John’s Note: J.J. Kent owns Kent Outdoors in Pottsboro, Texas (www.kentoutdoors.com) about one hour north of Dallas where his hunters have about 20,000 acres to chase turkeys like he has for 32 years. The Regional Mossy Oak (www.mossyoak.com) Pro Staff Manager for Texas, he’s a Pro Staffer for Zink Calls (www.zinkcalls.com) and Avian-X decoys (www.avian-x.com). “My wardrobe includes Mossy Oak Obsession, Mossy Oak Bottomland and Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity (www.mossyoak.com),” Kent says. “Often, I’ll mix and match my camo, depending on where I’m hunting.” He especially likes the Lost Lady diaphragm call and the Power Hen slate call and shoots a Browning shotgun (www.browning.com) with a Patternmaster choke tube (www.patternmaster.com) and Hevi-Shot Magnum blend #5, #6 and #7 shot shells (www.hevishot.com/catalog/magnum-blend).
Whether you’re a beginning turkey hunter, or you’ve been hunting turkeys all your life, in my opinion, the single most-important ingredient to have a successful turkey hunt is not your calling ability or the way you position your decoys – it’s learning and practicing patience. Any turkey hunter who has been hunting turkeys for any length of time has had at least three or four turkeys that he’s thought have left and aren’t coming in that have spooked when he’s gotten up and not seen them. Last year we had a turkey gobbling, and we waited, waited and waited. Finally, I told my hunter, “I guess the turkey has left.” As we both went out the backs of our blinds and took about 10 steps, we spotted the gobbler 75 yards away from our blind – strutting and drumming. The turkey could see our decoys from where he was, but we couldn’t see him. As soon as the turkey spotted us, he left the country. Even though I’ve been hunting turkeys all my life, I still make mistakes. But I like to think I’m a fairy patient turkey hunter.
One of the things I’ve learned this past year is how to get the “goody” out of a turkey hunt. Many times, hunters want to rush the shot and take the tom as soon as he’s within gun range. When we have gobblers within gun range, I’ll tell my hunters, “Let’s wait.” Hearing the words, “Let’s wait,” when a turkey is where you know you can shoot him takes a lot of self discipline and trust between the hunter and the guide. But last year many of my hunters got to see gobblers come in and beat up the decoys. For me, nothing is more exciting than watching big, strutting gobblers jumping up and down, pecking, kicking and beating the decoys with their wings. This is the most awesome sight that a turkey hunter ever can watch, especially when all this commotion is going on 14 feet from the blind. When the fight’s over, I tell my hunter which bird to shoot and to go ahead and take the shot. Watching those turkeys fight the decoys and waiting until the fight is over before the hunter takes the shot is what I call really squeezing the “goody” out of the hunt. The hunter and I get to watch the show, and because I’m shooting video, we can watch the show over and over again. Too, my hunter can show his friends and family the turkey fight that took place 14 steps from where he was sitting. The only way you can have that kind of experience is to be patient enough to let a gobbler go to war on decoys. Since we’ve started hunting this way, my hunters really enjoy the fight more than any other part of the hunt.
To learn more about turkey hunting from the masters, get these Kindle eBooks and print books by John E. Phillips, including: “Mossy Oak Pros Talk Turkey Tactics,” “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,” (also available in an audio book from http://www.audible.com/pd/Self-Development/Turkey-Hunting-Tactics), “The 10 Sins of Turkey Hunting with Preston Pittman” and “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting.” Click here to get these books.
To get John’s book, “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” for free, go to www.johninthewild.com/free-books to download.