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Going to War on Turkeys Day 4: Brad Harris Hunts Turkeys Hard

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John E. Phillips’ Note: When I go after a turkey, the war begins. If I don’t have to swim a creek, crawl through fresh cow manure, run through briars, climb trees, jump barbed-wire fences or slide down mountains, then I have had an easy day afield chasing turkeys. Like other aggressive turkey hunters who are scrappy and adventurous, I decide before ever leaving my home that whatever I have to do that’s legal and moral, I’ll do that day to take a tom turkey.

Turkey hunter and a turkey hunter with his trophy

Aggressive hunting is not just chasing turkeys, outflanking turkeys, calling loud and long to turkeys or continuing to hunt after all hope seems gone. Going to war with turkeys is a state of mind that dictates that no matter what happens during the day, you will endure and battle fiercely, until you take your tom, or you have to be physically drug back to camp because you’re exhausted. Through the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to hunt with some of the most-enterprising war lords of the turkey-hunting fraternity who have taught me the value of being aggressive when hunting turkeys.

My friend Brad Harris of Neosho, Missouri, is a nationally-known, longtime, avid turkey hunter. He showed me another way to hunt turkeys aggressively and go to war on them when hunting with a buddy when we tested our skills against the bronze mountain monsters of Missouri. Just at daylight, Harris called in three, longbearded gobblers – one of which was the dominant, strutting male. When the big bird dropped his strut and craned his neck to look for the hen he thought had been talking to him, I fired. But instead of falling, the turkey flew-off. Feeling dejected and angry for missing, I was agitated.


But Harris assured me that I shouldn’t worry about the one I’d missed. “We’ll find another bird to hunt before 1:00 pm when the season ends.”

However, an hour and a half later when another Missouri screamer headed straight for us, the tom spotted us and turned to run just as my shotgun reported. I missed again. Fifteen minutes later, we started once more to chase toms across the Missouri hills as Harris kept insisting, “Don’t give-up John. If we hunt the turkeys hard, we still may get your bird before the day’s over.”

Turkey hunter and a turkey hunter with his trophy

Thirty minutes before quitting time, the third longbeard of the day stepped into my gun sights 18-yards away as I prayed, “Please, God, don’t let me miss this one.”

I made sure my stock was against my cheek, the gun was straight and not canted, and the bead was placed squarely at the base of the turkey’s neck. When my 3-inch magnum sounded, the bird went down. As Harris observed later, “I knew if we hustled and hunted the gobblers hard, and you didn’t quit mentally or physically, we’d get you a bird.”

Tomorrow: Chest-Deep Wet for Turkeys

John’s latest print book was published last week: “Turkeys: Today’s Tactics for Tomorrow’s Longbeards,” and the Audible version should be available April 1. In his book that includes John’s time-tested ways to take turkeys from his 50+ years of hunting them, he mentions that the two ways to learn how to turkey hunt both work. You can learn all about turkey hunting by yourself through trial and error, which is the slowest way to learn to turkey hunt and means you’ll make the most mistakes. Or, you can hunt with the best turkey hunters anyone knows and learn from them what they do, why they do it, when they do what, and what not to do.

Expert Guidebooks on Turkey Hunting: Best Sellers

Turkey Hunting Tactics
This turkey hunting audiobook has entertaining chapters like: “How to Miss a Turkey”, “Hunting with a Guide”, and “The Turkey and the New York Lady”.

You’ll learn about all the subspecies of turkey across North America, how to use a turkey call, how to scout before turkey season, how to find a turkey to hunt, and what hunting gear you’ll need to put the odds in your favor to take a wily gobbler.


How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman
You easily can take a turkey if you don’t make any mistakes, but you have to know what the deadly sins of turkey hunting are to keep you from making those mistakes. If you understand how to hunt a turkey, you’re far more likely to take a gobbler than if you just know how to call a turkey.

Of course, calling is important, and if you want to learn to call a turkey, Preston Pittman will teach you how to call turkeys with box calls, friction calls, diaphragm calls, and other turkey sounds.

You’ll also learn why Preston Pittman once put turkey manure all over his body to kill a tough tom.

When you have turkeys that strut and drum in the middle of a field, when you know there’s no way to get close enough to get a shot, Pittman will show you some weird tactics that have worked for him to help you hunt tough ole toms.

But the main thing you’ll learn in this book is how to become the turkey.

Using what he’s learned while hunting wild turkeys, he’s also become a master woodsman who can take most game, regardless of where he hunts. To learn more secrets about how to be a turkey hunter from one of the world champions of the sport, this turkey-hunting book with Preston Pittman is a must.


The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible
The quickest way to learn how to turkey hunt successfully is to either hunt with a turkey hunter with years of experience or a turkey-hunting guide. These two types of turkey hunters have solved most of the problems turkey hunters ever will face. 

Just as one size of shoes won’t fit every person, one style of turkey hunting doesn’t fit each hunter.  Each turkey-hunting guide interviewed for this book has his own style of calling, hunting, and outsmarting turkeys.  

While listening to this book, make a list of the new information you’ve learned, take that list with you during turkey season, and try some of the new tactics. Then you’ll become a more versatile turkey hunter and prove the wisdom from The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible.   


Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting (2nd Edition)
This Audible book will help you learn how to call turkeys with two of the nation’s best, longtime and well-known turkey callers, Rob Keck, formerly with the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Lovett Williams, a wildlife biologist who recorded wild turkeys giving the calls that you’ll learn how to make on various types of turkey callers.


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