Editor’s Note: Mike Pentecost, the founder and owner of Woodhaven Custom Calls, Inc., in Heflin, Alabama, has been hunting turkeys for more than 40 years – spending most of his hunting life on public lands. He had a burning desire to build the best possible turkey calls when he started his business in his grandparents’ basement in the 1980s. His passion led to the development of his well-known calls – the Red Wasp and the Cherry Classic Crystal (all made in the USA). His company always has given superior customer service. As Pentecost explains, “I want to always have the faith and the courage to continue following the Lord and doing my best.”
I was hunting on a wildlife management area (WMA) that had been shelter cut. An area that’s shelter cut has had all the smaller trees cut- down and removed, but the larger trees are left about 50-yards apart. Shelter cuts have taught me as much if not more about how to hunt public-land gobblers than any other turkeys I’ve ever hunted. This Shelter Wood Gobbler was so smart that he knew if he stayed in that clear-cut area he could see everything around him, for perhaps 100 yards. He’d roost in one of those big trees out in the shelter area, so he could spot anyone or anything that might be coming close to him. After I hunted him for two – four days, I’d learned what he was doing.
This turkey had learned that when he gobbled, he’d see the hens coming to him. Then all he had to do was helicopter-down out of his roost tree, get with his hens and breed them. So, toward the end of the season when most of the hens were on their nests, this ole bird still would gobble enough to let me know where he was and in which tree. Then I could get close enough to him to possibly get a shot by hiding behind the terrain – small hills, ditches and terrain breaks. When I got as close as I thought I could, I took my time and got myself settled-down to the point I knew I could control my breathing. I made a really-soft call, and that ole turkey gobbled immediately. Then I knew he was straight out in front of me.
I was expecting him to come to me from the direction from where he’d gobbled. But my hunter instinct in my heart and my gut told me that that turkey wasn’t going to come straight in to where I could shoot him. Out the corner of my eye, I spotted a place in my sight 90 degrees to the left of where I thought the turkey would appear. There was no reason for him to go to the left, but, sometimes you get an intuitive feeling from having spent years hunting turkeys. You understand that generally turkeys won’t go and do what they’re supposed to do. More than likely they’ll appear in a place where you don’t think they’ll show-up, and they’ll spot you. Then the hunt’s over. So, even though reason dictated I shouldn’t move, I turned 90-degrees away from where I thought the turkey should be and aimed at a spot where I thought the turkey probably might be.
I barely got my shotgun settled on my knee, before that turkey stepped into that place. Once I squeezed the trigger on the Shelter Wood Gobbler, he tipped over and started flopping. I realized I was becoming a better turkey hunter than I ever had been. This Shelter Wood Tom was living in the middle of the WMA, and I’m sure that every turkey hunter who hunted that WMA had heard him gobble. Probably many of those hunters had called to him and possibly seen him, but no one had figured out how to take him. If I’d aimed where I thought that turkey would walk in front of my gun barrel, he would’ve spotted me, before I saw him. However, I’d been hunting long enough to know that most turkeys rarely do what you think they’ll do, especially an older tom that’s had a number of hunter encounters. They’ll make you think that they’re moving straight to you, and more times than not, just before they get to where they think they’ll see you, they’ll often circle to the left and/or to the right. Even though this hunt took place at the end of turkey season when most gobblers would have lost weight from chasing hens, he weighed 24-1/2 pounds, had a 12-inch beard, and 1-1/2 inch spurs.
Tomorrow: How to Hunt Public Land Turkeys
Check out John E. Phillips’ 12th book: “Turkeys: Today’s Tactics for Longbeards Tomorrow“
- hunting strategies with pros Will Primos, David Hale, Eddie Salter, Preston Pittman, Allen Jenkins, Terry Rohm, Paul Butski, Larry Norton and others.
- information about taking turkeys with .410 shotguns.
- box-call techniques.
- strategies for moving on turkeys.
- ways to hunt public-land gobblers.
- the differences in calling and hunting Eastern, Osceola and Western turkeys.
- the latest research on turkeys; and other information.
Click here to check out John’s 12th turkey book.
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.
VERSIONS: AUDIBLE, KINDLE & PRINT
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.
VERSIONS: AUDIBLE, KINDLE & PRINT
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.
VERSIONS: AUDIBLE, KINDLE & PRINT
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.
VERSIONS: AUDIBLE & KINDLE