by Capt. Wayne Nichols
Well the 2019 Flappy Bird Challenge has come to an end. A lot of Osceola’s got sent to the Big Sky Roost again this year, and several gave us the slip. That’s what keeps you going back after them, nothing like getting outsmarted by a bird with a brain the size of a pea, lol. As always, I can’t wait for the first weekend of March to put hunters on Osceola’s…and shortly afterwards I can’t wait for it to end! Don’t get me wrong, I love guiding for these magnificent turkeys, but running 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily on average, will flat out turn you into a zombie after a few weeks let alone from 3/2 till 4/21. We had a semi great season, from birds in one pasture hammering to birds in the next not making a sound…strange season to say the least. This is the first time since I started guiding I can honestly say I had a few hunters not get an opportunity to harvest an Osceola….heard and saw some but they just wouldn’t cooperate. No money was taken from them and I offered discounted hunts next year if they want to come back. I know it’s called hunting, but that’s not the point. Nothing is as exciting as hearing gobbling from daylight in the trees and having a big Tom strut into your setup, and the heartache that ensues when he hangs up or goes the other way. So now that turkey season is over we’re taking a break, briefly…Hogs are still running all over the place providing fun hunts with dogs n spears at night, as well as taking to them with guns-n-bows in hand.
Gator hunts on private land are also kicking off well. With few exceptions we try not to pressure them too much in the spring. Mating season is in full swing, so be extra careful around any water sources. Male alligators can get extremely aggressive this time of year, so keep a close eye on your kids and pets. Once mating season is over it’s the opposite. Female alligators that are nesting are very protective over their nest and will, in most cases, readily come to you to let you know you’re way too close! Be mindful of where you’re walking, fishing, boating, etc… if you find what you think is a nest (mostly looks like a pile of grass and mud) it’s best to go to another area. Trust me from experience, a bite from an alligator isn’t something you want. Aside from the pain and stitches you get to enjoy, there’s a bonus prize of getting an almost guaranteed infection…to which you’ll get some lovely antibiotics that you’ll enjoy almost as much as the bite itself! Hard to compare that great nauseous feeling you’ll have in between vomiting and burning up with a fever! It’s just more fun than you can stand!