John’s Note: Matt Morrett of Linglestown, Pennsylvania, won the Junior and Senior Grand National Turkey Calling contests, and the World Friction Turkey Calling Championships five times. He was only 16-years old when he won his first World Turkey Calling Championship.
When I go to shows, do seminars or am talking to a group of turkey hunters, someone in the crowd always will raise his hand and ask, “Matt, tell us about the toughest turkey you’ve ever hunted.” Well, I’ve hunted a lot of tough turkeys. But I guess the toughest turkey I ever hunted was a gobbler in north Florida, right on the Florida-Georgia border. A friend of mine, Vandy Collins, took me to a turkey that another hunter had shot 5 days before we hunted him. Although the other hunter didn’t kill the turkey, he did give him a thorough lead shower. Unfortunately, when I go into a hunting camp, the landowner or the people in camp generally “allow” me to hunt the worst gobbler on the property. I don’t think you can hunt a tougher turkey than a gobbler that has been sprayed with turkey shot but lives.
When we got to where we could hear the turkey that day in Florida, the bird was roosted in some flooded timber. This gobbler answered me every time I called to him, but he wouldn’t come in to my calling. Finally, I asked Vandy, “Which way does this turkey usually leave this swampy area?” Vandy pointed in the opposite direction to where I was trying to call the turkey. So, we left the gobbling turkey and went to the spot where Vandy had seen and heard the gobbler walk off to, after he flew down from the roost for several consecutive days. Once we were set-up, I cutt about three times on a friction call.
Within 10 minutes, we saw that turkey out in front of us at 60 yards. That turkey knew exactly where we were. He looked at us. Even though he didn’t spot us, he couldn’t see a hen either. So, instead of coming straight to us, that turkey walked a big circle around us and came up to the side of where we were sitting. We were filming a TV show. There wasn’t any way the cameraman or I could turn, shoot the turkey and get the video footage we needed. Vandy later told me, “Matt, the next time we hunt this turkey, if he shows up within gun range, I want you to shoot him – whether you get a TV show or not. This old gobbler is teaching my young turkeys some bad habits.”
To learn more about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ print, Audible, Kindle and Nook turkey books at http://johninthewild.com/books/#turkey and at www.barnesandnoble.com. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone. You can learn more about calling turkeys by going to johninthewild.com/audio-files/ for audio turkey tapes to purchase of Lovett Williams, Rob Keck and Chris Kirby, available for download to your SmartPhone, tablet or computer. For a free copy of John E. Phillips’ “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books/ to download.