Treasure the Memories

For years whenever I shot a deer or caught fish I would just clean them and go on about my business. Sometimes I would maybe snap a picture but most of the time I wouldn’t. After years of doing that, it hit me that I was missing out on being able to look back at my past hunts and re-live those adventures because I didn’t have an

y pictures to look back on. After being part of the Backwoods Life crew for a while I have been accustomed now to taking tons of pictures of before, during, and especially after the hunts or fishing trips. One of my pet peeves these days is how people will do all this preseason work, scouting, putting time in the field, and then shoot a great animal but only take about a minute or two to take a couple of pictures.

To me, the picture part afterwards has become almost as important of an event as the whole hunt was. Taking a few minutes and snapping some pictures
leaves you with something to go back to and remember the hunts. Plus, if you take pictures here and there during the hunt then you have a story you can tell with your pictures. A lot of times pictures don’t happen because your by yourself. An easy way to solve that is using the timer feature on your camera or phone. Most of the pictures I have of my kills were taken by myself using the timer on my phone while it was balanced on a log or my backpack or whatever else I can use to balance it on. And there are tons of apps out there to use to enhance your picture to make it pop .

Don’t be afraid to use the filters and enhancements like on Instagram or any other apps out there. All that being said to just say, take lots of pictures of all your hunts and adventures so you’ll have those memories to look back on and share with your friends and family.

Jeremy Johnson, Backwoods Life Crew – Alabama

Only One First Turkey

This past April first was like no other I have ever experienced. This is normally a really busy time of year for me and I am normally helping coach my son’s 9u baseball team on the weekends. It just so happened, that my son and I got the weekend off and got to go to the woods to chase the old thunder chicken. Taylor has been hunting with me several times but has never had to opportunity to harvest an animal. Little did I know that this Saturday that was all going to change.

The morning started bright and early at 5:30 am. Taylor is not a morning person but this morning he jumped out of bed and was ready to go before I could cut off my alarm. I had a good idea where the turkey were roosting so in no time we were set up and waiting on the first gobble of the hunt. I had Taylor sitting in my lap and we were concealed by some green leafy bushes that were scattered throughout the pine plantation. The decoys were set in the food plot and Taylor had his 20 gauge ready for the first gobbler that dared challenge our Jake. I gave Taylor a few instructions and it wasn’t long before the woods came to life.

The turkeys started gobbling around 7:15 and continued to gobble until about 7:45 when they pitched down out of the trees. The only problem with our morning hunt was that we were in the wrong food plot. The birds were on the ground about 200 yards away and they weren’t coming to my calls. I could get the gobbler to answer but he wasn’t about to leave his hens and come our way. It didn’t take long for the hens to take our bird down into the hardwood bottom and the woods became silent. Our first encounter was over but we were far from being done.

Taylor and I walked the woods that morning and did not hear another gobble. I used every trick in the book but sometimes they just won’t gobble. Frustrated, we walked back to the truck so that we could ride to a nearby field and try to glass a bird. As I was turning onto one of the property roads, I noticed a black spot in the road about 300 yards away. I stopped the truck and grabbed my Hawke binos as I slowly opened my truck door. Once outside the truck, I confirmed that the black spot was a gobbler and I passed the binos to my son. I told Taylor to get ready and I backed my truck around the corner and made sure that we were parked out of sight. We got our Realtree gear on and made our way to the edge of the road. I slowly looked down the road and made sure that our bird was still there. I placed Taylor on a pine tree and made sure he was ready. I belly crawled through the ditch and out into the road with my turkey fan out in front. Once in the road, I began to yelp and cut with my mouth call. It didn’t take long before I saw a white head coming my way. The bird never gobbled, but he came down the road in full strut before stopping in front of me at about 30 yards. I looked over at Taylor and told him to shoot. With a squeeze of the trigger, the bird folded. I was a perfect shot.

I don’t know who was more excited! Taylor jumped up and I caught him in mid-air as he jumped into my arms. I’ve seen him hit home runs and score touch downs but they didn’t compare to this celebration. I swung him around while holding him high in the air. I could not believe that we had just fanned in this beautiful bird and Taylor finished it off with a perfect shot. I put Taylor down and we ran up to the bird as he began to flop around in the road. The bird had a paint brush for a beard and nice long spurs. I told Taylor that this bird was at least three years old and that it was one heck of a first bird. After taking pics and calling everyone we knew, we headed to Little’s Taxidermy with our trophy. This bird was going to have a special place on Taylor’s wall! I don’t remember my first turkey but I will never forget this hunt. There is only one first turkey and I am so glad that I got to be there for this one!

Fred Branch, Backwoods Life Crew – Georgia

Perfect Start In Alabama

Turkey season here in Alabama started on March 15th this year but due to our busy lives and schedules these days I didn’t get a chance to get in the woods till about five days after the season came in. My wife and I went down to the farm to fish the last hour or so of the afternoon on the 18th and on our way out we stopped to see if we could hear a bird gobble. We did better than that and saw four birds crossing the road and flying up to roost. So, with that information, I told my father in law David that I would pick him up the next morning because we needed to try those birds.

They were fired up the next morning and gobbled the minute we got out of the truck. We got setup in a little opening on the edge of the woods and called a few times. There were birds gobbling all out in front of us but there was also several hens with them too. We messed with them until right after the sun came up and then just got quiet to see where they would go. Just so happened that one of the hens came back towards our direction and went right by us. The gobblers fired off about 80 yards and we knew they were heading towards our setup. They tried to go around us but I called a little and turned the hens towards us and they went through the opening at about 25 yards. The gobblers circled around and came up right behind them and stayed a little further out but they were still in range. David couldn’t get a shot at first but I told him I had a shot and he said to let him have it. When I shot, the bird started flopping and the others just kinda stood around and that’s when the fun started. David picked out one of the others and shot it but didn’t put it down for good. So after a mad dash towards the bird and a big tumble over a low strand of fencing he didn’t see, he was able to finish the bird off and we had our first ever double.

It was an awesome morning with a great guy that resulted in two good birds taking a ride back to the house with us. All our hunts don’t go according to the script so when it all works out like that it makes it that much sweeter. It’s especially awesome when you get to spend the time in the woods with your family and friends.

Jeremy Johnson, Backwoods Crew Member – Alabama

Success

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A Bittersweet Time

With Alabama’s deer season now over, there are a mix of emotions. Its very much different from the rest of the country because our rut is just now kicking really good. This is the time that we constantly are checking the cameras to see if any new bucks are showing up and trying to figure out where to hunt the last few days to have the best chance at seeing one of those rutting bucks. It never fails that a couple of real good bucks will always show up this time of year and send everyone in a panic and make us start second guessing where we sit. But that is all part of the fun that goes along with trying to outsmart one of those big ol’ whitetail bucks. The only bad thing about it is the hunting part of this game ends for us next week but the strategies are pretty much a year round thing. But for now it’s back to check some more cameras and staring at the map to find the best last minute spot.

– Jeremy Johnson, Backwoods Crew Alabama