Editor’s Note: Turkey season already has begun in some places, and several states’ seasons start March 15. This week I’ve covered information for better turkey hunting with my turkey-guiding friend, Bob Long. Bob went turkey hunting with his daddy as far back as he could remember, and he started carrying a gun when he was 9. He grew up in west/central Alabama in York, an area that has had one of the longest turkey seasons in the nation for years and never has had a closed season. Bob started guiding at Bent Creek Lodge (http://www.bentcreeklodge.com/) in Jachin, Ala., in 2001.
When I’d only been guiding for about 2 years, I heard the other turkey hunters talking about this particular client who would get so excited while hunting that he would vomit. They said, “You need to keep this client a little bit farther away from the turkey when he first gets excited, or he’ll spook the bird.” I hunted with this fellow one afternoon. When we were walking out of the woods, I made an owl hoot, and a turkey gobbled down in the creek bottom below us. I told my hunter, “We’ll come back and hunt that gobbler in the morning.” Before first light the next morning, we heard the turkey gobble. Because the woods were still dark, we were able to get down in the creek bottom where we had heard the turkey gobble. As we started through the creek bottom, the turkey was gobbling, my client started gagging and trying to keep from throwing up, and the turkey heard him. Actually the turkey would gobble every time the hunter gagged and tried to keep from throwing up. I couldn’t believe what was happening!
Finally, once we got to the spot where I wanted to set-up on the turkey, the fellow settled down and quit gagging. We called the turkey to within 60 yards, but the bird never came close enough for my hunter to get the shot. That had to be one of the funniest hunts I’d ever been on, and I had to control myself to refrain from laughing out loud every time the hunter gagged, and the turkey gobbled.
Another Funny Turkey Hunt:
This hunt happened in 2015 after I had scouted and found a spot where several different turkeys liked to feed and strut after they flew down in the morning. I was taking one of our clients to that field to wait on the turkeys to arrive. However, before we arrived at the field, I heard a flock of crows calling loudly and in an aggravated tone like they would when they saw a turkey. Immediately, I thought a turkey already was in the field. I took my binoculars out and eased-up to the edge of the field. Just about the time I spotted the tom, he gobbled. My hunter was waiting down the hill from me. I wanted to look for the turkey and make sure we had a gobbler in the field before I brought my hunter up to the edge of the field to set-up to take the turkey. Since we were out of sight of the turkey, I crawled out into the woods road and set-up a strutting gobbler decoy. I felt sure I could call to the gobbler, get him to come out of the field, look down that road and see my decoy.
When I gave a hen yelp, the gobbler in the field started running, came around the field and ran toward the gobbler decoy when he reached the dirt road. When the bird was at 40 yards, I told my hunter, “Take him.” To my surprise, my hunter said, “Let’s let him do his thing.” That gobbler ran all the way up to the decoy. Just before he would have jumped on the decoy, my hunter pulled the trigger. When my hunter shot the turkey, he was so excited he jumped-up and screamed and hollered. I’m certain he scared every turkey in the county as much as he was hollering and carrying on about taking that gobbler. I was rolling on the ground and laughing. I never will forget that hunt.
“Why Marry the Hunter’s Style of Turkey Hunting to the Guide’s Style of Turkey Hunting:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXTu6sNmKZU
“Why I Build My Own Turkey Calls:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YWjae5Q10I
To learn more about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’s book, “How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman,” available in Kindle and print at http://amzn.to/144Irn5 and from Audible at https://www.audible.com/pd/B01N39E8NT/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-079067. To get a free eBook, “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ps7hp9vdlek764m/AACP4EjpWIPxf8azkeWajvsMa?dl=0.