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What Turkey Hunters Want to Know Day 3: Why Turkeys Are Difficult to Hunt

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Editor’s Note: From a Google survey, I’ve learned what hunters want to know about hunting turkeys. Many of them never have turkey hunted before, and others have called longbeards but have specific turkey-hunting problems they don’t know how to solve. First a hunter needs to understand that each gobbler he or she hunts is an individual bird with his own traits, hunter experiences and survival instincts. So, no one answer will answer all turkey hunters’ questions for each turkey-hunting situation. If you have turkey-hunting questions you need possible answers for, email [email protected], and John will try to help. 

A New Turkey Hunter’s 1st Two Hunts:

Question: Are turkeys both easy and hard to hunt?

John E. Phillips: I’ll have to answer that question by telling you about an experience I had with a new turkey hunter. A friend of mine asked me how to hunt turkeys three weeks before the season opened. I told him to:

  • Go to the place where he planned to hunt, and listen for turkeys to gobble just before or right at daylight.
  • Return to that same region, and look for turkey feathers, scratchings, tracks and turkey droppings to learn where that turkey is.

Well, my friend, Jim, followed each of my instructions. At about 10:00 am on opening morning, he was at my house with a longbeard gobbler he’d taken. I was so excited for him because he’d bagged his first turkey on the first morning, he’d ever hunted turkeys. I excitedly asked him, “Wasn’t that a great hunt?” and he answered, “Not really.” I couldn’t believe my ears, so I said, “Tell me about your hunt.” Jim answered, “I went to the spot where I’d heard a turkey gobble and found droppings and tracks. Then I gave a few clucks and yelps just like you told me to do.

Turkey hunters and turkey

“In less than five minutes, I saw hen turkeys flying out of the tree and walking up this hill, about 10 yards from me. I noticed they were calling much better than I did. So, I put my call down, got my gun on my knee as the turkey was coming, and when he was 15-yards away, I shot him. There just wasn’t much to this turkey hunting.” 

I laughed and said, “Jim, if you continue to hunt turkeys this season, you’ll find out that you just had one of the rarest hunts of all.” Jim came by my house at the end of turkey season with a big grin on his face and said, “I hunted turkeys almost every weekend after I killed my first one, and I never got another shot. You were right. That first bird I bagged might have been the rarest turkey I ever would hunt.”

Turkey Hunting Is a Chess Game:

John E. Phillips: The truth about turkey hunting is that it’s neither hard nor easy. For me, turkey hunting is like a chess game. The turkey does something, and I try to counter his move and get in a position to take him. Sometimes I do, but more often than not, I don’t. Instead, the turkey outsmarts me. However, every time I go into the woods in the spring, I enjoy playing the game with the longbeards, whether I win or lose. Some days turkey hunting can be easy, but more than likely, the gobblers will beat me before I beat them. For me, that’s what makes the sport so exciting – the challenge of trying to take a turkey that I know is more woods-smart than I am. The smarter the gobbler is, and the more times he beats me, the more dedicated I become to play the game again with that same longbeard in hopes of winning.

Tomorrow: What Chokes, Ammo and Set-Ups Take Turkeys

Expert Guidebooks on Turkey Hunting

PhD Gobblers: How to Hunt the Smartest Turkeys in the World

Turkeys that have earned their PhDs in the turkey-hunting wars pose problems to hunters because these birds know more about hunter-dodging than most hunters know about turkeys. In this book, expert hunters will give their best ideas for taking these season-ending gobblers.


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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