Editor’s Note: My longtime friend, Preston Pittman of Pickens, Mississippi, one of the nation’s top competitive turkey callers, has won five turkey-calling championships. Not only is Pittman a contest winner, Preston Pittman actually becomes the turkey when hunting. On a “David Letterman Show” some years ago, Pittman strutted and gobbled and preened himself just like a wild turkey would. According to Pittman, if you’re hoping to take turkeys in the spring, you must observe turkey body language with your binoculars and use that knowledge to become the turkey.
Question: Preston, are you using other calls beside turkey, crow and squirrel calls when you’re trying to call gobblers in during the spring?
Pittman: Yes, I am. I’ll often take a quail whistle with me and blow the quail whistle after I’ve given a series of yelps and clucks, or after I’ve cutt to a gobbler with a cutting call. Every animal in nature affects another animal. If you want your calling to sound more realistic, then you’ve got to be aware of this fact, and if you know how turkeys impact the other birds and animals in the woods, you can make your calling sound 100% more realistic. I use these other calls to prove to the gobbler I’m trying to take that I am a real turkey.
Question: Preston, what’s the worst gobbler you have to hunt?
Pittman: It’s what I call a hand-me-down gobbler. This name means that your buddy has attempted everything he knows to try to take that old gobbler. When your buddy and everyone else in your hunting camp gives up on the idea of taking that turkey, they hand him down to you. So, now this gobbler that you’re attempting to take knows every trick that every buddy in your hunting club has played on a gobbler. By adding these other sounds to my calling sequences, I’m giving that gobbler something else to listen to other than the standard calling he’s been hearing all season. I’m using other animal and bird sounds to convince that gobbler that the hen calling he’s hearing is actually coming from a hen walking through the woods and not from a hunter with a shotgun in his hands.
To learn more about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’s book, “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting,” available in Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IXXJWOQ and in print at https://www.amazon.com/Outdoor-Lifes-Complete-Turkey-Hunting/dp/1720096821.