John's Journal...

Taking Early-Season Mississippi Turkeys with Preston Pittman

Call the Boss Lady

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: In mid-March, I hunted with Preston Pittman of Pickens, Mississippi, at Lifetime Hunts, LLC, (601-859-8313; located at Brookson Plantation in Macon, Mississippi. As most of you know, at the first of turkey season, the gobblers oftentimes are still bunched-up and/or with hens. This week, Preston Pittman, the creator of Preston Pittman Game Calls ( and a World Champion turkey caller, will tell us how to solve the problems resulting from henned-up gobblers, as well as explain how to get your early-season bird.

Question: Preston, you had five gobblers coming into the region where you Click to enlargeand Danny Grove, the host of “No Fences Outdoors,” were set up. When and why did you tell Danny to take the shot?
Pittman: Since I was the videographer on this hunt, I wanted to video the gobblers running in and milling around in front of Danny. When I had enough footage for a good episode, I told Danny to pick out one of those gobblers and take him. I didn’t have to tell him twice.

Question: How close were the gobblers to Danny when he took the shot?
Pittman: Those gobblers were 30-yards away. He took a 2-year-old gobbler with a 10-inch beard that weighed 16-1/4-pounds.

Question: Why do you call to the boss hen when a gobbler’s henned-up?Click to enlarge
Pittman: That gobbler waits all year to breed. During the breeding season, he wants to breed as many hens as possible. Generally he’ll gather-up a harem, and wherever those hens go, he’ll stay with them, so he can be there when the time to breed arrives. When a boss hen gets into an argument with another hen and starts leading the flock away, the gobbler will go wherever the hens go. But this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a gobbler will tire of the hens and go off by himself. Or, a gobbler may be run out of a flock and be by himself.

Question: Why does the boss hen call back to you when you start calling?Click to enlarge
Pittman: The boss hen is a jealous lady. She doesn’t like any other hens talking to her boyfriend or to the other gobblers in her flock, so she’ll try to challenge the new hen calling to her flock. She shows her dominance with aggression in the same way a boss gobbler shows his dominance. The dominant hen thinks, “I’ll either run-off that other hen or put her in her place and teach her not to talk to my flock.”

Question: Why were the 2-year-old gobblers in that flock?
Pittman: These 2-year-old gobblers stay with the flock at this time of year because we’ve had good hatches for 2-consecutive years here in Mississippi. There are plenty of turkeys in the woods, more than we’ve had in past years. The gobblers usually bunch-up in the fall and may not break-up until the breeding season is in full swing, which generally hasn’t happened at the first of the season.

Contact the sponsors of this turkey hunt to learn more: Mississippi Department of Tourism (601-358-3603); Longleaf Camo (866-751-2266); Vicious Fishing Line (1-866- 645-0024,; and Pittman Game Calls (601-544-8090).

Tomorrow: Wise-Up to an Old Gobbler’s Ways

Check back each day this week for more about "Taking Early-Season Mississippi Turkeys with Preston Pittman"

Day 1: Get Them Coming
Day 2: Close the Deal When a Gobbler’s With Hens
Day 3: Call the Boss Lady
Day 4: Wise-Up to an Old Gobbler’s Ways
Day 5: Follow the Flock with the Gobbler


Entry 502, Day 3