John's Journal...

Use Creative Tactics to Find and Take Turkeys Mid Day

Day 4: Hunting Tough Tom Turkeys

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOnce I hunted a smart gobbler that had whipped every hunter who'd tried to take him for 2-consecutive years. Bo Pitman of White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, usually would save a bird like this for the two of us to hunt at the end of the season. This old bird usually flew to the roost with his hens every evening and often remained with them all day. He also would walk away from a hunter who tried to call to him. After 3 days of hunting this tom, Pitman and I caught up to him where he roosted with his hens above a small creek in a hardwood strip between two fields. We tree-called to him at first light and never called again. With binoculars, we watched the gobbler fly down after his hens already stood under his tree. From before daylight until 9:00 am, we watched the turkeys feed about 150 yards from us.

"Don't you think we ought to call to the bird?" I asked Pitman. But Pitman whispered, "No, because that's what everyone else has done who hasn't killed this tom.” “Don't you think we could sneak out of here and try and get a little closer to that turkey?" I asked. Even through Pitman's head net I could see him grin as he answered me with, "Yeah, we can do that. But that's what everyone else has tried who hasn't bagged this turkey." Somewhat frustrated now, I said, "Well, what are we going to do?" "John, we're going to be just like the Tar Baby in Uncle Remus' story about B'rer Rabbit," Pitman explained. "We're going to sit still, be quiet and say nothing. Either the turkey will come down this hardwood draw between these two fields and walk toward us, or when he gets through feeding, he'll walk out into those fields away from us. So I think we have got a 50-50 chance of taking this bird, if you'll sit still and stay quiet."

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI grinned, because I knew Pitman had analyzed this situation absolutely right. Finally at 10:15 am, the hens started moving down the hardwood draw with the gobbler behind them. By 10:30 am, five hens stood in front of me with the gobbler less than 30-yards from my stand. "When he steps behind that tree, make your last adjustments, and get ready to take the shot when he steps out," Pitman whispered. Finally when the gobbler's head went behind the tree, I slightly moved the shotgun on my knee, got my cheek on the stock and very gently took the safety off. As I looked through my scope, I could see the white crown of the gobbler's head darting back and forth behind the tree as he fed. Finally when in full view, the tom lifted his head to look for his hens. I squeezed the trigger. By 11:15 am, I walked out of the woods with my turkey. Many times you can take one of those late-morning gobblers if you'll stay on your stand long enough to let the bird walk to you.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (AMA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: You Can Take Turkeys by Crossing Mountains, Floating to Them and Hunting Land No One Else Can Hunt

Check back each day this week for more about "Use Creative Tactics to Find and Take Turkeys Mid Day"

Day 1: How to Hunt Opening-Week Gobblers
Day 2: Why and How to Hunt Brunch Time Gobblers
Day 3: Tactics for Hunting Mid-Morning Turkeys
Day 4: Hunting Tough Tom Turkeys
Day 5: You Can Take Turkeys by Crossing Mountains, Floating to Them and Hunting Land No One Else Can Hunt

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Entry 710, Day 4