Mike Pentecost and another turkey hunter with a trophy

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The Master Public Land Turkey Hunter Day 5: How to Hunt a Lunchtime Gobbler

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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.”

Wild turkey

Once I always could find this specific gobbler around lunchtime. He’d hang out in a creek bottom in some of the most-beautiful woods I’d ever seen – an ideal spot for a turkey to live. But every time I hunted him, he’d whip me. This turkey would do everything that a turkey hunter would want him to do. I’d call, he’d gobble; I’d call again, and he’d gobble. Every time he got closer and closer to me. I almost could taste that turkey sandwich that I was convinced was about to be delivered to me. However, suddenly the woods would become stone dead quiet. My heart would be beating in my throat and pounding in my ears because I knew I was about to see that gobbler. Then about 30-minutes later, that tom would gobble behind me, although I’d have my thumb on the safety and my finger on the trigger to shoot him somewhere else. I made so-many mistakes that the gobbler knew what I was, where I was, and what I hoped to do to him. He spanked me as hard as a turkey ever spanked me.

But, finally one day I understood how to play his game. I called to him – he gobbled. I called to him – he gobbled coming to me. I turned around 180 degrees and walked straight away from that turkey and said to myself, “This may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.” However, I kept telling myself, “Today’s gonna be the day he walks straight in to where I’m calling.” 

Mike Pentecost rifle turkey hunting

That Lunchtime Tom kept gobbling all the way from just about where I was calling from, and I stayed back from my calling position. Next the turkey shut-up. I couldn’t stand the suspense. I called just a little when I backed away from my original calling position. Then, I truly couldn’t stand waiting any longer. I turned around the tree I was sitting against, and there he was behind me again. But the turkey was far enough away from me when he gobbled that I had time enough to move around the tree and out of the way to make sounds like a hen turkey feeding. The turkey was walking toward me as he was drumming.

Finally, I saw in my peripheral vision out the side of my eye that the tom was coming very cautiously and slowly, looking for the hen. Once he stepped into a little shaft of light, his feathers lit-up like neon. That tom walked behind a tree, giving me time to adjust my shooting position and get down on the stock of my gun. When he stepped-out I, saw he was a beast of a gobbler sporting the biggest, thickest beard I’d ever seen. I squeezed the trigger, knocked the turkey over and rolled him. I then sprinted across the little creek between us, jogged up the hill and watched that big bird flop and roll down the hill. When I reached where the turkey was lying flat on the ground with his wings spread-out, tail down and head still, all I really had to do was pick him up.

Wild turkey

However, when I looked at my gun, I saw that it failed to completely eject the shell. I pulled the shell out and put another shell into the chamber. But when I looked up, my turkey was gone. I didn’t hear or see him walk off. I didn’t find any blood. I searched for that turkey all that day and the next two days, walking all over that property. I looked in every branch, each hole and every fallen tree. Then I sat down in the woods and cried like a baby.

If you hunt turkeys long enough, you’ll have one of those kinds of days. Right now, I’m more interested in taking my two sons, Isaac and Jacob, who are 16 and 15, turkey hunting. They’ve been hunting with me since they were young. I want to take them to the next step and teach them as much as I’ve learned as I can about hunting turkeys. I hope to one day write a book and pass on to the next generation of turkey hunters what I’ve learned.

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.


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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