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Lessons Learned from Matt Morrett’s Toughest Gobblers

Matt Morrett’s Piketown Turkey

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Matt Morrett of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, began his outdoor education while accompanying his father to the woods at the age of six. His love of hunting turkeys and deer found him sitting in the cold woods, waiting for rut-swollen November bucks and straining his ears in the spring, hoping to pick up a gobble ringing across the ridges of Pennsylvania. Morrett has perfected turkey calling to a degree that few others have matched. Dedication to fine-tuning his calling techniques has earned Morrett more than 50-turkey-calling championships, including five World Friction Turkey Calling titles, six U.S. Open Turkey Calling victories and the coveted Grand National Click to enlargeChampion title. In 1994, Morrett put his calling to the test by taking an eastern bird in Missouri, a Rio Grande in Texas, an Osceola in Florida and a Merriam’s in South Dakota to complete the Grand Slam of all four subspecies of the wild turkey. Morrett travels the country conducting seminars on turkey and deer hunting. Using his knowledge, he helps design and field-test many of the products manufactured by Hunter’s Specialties to aid hunters.

I lived in Piketown, PClick to enlargeennsylvania, and on this hunt, I was hunting with my dad. Although I grew up hunting with my dad, we had two very-different types of hunting. When my dad picked a turkey and decided to call with him, he might stay with that turkey until lunchtime. Even if the turkey quit gobbling, Dad wouldn’t leave that bird, but I was a run-and-gun type of turkey hunter. If I couldn’t get the turkey to come to me quickly, and the bird quit gobbling, I’d leave that bird and go hunt for a turkey that was more eager to respond to calling. One day Dad took a day off from work so that he and I could hunt together, which of course would rate as my favorite hunt of the year. After we’d hunted all morning long and were walking out of the woods, I told mydad, “Let me make one more stop here, and throw my calls out in this one area.” We’d had a real bad morning and just hadn’t heard very many turkeys gobble. When I started cutting, immediately a turkey fired back with a loud gobble. Twenty-minutes later we’d taken that 25-pound tom with an 11-inch beard and 1-1/4-inch spurs, a huge turkey for our section of the country. We had to quit Click to enlargehunting at noon but didn’t strike this gobbler until 11:30 am. Once we actually reached the turkey, I looked at my watch, which reported 11:50 am, just 10 minutes before quitting time. In the past, if I’d been out hunting and hadn’t heard any turkeys gobble all morning long, I would’ve just kept going to the house and not stopped and tried one more series of calls. I’d have given up.
The Piketown Tom taught me to:
* stay after the turkeys until the last minute that I could legally hunt.
* never give up on a turkey.
* remember that often I only needed a few minutes to go from a zero to a hero. The day I hunted with my dad would have been a zero for both of us, but because I made those last few calls in the last few minutes that we could legally hunt, we had a great day of turkey hunting and a day both of us never would forget. The tides of battle in a turkey hunt could change quickly. If you didn’t retreat and leave the field but continued to stay in the game, you might win in those last few minutes.
* be willing to wait on a turkey to show-up, if a turkey was really responsive and gobbling good in the middle of the day. That tom might fly a river, cross a creek or come running.

Today's Video Tip from Eddie Salter

Tomorrow: Matt Morrett and the PhD Gobbler Named Bubba

Check back each day this week for more about "Lessons Learned from Matt Morrett’s Toughest Gobblers"

Day 1: Blake Shelton’s Turkey with Matt Morrett
Day 2: What Matt Morrett Learned from Blake Shelton’s PhD Gobbler
Day 3: Matt Morrett’s Piketown Turkey
Day 4: Matt Morrett and the PhD Gobbler Named Bubba
Day 5: Matt Morrett’s 10 Most-Frequently-Asked Turkey-Hunting Seminar Questions


Entry 554, Day 3