John's Journal...

Hunting Turkeys For the Love of the Addiction with John E. Phillips

How to Turkey Hunt after the Shot with David Hale, Preston Pittman and Will Primos

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I was bitten by the turkey bug more than 45-years ago, and the addiction was so strong that I not only couldn’t shake it, I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to try. I still feel the same way. There’s a certain magic whether you take the turkey or the turkey tricks you that is every bit as alluring as the sirens’ call to the Greek sailors in the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey.” Each spring, I get as giddy as a child on Christmas Eve and as excited as a bride about to walk down the aisle. I hope that maybe you can understand and enjoy this addiction to chasing turkeys as much as I have for most of my life.Click to enlarge

I’ve been fortunate enough to hunt with some of the greatest turkey hunters in the world today. Most of the people I’ve hunted with either have TV shows, own call companies or are well-known outdoorsmen who appear frequently on other people’s TV shows. When you’re hunting with a celebrity, the one thing you don’t want to do is look or sound stupid or miss a turkey. On one of my early turkey hunts, I was fortunate enough to hunt with David Hale, co-founder of Knight and Hale Game Calls. I really enjoyed meeting Hale, and from that hunt, we built a friendship that has lasted more than 30 years. But on this particular hunt, Hale didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him. One of the main reasons I like to hunt with the best turkey hunters in the world is so that I can learn from them to become a better turkey hunter myself. On this hunt, we had a turkey down in the bottom between two mountains. The land had been clear cut about a year before, so there was Click to enlargeplenty of open ground through which the turkey could walk. Hale, a master turkey caller, was putting out those sweet sounds that an old gobbler just couldn’t resist. I could feel my heartbeat increasing and the tension mounting as the gobbler moved closer and closer, and the moment of truth was only seconds away. “When that turkey reaches that stump right in front of us, take the shot,” Hale whispered to me. Sure enough, when the turkey reached the stump, I took the shot, but I didn’t take the turkey. For some reason, we always remember our misses much-more vividly than we do the gobblers we take. The only people who don’t miss turkeys are the people who don’t hunt turkeys or haven’t shot at turkeys very often. Click to enlarge

On another hunt with Preston Pittman, the founder of Pittman Game Calls, in Texas, Pittman called-up a flock of longbeards. When one longbeard was well away from the rest of the flock, I shot and jumped-up to run to the bird. But before I could get my rear end off the ground, Pittman grabbed my arm, said, “Don’t move. Maybe I can get one of these gobblers.” Two minutes after I fired, that flock of gobblers began gobbling again. Within 10 minutes, they walked back to the same spot where I’d taken the gobbler and started kicking the dead gobbler laying on the ground. But those old birds didn’t kick the gobbler long before Pittman squeezed the trigger and a second gobbler lay not 5 feet from the gobbler I’d taken.

So, what should you do if you’re hunting with a buddy and one of you takes a gobbler? Check out the video below, and let Will Primos, the founder of Primos Game Calls and one of the best turkey hunters in the nation, tell you what he does on those rare times when he missess a gobbler.

Today's Turkey Hunting Video Clip

Tomorrow: Turkey Hunting Means Agony, Ecstasy and Sometimes Giggles with Larry Norton and Dr. Johnny Lanier


Check back each day this week for more about "Hunting Turkeys For the Love of the Addiction with John E. Phillips"

Day 1: Turkey Hunting Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This
Day 2: Pulling a Gobbler That’s Leaving Back at White Oak Plantation with Joe Smith
Day 3: A Turkey Named Ole Slick and Joe Smith’s Song That Lasts a Lifetime and More
Day 4: How to Turkey Hunt after the Shot with David Hale, Preston Pittman and Will Primos
Day 5: Turkey Hunting Means Agony, Ecstasy and Sometimes Giggles with Larry Norton and Dr. Johnny Lanier

 

Entry 555, Day 4