John's Journal...

Lessons Learned from Matt Morrett’s Toughest Gobblers

Matt Morrett and the PhD Gobbler Named Bubba

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, Click to enlargesix U.S. Open Turkey Calling victories and the coveted Grand National Champion 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 first came to work with Hunter’s Specialties about 1987. Hunter’s Specialties had a farm in Kirksville, Missouri, and Bubba the turkey already had established his reputation before I arrived at the farm. The hunters saw Bubba almost every evening with two other gobblers. He was 6 or 7 inches taller than the other birds. I spent my whole season trying to take Bubba. Since this ole PhD gobbler had been spooked, shot at and overcalled, he’d Click to enlargelearned just about everything he could know about dodging turkey hunters. He was one of those kinds of turkeys that would get your goat. He always would be one of the first turkeys to gobble, and he’d gobble at every call you made. However, that’s all he would do. He wouldn’t come to any call you made. Because I’d focused all my hunting time on Bubba and hunted him every day I could hunt at the farm, I’d spent my entire season without tagging a gobbler. Bubba was one of the best teachers I’d ever had.

I learned from Bubba the gobbler:
* how to use the terrain to get close.
* what call-shy gobblers did, and how they acted.
* why not to get so wrapped-up in one turkey that you spent all your time hunting that gobbler, and by the end of the season you wouldn’t have taken any gobblers.
Click to enlarge* how to hunt turkeys differently. Bubba taught me that if I had to hunt him today, I’d hunt him differently than I did then. I’d call to him every morning and see if he started walking toward me. If he didn’t, I’d find another turkey to hunt.
* why you never could take some turkeys. I had a shot at Bubba and missed, and a couple of other people did too. I assumed that Bubba died of old age and never got to ride in any turkey hunter’s vest or the back of a truck.
* why some turkeys were un-callable for some reason or the other.
* how to impress someone with your calling by locating a turkey like Bubba that would gobble good to calling. You could take that person with you turkey hunting, and every time you called, they’d hear that turkey gobble. You probably wouldn’t kill that turkey, but your friends would think you were a really-good caller.
* why the more you called, and attempted to take a turkey like Bubba, the less likely that you could bag a Bubba PhD. For gobblers to earn their PhDs, they had to dodge numbers of hunters and learn as much as they could about hunters.
* why when turkey hunting became a grudge match because a gobbler had beat the hunter so many times, that he should let that turkey win. Then the hunter should walk away and find another turkey to hunt. You’d be better off in the long run, and the turkey would be too.

Today's Video Tip from Eddie Salter

Tomorrow: Matt Morrett’s 10 Most-Frequently-Asked Turkey-Hunting Seminar Questions

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 4