My hunt started last September as I was planning for my retirement in mid March 2019. Osceola turkey hunting was on my bucket. My concern was the timing of this hunt, turkey season where I was hunting opened a few weeks before I could get there. My hunt was scheduled for 1st, 2nd, and 3 of April. Driving, my wife and I left on 3/18 and planned to spend some time around Tampa/Clearwater before heading south to Okeechobee (2hrs). We arrived in Okeechobee the afternoon of the 3/31 and met up with my outfitter (Bob) later that day. He told me just what I was hoping to hear........hunting has been slow BUT he has been hearing gobbling the last couple of mornings. Great! Next morning he was planning for us to hunt in a popup blind. We were setup early and before light a bunch of hogs wondered right in front of our blind. I could see their silhouettes and hear the snorting/grunting. Good start! As it started getting light I was checking out our setup. We were in a tree line, in a pasture, with a big woodlot approx. 100yrds in front of us. Looked perfect. Normally I hunt alone so I was going to really enjoy being able to "sit back" and watch someone else at work. It wasn't long before we heard the 1st gobbles in the direction of the woodlot. As we sat there it sounded like 4 maybe 5 different birds. We had couple of decoys out in hopes the turkeys would cooperate and we could video the hunt. Off to my left we spot another group of hogs (8-10) and soon after a few deer in the direction of the turkeys. It isn't long before we spot a hen and gobbler off to our right maybe 100yrds away. We watch them untill they are out of sight. I could easly see his beard so I'm thinking he must be a pretty good one. About 10min later Bob says "I can hear him spitting/drumming" as he's turning around to look out the back of the blind. He spots the gobbler and we do a fire drill trying to get turned around inside the blind. He opens the flap in front of me, I pick up the gobbler walking from my left to right, he's about 35yrds out. He gets behind a palmetto bush as Bob does a couple clucks. The gobbler stopped and put his head up. Game over! What a great morning, great hunt, and a great bird. It was one of those days when I would have enjoyed just being in the outdoors. Beard: 10" Spurs: 1 3/4" - 1 5/8"
Later in the day we (wife and I) did an airboat ride that we both really enjoyed.
I'm thinking I might have to do it again next year, we'll see.