John's Journal...

What Are Your Personal Rules for Hunting Wild Turkeys?

Day 4: Hunting the Field Turkey and the Spooked Gobbler

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 Field Turkey:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOne spring day turkeys were out in a field feeding toward the edge of the woods. From the direction the turkeys were taking, anyone easily could see that setting-up in a small oak thicket on the edge of the field in front of the turkeys would mean these toms would come within gun range without ever being called. A hunter moved to that thicket and waited on the toms to appear. When a longbeard finally stopped 20-yards away from the hunter, the hunter’s gun roared, and the bird was downed.

1) Should a hunter set-up and bag a gobbler without calling to him?
2) Should the hunter have attempted to call to the turkey? Then even when the tom didn’t answer, should he have shot the turkey when the longbeard presented a shot?
3) Should the hunter have waited until the turkeys got into the woods and then attempted to call them back to where he was?

The Spooked Gobbler:

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewTwo hunters tried to work the same turkey. They both had heard the turkey gobble from the roost, heard each other calling and knew they were competing for the same gobbler. One hunter who was more aggressive than the other moved in a little too close to the turkey. The longbeard spotted the hunter, ran through the woods into the other hunter’s gun sights and went to that big roost tree in the sky.

1) Should the second hunter have shot the spooked gobbler?
2) Should one or both hunters have backed-off when they heard another person trying to work the same bird?

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.

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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 (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 Processional Tom and the Not Close Enough Gobbler

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

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Entry 763, Day 4