John’s Note: Every gobbler is a challenge, but some are candidates for the Turkey Hall of Fame. Gobblers are individuals. Although many will do what they’re supposed to do, when and the way they are supposed to do it, some turkeys become so expert at eluding the hunter, they seem almost supernatural. These toms have advanced degrees in hunter dodging, and in my lifetime I’ve met my share of these birds. But that’s what I enjoy about the sport of turkey hunting – you never know what’s going to happen, and you’re playing against an opponent that on his turf is often as smart, if not smarter, than you are. While pursuing gobblers, I’ve also had the good fortune to hunt with and interview some of the greatest turkey hunters in America today. All agree there are some gobblers that never can be killed legally.
He took my brother Archie and me into the woods and out on the water every chance he had. We spent many enjoyable days afield. When my son John, Jr. – JJ – was about 10-years old, I wanted to share with him my love of outdoor sports. For his first turkey hunt, JJ and I were using a lease we shared with a couple of other sportsmen. On the morning of this particular hunt, there were several other hunters in camp, so we left early for the woods. At first light, we heard a turkey gobble and went to him. Taking a stand about 75 yards from the bird, I gave a few tree calls, and the turkey answered. We waited awhile for the turkey to fly down. I made a fly-down cackle, and the tom gobbled again. Then the turkey began to gobble on his own. So, I whispered to JJ, who was sitting between my legs, “Get your gun on your knee, son.
We’re going to kill this turkey.
However, for about 45 minutes the turkey gobbled but wouldn’t come any closer. Then I heard another hunter calling to this same turkey. “Come on, son,” I told JJ. “We’ll move somewhere else and try and call the turkey in from another direction. Then either the other hunter will bag the bird, or we will.”
We changed locations and once more called to the gobbler. The turkey was just as responsive to the calling as he had been earlier and gobbled frequently. But still he wouldn’t walk into the area where we were calling. Finally after about 2-1/2-hours, the turkey strolled off and finally gobbled again, but almost out of our hearing range. Confused and frustrated, JJ and I returned to camp. Shortly, another hunter came in and asked if we had been trying to call a turkey down by the creek.
When I said we had, this hunter said he was the other caller attempting to work the same bird and told me, “I didn’t think either one of us had much of a chance of bagging that turkey though, because I shot at him right there last week.” Then I understood why the gobbler wouldn’t come to either one of us. Turkeys avoid places where they’ve been shot at previously. And, no amount of calling will bring a bird in to where he doesn’t want to go.
To get John E. Phillips kindle book “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible,” click here.
About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.