Quest for 450: 441 Falls in Second Day of Florida

Limited to just one bird a day in Florida, Mike Pentecost and his guide, Bobby Carraway, scouted out a group of gobblers the afternoon after killing No. 440. Watching the birds until they roost, the group made their plan for the next morning and returned to camp for a hearty dinner and a good night of sleep. The alarm will wake them early the next morning.

The next morning’s hunt started out in textbook fashion with the hunter calling and firing up the hens in the nearby trees and the gobblers firing back at every note. Soon, the hens flew down and came right into Mike’s decoys. The gobblers were sure to follow in just a moment and Mike’s goal to take two birds in Florida would be complete…

But as typically happens, the turkeys have something else in mind.

Another group of hens flew down and headed for a pasture on the other side of a dike from Mike and Bobby and the gobblers went with that group.

“Another beautiful morning set was a bust and I was starting to feel a bit of pressure,” said Mike. His guide, Bobby, would have to bail on Mike by mid-afternoon in order to meet up with an incoming group of hunters, which meant Mike would be limited on where he could go. Today was it for him to get a second Osceola.

The sun was climbing and was heating up, which meant birds will typically head for shade in the Sunshine State. Bobby suggested they hit a burned area, which he felt good about catching a bird in. Mike isn’t sure, but reminds himself again that it is always best to trust your guide.

Mike Pentecost with bird number 441.“It always pays to stay with your wingman. Even Tom Cruise learned that in Top Gun,” Mike laughed. The group fashioned a makeshift blind out of palms and cabbage bush and started yelping. Soon, they had a distant gobbler answering their calls. It took awhile to get him fired up, but eventually, he started coming. Amazingly, the gobbles of one tom turned into the gobbles of two. Both birds were heading their way…and then they went silent.

They heard nothing for a good while and Bobby decided the group should move. Before they did, however, Mike hit his crow call and a gobble boomed back from right in front of them.

“There they were in plain view but still some distance away,” said Mike. The toms were coming but had just gotten quiet! We had nearly messed up by moving.”

Hunter and guide quickly dropped back down into their spots and began calling.

“It’s a beautiful sight to see a gobbler and then two strut all the way into your decoys just 25 steps away and everything finally work as planned,” said Mike. 

The largest of the two strutters was right in front of Mike, who squeezed the trigger as soon as he heard camarman, Terry Sullivan, say, “You got the green light baby!” Down went Osceola No. 2 of the season and No. 441 lifetime.

It was 2 p.m. and Bobby had to get out of there to pick up new clients and Mike had to vacate the area to make way for them.

Excited with the successful hunts, Mike planned on hitting South Georgia for a little hunting next, but his elation—and plans—quickly changed.

It’s his wife Robin. She tells Mike that his 4-year-old son Jacob is having problems breathing. Allergy issues have grown into pneumonia and they are putting him in the hospital.

Mike immediately changed the aim of his truck from South Georgia to Alabama and home. Robin told Jacob maybe his daddy could be there by his side before the end of the day and Mike was going to do everything he could to make that happen.

“Hunting is fun but family is more important!” said Mike. What happens with Jacob the next few days will determine where Mike goes next…if anywhere.

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