John's Journal...

Turkey Hunting Ain’t Just About Taking Turkeys

Day 2: Mark Drury and John E. Phillips Hunt a Drowned Gobbler in a Raging Rainstorm

Editor’s Note: Do you consider fooling a longbeard and bringing him within gun range the essence of turkey hunting? Or, does turkey hunting have an intrinsic value to you that goes beyond your ability to harvest a gobbler every spring and fall? In my world of turkey hunting, I view my turkey-hunting experiences as part of a continuing-education program. My goal in life is not only to take turkeys, but rather to learn all I can about how to take turkeys and to create memories that last much longer than feathers and meat do.

Click for Larger ViewOn one turkey hunt, when the rain poured down so hard that it looked like the water rushing from a bathroom shower head, I heard Mark Drury, the creator of M.A.D Calls and Drury Outdoor Productions, say, “Bubba, you won’t kill a gobbler laying in bed. Let’s go. Besides you’ve got a camouflaged Gore-Tex rain suit. What difference does a little rain make? We have a long way to go and little time to get there.” Click for Larger ViewThe windshield wipers on the truck swished back and forth, leaving only a small occasional opening on the glass for us to look through and see the road. As we parked the truck and climbed-out, the rain continued to come-down in torrents. After wading two small creeks and climbing up a slippery slope, we arrived at a small green field about 1/2-mile from the truck. We built a natural blind from some surrounding bushes. Drury and I sat there in the driving rain and waited on daylight. I thought surely the turkeys would fly-down later in the morning. But Drury began to call as soon as the first rays of light promising day pierced through the rain. Two-different turkeys answered Drury’s calls – one about 200-yards behind us and the other 70 yards in front of us.

Click for Larger ViewWhen the day brightened, and the rain slowed, the gobbler behind us pitched-off his limb and started moving toward us. While we listened to the turkey behind us gobble, the bird in front of us flew-down and lit in the open field 60-yards from our blind. Drury called softly with a few clucks and yelps. The longbeard in front of us marched toward us like a drum major at the head of a high-school band. Within 10 minutes after the bird hit the ground, my Remington 1187 introduced HEVI-Shot to the big gobbler’s head. Click for Larger ViewThe bird went down instantly. A series of high fives and bear hugs took place before we recovered the gobbler. Once again, I don’t remember the length of the bird’s beard or his spurs, but Drury and I never will forget that hunt in the raging rainstorm. That tom created a memory for both of us – not about the turkey but rather about two friends surviving nature’s elements and sharing a lifelong passion for the sport of turkey hunting.

Tomorrow: Bo Pitman and John E. Phillips Hunt a Naked Gobbler

Check back each day this week for more about "Turkey Hunting Ain’t Just About Taking Turkeys "

Day 1: South Dakota’s Howling Gobblers Create Memories for Brad Harris and John E. Phillips
Day 2: Mark Drury and John E. Phillips Hunt a Drowned Gobbler in a Raging Rainstorm
Day 3: Bo Pitman and John E. Phillips Hunt a Naked Gobbler
Day 4: Bo Pitman and John E. Phillips Hunt a Naked Gobbler, Part II
Day 5: Eddie Salter and John E. Phillips Hear the Words, “Daddy, You Killed My Turkey”

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Entry 606, Day 2