'm here and walk under a bird and they're gone. Then in the fall, in archery season, I climb up in a tree and I'm 20 yards from more like really when you've roosters 'em the night before or walking into somewhere blind.
Walking into somewhere blind. Okay. Like getting into an area, like thinking, yeah, this is the area I want to be. I know they roost in this general area, so I'm gonna slip up here in the dark and get in that spot and walking in. Like really, like I've already had it at the one private land piece that I have, like every now and then, the roads that we'll go to, to access.
It's the quietest most direct roads. And we'll go in and I'll sit on, I'll sit on blinds. Especially when I was hunting with the bow, I'd sit in a blind that was already set up and I can't tell you how many times I've there's I can just see the blind. I'm within, I don't know, 60 yards.
And way they go. Really? Yeah. Like I was so close and you busted them out. But I've had that [01:19:00] happen and working in my advantage too. I've already worked worked one where I chased a bird out of the tree, got in and bird started gobbling. I didn't even know it until after I worked the Turkey right here.
I chased the, he outta the tree and she was gone and he had no, no idea. So then I started calling and he came in. So it was like you run into those dumb situations. Yeah. I learned that too the hard way. Up at camp, we were, we used to walk railroad beds and we'd go just walk and call in these railroad beds.
I'll never forget right at, right as it was breaking day, got to this little opening on this railroad bed and a Turkey flushed outta the tree. And I was young. I didn't know any better and I just thought Yeah let's just go find another one. So we keep going back and it was a dreary morning.
It wasn't as bad as Saturday, but it was similar to that. And we went out, out the back and the, I forget who I was hunting with at the time, but they had enough of it and said, let's go back. And we had back, might have been an hour to an hour and a half after we [01:20:00] chased that bird out of the tree, which we knew was a hen we saw confident. It was a hen. We get within 50 yards of where we flush that hen out. This is an hour later, it's probably 7 30, 8 o'clock, and a Turkey flies outta the tree, about 50 yards from that spot. It was a gobbler. He stayed in the tree, we walked under him. Wow. We never heard him gobble, but he flew out and I told I, I told my uncle this, I, I told him this story and He being way more experienced than I.
And I told him this. He said, oh, yeah, he said, that happened to me already. He said, but we killed him. He said, we set up on it and called him in and did it. So I learned from my mistake and then I actually applied it like a few years after that. That's interesting you say that because I had a great gobbler encounter in the morning, but then throughout the rest of my hunt during the day, during the morning, I saw five different hens all by themselves.
I flushed two or three within feet of me, and they ran, they never flew. I flew or I flushed [01:21:00] one out of the roost, I'd say around 10 30. She was still up in the tree. Yeah. And each time I'd see one of those hens, it happened five different times. Like I said, I called, never heard anything. Yeah. But it's interesting you say that you can go right under 'em, you can walk right by 'em.
That's just it. The fact of the matter is There are no rules. They never follow a script by any means. But yeah, I personally I, like I've heard so many people say this, and I've had I think enough experiences that I feel comfortable saying this and I don't just sound like somebody repeating this, but like later mornings for Turkey hunting, I love Yep.
If you can find one that left the hens and is looking for one, because like when I heard that bird at 11 o'clock, I thought, unless he's got hens with them, he's in a spot that's workable and he might be pretty receptive. Sure enough, it was 10 minutes and I killed him. Yeah. 10, 15 minutes or whatever it was.
Sometimes you get into [01:22:00] those situations and then, the times you get into those situations where you had, like you, they had hens with them, they're gobbling or carrying on. It's as exciting. It's as exciting, but you can't work 'em. Or, you had a train thing happening to you.
But I, I think that's just why it's fun cuz there's no rules. There's, they defy everything, but you get into some general rules of thumb and you roll with it and you learn something every time you go. And I remember asking you before we went out the night before we went out hunting, I asked how do they act in the rain?
Because I don't know that I had ever, yeah. I don't believe I ever Turkey hunted in the rain before, so I wasn't sure, but I tell you what, based off of friends, coworkers, and social media from this opening weekend, they were vocal all over the state. Yeah. Birds were shot this weekend from, I saw there, there were, there was a lot.
I have a lot of friends that killed birds and the. I've hunted birds that were, it was rainy and miserable. I didn't hear 'em gobble a single time. Yeah. I've seen them in the trees till nine, 10 o'clock and then they fly down. And then I've had days [01:23:00] where it was rainy and miserable and from the time they woke up till I was done hunting, they were gobbling.
So it's, yeah. I don't know. Stupid birds. It's tough, but that's why we do it. It's fun. It's fun. It's fun. It keeps me going back out. All right. Hey, let's let's wrap this up. So thanks for thanks for BSing our start out. Oh yeah. I was really enjoyed picking your brain on your Turkey hunting and your, just your camp experiences.
And I'm really looking forward to looking forward to you guys coming back and hopefully telling me some more Turkey hunting stories from this upcoming weekend. So best of luck to you. Yeah. Thanks for having us. Yeah, thank you. Best of luck with your second tag. Yeah, I'm gonna need it.