Turkey Season Opener | Gay, GA

We had the rare opportunity to join esteemed architect Keith Summerour on a trip to his Sportsmans Retreat south of Atlanta for the Turkey Season Opener in Georgia.  The trip offered us a glimpse into how the decorated architect views his hunts with the same tact that he does his designs.

As all seasoned turkey hunters know, the geography of the land and the presence of food, water, and shelter are all crucial to a good turkey habitat.  Turkeys roost in trees, which is what makes the oak-lined fields on the Summerour property a prime location.  Our hunting spot choices were centered around landscapes in which turkeys can roam and feed freely, but also, contain nearby areas of dense trees for them to roost at night.  After scouting the property the day prior, we decided upon the ideal location for our morning sit - a treelined field alongside a oxbow in the nearby river.

Gear: Mossy Oak Original Bottomland Collection | Benelli Super Black Eagle 12 Gauge Shotgun | #5 High Brass Turkey Loads | John Deere Gator XUV825i | Ball and Buck Leather Pot Holder | Handmade Wooden Box Call

From the moment we woke up at 5:30am, not a single detail was overlooked, including a start to the day with a strong espresso and fresh eggs scrambled in a cast iron skillet.  We always love Cooking in a Cast Iron Skillet, as the surface itself is infused with flavor from previous field to table adventures.  Covered in Mossy Oaks Original Bottomland Camouflage, we fired up the Gator and headed down the dirt roads to the field.  A dense fog hovered over the forest floor opening the opportunity for us to get into position unnoticed.  We sat quietly until Summerour broke the silence with an owl call to pinpoint the location of the roost. 

To our dismay, the birds which we had spotted on the edge of the tree line the night before, had ended up moving across a stream directly behind us.  A few gobbles and wing flaps later and they had landed on the ground.  In a swift yet risky decision we repositioned ourselves to face the birds.  Wrapping around the tree 180 degrees we spotted the group about 150 yards away.  Summerour raised his gun early as we were without much cover and didn't want to spook the birds.  Fortunately for us, the Jakes and Toms were in full strut and followed the hens to about 40 yards of our tree.  Just as they broke into range, a hen spotted us and began to flank off towards the tree line.  Quickly realizing this was the best shot he was going to have, Summerour acted quickly and fired his 12GA Benelli.

Tip from the Sportsman: Early morning fog keeps turkeys on the roost later. It’s possible that they sit up and gobble, but if they can’t see the ground they won’t fly down. Patience is always key to a successful turkey hunt.

With a perfect shot the bird dropped in its tracks as the others flew off.  This was a first for both of us, upon inspection the bird was truly unique. Three beards! This was a special bird and we took this as this as a sign of good fortune for the long season ahead. With a bird in our bag by 9am, we loaded up the Gator and headed back to the lodge planning and preparing the plans for our fresh harvest.  Stay tuned for this upcoming recipe on the Over + Under Journal.

Enjoyed reading about our Turkey Season Opener in Georgia?  Read more of our hunting stories below:

Remember to tag us when you're in the field using the #ballandbuck hashtag. Special thanks to our host and Lifestyle Enthusiast, Kieth Summerour, for letting us explore his property and make some lasting memories together.

Stay tuned to see more of our Spring adventures.

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