John’s Note: Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, began turkey hunting with his dad at the age of 5. By age 13, he could call and bag his own gobblers. He hunts turkeys every year, about each day of the season. Walker’s won many turkey calling competitions and is a longtime guide at Bent Creek Lodge (http://www.bentcreeklodge.com) in Jachin, Alabama.
Horace Allen of Clarksdale, Mississippi, once brought his teenage son, Bill, to Bent Creek Lodge to hunt turkeys with Bob Walker. According to Walker, Bill had the makings of a great young hunter. “He’d do anything you asked him to do. In 4 days of hunting, we called up four longbeard gobblers, but none of them presented a clean shot for Bill. I was proud of the young man because he wouldn’t take a risky shot. I’d even called up a jake for him and told him to take the shot, however, he turned down the jake because he really wanted to bag a longbeard.”
Although the hunt ended without Bill Allen’s bagging a bird, young Allen had had a great hunt. The next year he returned to hunt again with Walker. But Walker and young Allen appeared to have struck out again on a 3-day hunt by 10:00 am. Then late in the morning at 10:30 am on this last day, they spotted a gobbler out in a field. “I really wanted to help this young man take his first gobbler,” Walker says. “He’s the kind of young person you really want to see succeed, and at that point, I was willing to try anything to help Bill get his gobbler. I don’t guess I’ve ever guided anyone that I’ve put more pressure on myself to get in a position to take a bird than I did on this hunt.”
The Allens had to leave camp at 12:00 noon. When Walker and Bill Allen spotted the gobbler, Walker, who had hunted this particular gobbler before, knew him as a bad bird. “This turkey would run from your calling, walk away from you and do most everything but come to you,” Walker reports. To get to the gobbler, the two hunters had to wade a thigh-high creek, but they never gave up. When they reached the spot where Walker wanted to call from, the bird had moved. Walker knew that instead of the tom’s coming in from the right-hand side, so that Allen could shoot left-handed, which he normally did, that the bird would come in from the left-hand side. Allen would have to take the shot by shooting right-handed. However, young Allen assured Walker he could make the shot. “Since the area was so thick, we couldn’t sit down and call,” Walker comments. “We stood behind a big water oak tree, and I started calling to the bad tom.”
The gobbler had three hens with him. When Walker began calling, the bird started drifting away from him and Allen. Then Walker whined to the turkey. The gobbler broke his strut, lifted his head and listened. Before resuming his strut, he turned his tail to Walker, and Walker whined again to the bird. This time the gobbler immediately dropped his strut, stuck his head straight up and then resumed his strut and started walking toward Walker and Allen. But the gobbler soon drifted to the middle of the field where the hens were. Once again, Walker gave a soft whine. Once the turkey came to within 20 yards, he had three hens with him. Walker turned to Allen and whispered, “Are you ready to take the shot?” Allen nodded, and Walker yelped loudly.
When the gobbler craned his head, Bill Allen did the deed he only had dreamed about until this time. And the 2-year hunt for Bill Allen’s first longbeard reached its conclusion. “I knew that if I went 2 years without getting Bill a shot, his dad would have ragged me unmercifully,” Walker explains as he laughs. “But what’s more important is I really wanted this young man to bag his first gobbler with me because he’d been such a good sport.” Walker loves to turkey hunt and thoroughly enjoys sharing the sport with others.
To get John’s book, “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” for free, go to www.johninthewild.com/free-books to download.
To learn more about turkey hunting from the masters, get these Kindle eBooks and print books by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible (available as an eBook or in paperback),” “PhD Gobblers: How to Hunt the Smartest Turkeys in the World,” “Turkey Hunting Tactics,” “How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman,” “The 10 Sins of Turkey Hunting with Preston Pittman” and “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting.” Click here to get these books.