John's Journal...

Turkey Talk at Texas’s Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Remington and J. Wayne Fears

Calling a Gobbler for J. Wayne Fears

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Recently, Eddie Stevenson of Remington invited me to hunt in Eldorado, Texas, at Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Steve Elmore. After finding an abundance of game in Texas 15-years ago, Elmore, originally from Grove Hill, Alabama, my home state, moved to the area and created Live Oak Hunting Lodge where hunters could have the Click to enlargechance to take turkey and deer. I enthusiastically accepted the invitation when I learned I’d have the opportunity to hunt with my mentor and long-time friend, J. Wayne Fears, well-known professional outdoor writer and photographer. This week, I’ll tell you about this memorable hunt.

J. Wayne Fears and I went to a water tank in the early part of the afternoon, knowing that Texas turkeys needed water and that a water tank was a great place to start listening for gobblers. However, our guide told us that if we didn’t hear any turkeys around the water tank by about 1 or 2 hours before dark, we should come down off the hill where the water tank was located and start hunting in the cottonwoods that lined a dried-up creek bottom at the foot of the hill. The guide had explained that the turkeys often used these cottonwoods to roost in, and many times hunters could catch gobblers coming into roost. So, about 2 hours before dark, Fears and I left the water tank, went to the top of the hill overlooking the cottonwoods and yelped on our turkey calls. I called on the Hunter’s Specialties Field Champion Natural, and a turkey gobbled once, but never gobbled again. “At least we know where one gobbler is located,” Fears said as we walked down the hill to start moving along the cottonwoods. Click to enlarge

We’d only traveled about 1/2-mile when we came to a gate that separated two pastures. On the right side of the gate was open terrain with a clump of oaks about 35- to 40-yards from the gate. On the left side, the land rolled off gently down to the old creek bottom and the cottonwood trees. When we yelped from the gate, a relatively-close gobbler answered. So, Fears set-up at the cottonwoods, and I set-up at the clump of oaks. We closed the gate behind us. The turkey that gobbled seemed to be coming from in front of Fears in the cottonwood trees. I got really excited. The gobbler was answering my call, and nothing would have thrilled me more than calling-in a gobbler for my mentor.

We sat, listened and heard three other gobblers coming out of the cottonwoods, down to the creek where Fears had set-up to take the bird. Both Fears and I had already taken one gobbler each, but on this ranch, we were permitted to take two. So, this would be Fears’ second bird. I was feeling really good about my calling ability. Three-different gobblers were answering my calls, and we could tell the gobblers were moving toward Fears. I was more excited about calling-in Click to enlargethose gobblers for Fears than I would have been if I was calling them in for myself. Don’t get me wrong, Fears is a good caller, he’s taken plenty of turkeys, and he’s just as effective, if not more so, at calling turkeys as me. Since I was set-up about 50-yards behind Fears, as the gobblers came in, they should be trying to come toward me, looking for me and not for Fears, which would give him an excellent opportunity to bag one of those birds.

The hunt went perfectly. The birds were coming, Fears was in the right position to take the shot, and I was enjoying the entire hunt. When there was a lull in the action, I called on Hunter’s Specialties’ Ring Zone glass friction call. “Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,” a longbeard sounded-off on the other side of the fence where Fears and I just had traveled. The bird was only about 50-yards from our position. Because the bird was gobbling behind me, and I couldn’t see him, I felt he couldn’t see me. So, I turned severely to my left to possibly prepare to take the shot. I yelped once more and then spotted a big longbeard standing on the other side of the fence about 70-yards from me, walking toward Fears. I was sure Fears had heard the bird and should be able to see him. But from my position, I didn’t think Fears had a shot. The tom just didn’t seem to come close to him. I heard Fears call and I saw the bird turn and start coming back up the fence. So, I yelped again with the Ring Zone. The gobbler answered and kept nervously walking back and forth up the fence. But then the turkey vanished, and I didn’t see him again. I called once more and could tell by the turkey’s gobble that he was less than 20-yards from me, right behind the trees where I was leaning. I desperately tried to analyze the situation because I hadn’t heard the turkey fly over the fence, and I didn’t think he’d crawled under the fence. But I knew for certain the gobbler was right behind me, and there was nothing I could do.

To learn more about the New England Firearms Pardner Pump Turkey Gun, contact Eddie Stevenson at 800-243-9700, or go to To hunt at Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Steven Elmore, call (325) 853-2093, or visit To learn more about Hunter’s Specialties calls, call (319) 395-0321, or go to

Tomorrow: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Check back each day this week for more about "Turkey Talk at Texas’s Live Oak Hunting Lodge with Remington and J. Wayne Fears"

Day 1: Oops!
Day 2: Talking to Toms and Taking Toms
Day 3: Hunting with the Master
Day 4: Calling a Gobbler for J. Wayne Fears
Day 5: Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place


Entry 508, Day 4