John's Journal...

What Are Your Personal Rules for Hunting Wild Turkeys?

Day 2: Taking the Flying Turkey Gobbler and the Slow Tom

Editor’s Note: Every turkey hunter sets-up his own set of rules about what’s fair and not fair within the laws of the area where he’s hunting when he hunts the wily gobbler. Often a turkey hunter believes his personal ethical turkey-hunting code should be implemented by every other turkey hunter. Many wild turkeys earn their names, because of their characteristics or actions. The men and women who hunt them have intimate relationships with these gobblers. In the situations we’ll describe this week, you’ll make up your own mind as to whether the hunter should have taken the gobbler or let the tom survive another day.

The Flying Gobbler:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewSeveral years ago World Champion turkey caller Eddie Salter of Evergreen, Alabama, and I had hunted turkeys for 3 days on some of the best turkey hunting lands in Alabama, mine and his home state. Although we had spotted a few jakes, we had failed to see a longbeard until the last hour of the hunt. This big gobbler was accompanied by a jake and two hens in the middle of a field that was clear pasture for 150 yards in all directions. Salter and I made the decision to sneak along the edge of the wood line to try and call the gobbler out of the field. Just as we reached our calling position and were preparing to sit down to begin to call, a shot was fired from across the field. The boss gobbler took flight, turned and flew right over us. When he was 20-yards out, I fired. The gobbler tumbled dead from the sky.

1) Should I have taken the turkey?
2) Should I have allowed the tom to fly over us and not shoot?
3) Should I have let the bird land and then shoot?
4) Should I have allowed the tom to land and walk off and then tried to call him on another day?

The Slow Tom:

Click forLarger ViewClick for Larger ViewSome years ago I made a trip to Mississippi to hunt with Allen Jenkins, the then president of M. L. Lynch Calls. On the second day we hunted, we heard a turkey call from across a creek at the bottom of a field. We sat us at the top of the field along the wood line and called. The turkey gobbled about every 5 to 10 minutes. After 30 minutes of calling, I asked Jenkins if he’d continue to call while I slipped out of the blind, moved in close to the turkey on the creek and bagged the bird that apparently wasn’t going to cross the creek.

“That’s bushwhacking, John,” Jenkins explained. “If we can’t call that turkey across the creek, then we’re not going to take him.” Thirty minutes later I suggested that I slip along the edge of the wood line, get in close to the gobbler and attempt to call from there. “No,” Jenkins said. “I’m either going to make that turkey cross the creek and walk across this field, or we’re not going to take him.” After a total of 1-1/2-hours of calling, Jenkins did what he said he would and called the gobbler to us. I took the bird.

1) Would you have gone to the gobbling turkey while another hunter called to the bird?
2) Would you have moved in closer to the tom to minimize the distance you were from him and then tried to take him from another calling position?
3) Would you have remained in the same position and continued to call from there as Jenkins did?

To learn more about turkey hunting from the masters, get these Kindle eBooks by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter's Bible (available as an eBook or in paperback),”PhD Gobblers: How to Hunt the Smartest Turkeys in the World,” “Turkey Hunting Tactics” and his latest eBook, “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting.” Click on the links above, or go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

Share this page with a friend!

About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) 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: Hunting the Lightning Turkey and the Air Gobbler and the Dirt Road Tom

Check back each day this week for more about What Are Your Personal Rules for Hunting Wild Turkeys?"

Day 1: Is the Sport of Turkey Hunting and Turkey Calling the Same?
Day 2: Taking the Flying Turkey Gobbler and the Slow Tom
Day 3: Hunting the Lightning Turkey and the Air Gobbler and the Dirt Road Tom
Day 4: Hunting the Field Turkey and the Spooked Gobbler
Day 5: Hunting the Processional Tom and the Not Close Enough Gobbler

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 763, Day 2