W• I • L • D H • U • N • T • I •N•G
A MOVIE STAR, A HANDSOME DRIVER & KING OSCEOLA
beautiful game was crossing the road, but no Osceola tur-keys.
At the end of the third day, I told Jimmy I’d had enough.
Right before shooting time was over, I said, “Jim, why don’t we
bless this land since they let us come? We know there’s turkey here,
these turkeys are just not active, it’s very hot.”
We agreed to drive to the end of the property and back through
the center to pray over the land when I had an idea: “Let me go to
the Osceola monument and ask forgiveness for what a white man
did to such a great Indian chief.”
So, I prayed there. I prayed for the Seminoles, prayed for
Osceola, and his inheritance, which was his family and his mind.
Then I came out and got back in the truck with Jimmy. As he
turned the truck around Jimmy hollered, “Oh my God, Rick,
look!” There were two Osceola gobblers and a hen standing 300
yards away in the road, getting the business of courtship on.
I decided to show Jim the old way to attract the toms. I took a
fan from my turkey pack. I opened up this fan full of tail feathers,
put my weapon behind my back, and crawled in the mud acting
like a third turkey. This was the turkey perfect storm to gobblers
and a beautiful young hen. I knew they would run her off and
come to kill the other turkey — me. So, I fanned him. Like I
predicted, the old sportsman I am, they ran her off. As she trotted
down the road, I knew we were in luck.
I proceeded to crawl in the mud on my hands and knees with
the turkey fan in front of my face, making a slight turkey call like
I’m game for a good fight. After 50 yards of crawling I looked back
at Jimmy, who had a “Have you lost your mind, you can’t kill a
turkey by walking up on him!” look on his face.
The two big gobblers decided it was time to kill the intruder
come to get their hen and came running. At that point I threw
down my turkey fan and raised to kill both turkeys.
B Y R I C K S T O K E R A S T O L D T O P A T B R A D F O R D TThis is the wildest hunting story I’ve ever heard, and I’m glad to
be a part of it.
Three years ago, I needed an Osceola turkey to make my World
Slam complete, and I went down to see my very best friend, Jimmy
Whitley, in Ponte Vedra, Florida, where he had a hunting lease, but
you don’t normally see Osceola Wild Turkeys that far north.
Once out there, we’d built a couple of blinds and then we were
asked to leave — because the landowner said that my friend Jimmy
could not have a guest, it was against the rules. We left a little
So, no fowl.
We went to my favorite restaurant, Three Forks, in Jacksonville.
We were eating supper and in came a guy named Jimbo, also from
Ponte Vedra. He heard the story from Jimmy about how we were
asked to leave and how disheartened we were.
After supper, Jimbo’s leaving remark was, “Let me call my movie-star
wife and see if there’s a piece of land south of St. Augustine
that has a lot of turkeys on it.”
His wife buys properties that had significant historical events. She
also has a driver, a guy that helps her with her business named Pete.
Pete was a handsome 50-year-old guy who picked us up the next
morning to take us to this Osceola turkey area south of St Augustine.
“You’ll like this place, Rick,” Pete said. “The place where they
captured Chief Osceola is on this property. There is a monument
there raised to his whereabouts on his last days in Florida.”
Chief Osceola was probably one of the most intelligent men of
his time, and knew how to find game and fresh water and grow
crops in salty, marshy, swampy Florida.
This great war Chief under a universal sign of truce, a white flag
was seized by U.S. Army in deceit, struck, chained and shackled,
then imprisoned. He died less than a year later of a throat infection
at Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, so they say.
So, me being a history buff, I dug that, and wanted to see this
It had rained for three straight days, all day and all night. This
beautiful piece of ground was now a big mud pie, and for three
hard days of hunting, Jimmy and I sat in the rain. Off in the dis-tance,