John's Journal...

Osceola Turkeys with William Sullivan on the Lands of General Van Fleet

Hunting with a General

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: William Sullivan, president of the Florida chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), has hunted turkeys in Florida all his life. During the first of March in 2007, I hunted with him on property formerly owned by General Van Fleet, a general during the Korean War, who entertained most of the generals from the Korean and the Vietnam wars on this property. Too, the lodge on this property has been used by the Queen of Click to enlargeEngland, President Eisenhower, the President of Korea and many other national and international dignitaries.

Question: Tell me a little bit about where we’re hunting.
Sullivan: We’re hunting Frasier Family Farms owned by Donald Frasier, but this land used to be owned by General James A. Van Fleet, who played a major role in the Korean War. He built the house we’re staying in and lived here after he retired. General Eisenhower, the Queen of England and all the generals during Van Fleet’s time came here to hunt with him. Even the President of Korea stayed here. General Van Fleet was so popular in Korea that his exploits still are taught there today in history classes. General Van Fleet also really cared about the people of Korea and felt that Brahman cattle would help their economy. So, he bought those cattle in Florida and raised and shipped them to Korea. We’ve had a large number of outdoor writers hunt here, and some of the biggest names in all the magazines have taken Osceola here. Wayne Shelby, who runs the hunt, scouts the area for several weeks before the writers arrive, and we’ll usually have 15 to 20 birds located before our writers get here. So far, we’re 100%Click to enlarge every year on taking turkeys for the writers and the dignitaries who hunt with us.

Question: How big are the Osceola turkeys?
Sullivan: The average Osceola turkey will weigh 17 to 19 pounds and will usually have a 10-inch beClick to enlargeard. This year has been somewhat unusual because we haven’t seen a mosquito, and the temperatures have been in the 30s, which is extremely rare for the first week of turkey season. We also have had a 15-mph-wind that hasn’t helped the season.

Question: In your opinion, what’s the most-difficult part about hunting Osceolas?
Sullivan: Finding a place to hunt. Prior to turkey season, I’ll get about 20 calls per week from people trying to find where to hunt Osceolas.

Question: Do you have outfitters to which you can direct people?
Sullivan: Yes, I do. But if they want to hunt public land, I suggest they start applying for special-opportunity hunts at the end of the turkey season. If you’ll be looking for land to hunt, you’ll have to search at least one year in advance. Florida tries to keep the pressure off its turkeys and limits the number of hunters so that each person who comes to Florida to hunt turkeys will have a really good chance of taking one.

To hunt with William Sullivan, you can write him at 2830 Blackwater Oaks Dr., Mulberry, Florida 33860, or call him at home (863) 425-6104, or on his cell at (863) 640-1395, or you can email him at

Tomorrow: Private Land Osceola Hunting

Check back each day this week for more about "Osceola Turkeys with William Sullivan on the Lands of General Van Fleet"

Day 1: Hunting with the Right Stuff
Day 2: Hunting with a General
Day 3: Private Land Osceola Hunting
Day 4: Public-Land Turkey Hunting
Day 5: Green Swamp West



Entry 397, Day 2