John's Journal...

Winning with the Wind When You Hunt Turkeys in Oklahoma with Phillip Vanderpool

The One That Didn’t Get Away

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: On my recent hunt at Rut-n-Strut near Sayre, Oklahoma, with outfitter Todd Rogers and Hunter’s Specialties’ pro Phillip Vanderpool of Harrison, Arkansas, the wind was blowing hard, knocking over trees and ripping shingles off roofs. The strength and the power of the wind almost destroyed my dreams of taking two Rio Grande gobblers, until Rogers explained that, “Because these turkeys have lived in the wind their entire lives, they’ve learned how to deal with it. And, so can you.”

We left the camp at Rut-n-Strut later than we planned on the second day, slipped around the hill along the edge of the green field below the roost and took a stand.  Then we could shoot across the green field. I hunted with Layne Simpson, writer for “Shooting Times,” and Phillip Vanderpool from Hunter’s Specialties. Layne took a stand Click to enlargeabout 10 yards from me close to the roost trees, and Phillip sat beside me. Since we were less than 50 yards from the turkeys, I couldn’t believe we didn’t spook them out of the roost. But a little before daylight, a gobbler pitched-down about 80 yards from Layne and began to gobble to the hens still in the tree. One by one, the turkeys pitched-out of the tree and flew down through the green field until they were less than 12 yards from me and Phillip. The long-bearded gobbler slowly walked toward us after strutting and gobbling about 45 minutes. However, as he came within gun range, the hens turned, faced him, walked toward him and then walked past him. Just as the gobbler turned to follow the hens, Layne fired, and the big longbeard went down. 

After collecting Layne’s gobbler, we spent the remainder of the day trying to find a turkey for me to take. Click to enlargeAlthough we heard several longbeards, we never could get into a position to call-in the turkeys. That night, we laid-out a game plan to slip back into the roost the next morning and set-up on the edge of the green field as we had on the first morning. “There’s more than one gobbler roosting in those cottonwood trees on the dam,” Phillip said. “Remember, we saw four gobblers the afternoon before Layne took his turkey. We should slip back in there in the morning, set-up like we did before and see if we can take another gobbler.” Click to enlarge

To learn more about the new Benelli Vinci, visit To find out more about Federal Ammunition’s heavyweight turkey shotgun shells, check out To hunt with Todd Rogers at Rut-n-Strut Guide Service, go to, email him at, or call 580-799-1920.  For more information about Hunter’s Specialties’ top-quality turkey hunting products, visit

Tomorrow: They Don’t All Have Longbeards

Check back each day this week for more about "Winning with the Wind When You Hunt Turkeys in Oklahoma with Phillip Vanderpool"

Day 1: Learning the Birds
Day 2: The One That Didn’t Get Away
Day 3: Hiding and Shooting
Day 4: Turkey Hunting Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This
Day 5: Many Lessons Learned


Entry 507, Day 2