So i'm walking out of the woods the other morning and see a turkey hunter sitting in the road. He flags me off and points to the side. I just plop down and watch the situation unfold. Hadn't heard a gobble all morning due to the recent slaughterfest and insane hunting pressure, so I was happy to finally get some action!
He eventually sheds his vest and starts what I shall henceforth refer to as the 'Pinhoti Crawl'. Those who watch Dave Owens know what I am talking about. The hunter imitates it PERFECTLY! I seriously thought for a second I was watching Dave and even looked for a video camera. My next thought was jokingly, "Wonder if this fella has gaiters on?". This goes on for a few minutes and the hunter eventually goes back to his vest and starts walking my way.
As he approaches me, I was speechless. Pinhoti Project cap. Bottomland Camo. Leafy suit. Gaiters. Fastfire 3. A freakin' spitting image of Dave's attire! I didn't pay much attention to the gun but i'm willing to bet it was a 20 gauge with TSS.
The fellow tells me he saw 2 hens in the road. As they faded off he snuck up and heard drumming. He never saw the gobbler. So I ask him if he plans to circle the birds to try and cut them off. His response, "Nope, since has hens, i'll just drop a pin and try to find another'. [omg] Sound familiar in regards to Dave's before work hunts?
I'd already been looking at the topo and showed the fella how he could make a rounder on the birds. There terrain was perfect for it. If he wasn't going to try, I was!!! I guess I eventually convinced him and he said he'd hang around and see if anything happened.
The guy was a non-resident (like me) in his mid-20s new to hunting public land in that state.
I LOVE the content put out by the YouTubers. After the season is over, I will watch nearly every episode of a couple channels. But I am seeing a lot of hunters denying that the YouTubers are having an impact on our public lands. I have NEVER had an encounter with a hunter in the woods where they have asked me about a YouTuber....Until this spring. I have had no less than a half dozen occasions where a random hunter asks me something like "You watch *insert popular YouTubers*?" or "Ahh, so you travel like them THP boys?". I couldn't help but laugh when I was asked the second question as I have been traveling longer than most of the THP crew have been turkey hunting.
Since I finished up in MS, i've been hunting 2 adjoining states every weekened where the YouTubers have posted lots of videos from the past two springs. The crowds have been absolutely unreal and unlike anything I've ever seen. Even unsafe on certain areas. Yes, I know Corona is having a huge impact on the hunting pressure. But you cannot ignore the impact of social media as well. I'm witnessing way too many things related to social media. I STAY on turkey hunting forums during the spring and lots of other serious public land hunters are seeing similar things as well.
I'm posting this not because i'm mad or have a bone to pick. I just want folks to be aware of what is unfolding in front of us. I suspect public land in select areas next year will once again be inundated like never before, Corona or not. And I know we are going to have a lot more Pinhoti Crawlers in the woods. Can put folks in a dangerous situation if they are unknowingly crawling a bird someone else is set up on... But as long as we are recruiting more hunters, no problem, right?
Sorry for the wall of text. Enjoy watching Pinhoti's #1 fan crawl a turkey [biggrin]