John's Journal...

Ghost Birds – Gobblers That Can’t Be Taken

Day 4: The Ridge Runner Gobbler Was Driving Everyone Crazy – Part 1

Editor’s Note: Some turkeys have to be killed, because they endanger the lives and sanity of individuals and communities. They can wreck as much havoc and cause as much fear as a rabid dog running loose in a community. Oftentimes they are a menace to society, and whatever means have to be employed to put them away are justified. The turkey’s superior intelligence is the main reason he is a menace to society. So wise are these birds, some hunters have called them demon possessed. Others believe they’ve been created by sorcerers, and that these birds are spirits rather than feathers and skin. And, some hunters are convinced that wily old woods wizards can read their minds. Some turkeys are so sly and tough, they become legends. Hunting them can drive you crazy.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewOne such bird was the legendary Ridge Runner of Coffeeville, Alabama. Seab Hicks of Coffeeville reports the incident. “Close to where my daddy lived in Coffeeville, there was one ole turkey that had just about driven the whole town crazy. There were rumors that there might be a bounty put on the Ridge Runner’s head by the wives of Coffeeville. Every morning during turkey season, their men folks crawled out of bed before daylight and headed for the woods to try and kill the ole Ridge Runner. And, every day just before work, these same outdoorsmen came in ill as hornets, demanding their breakfasts and throwing things, because the Ridge Runner had outsmarted them again. There were even several divorces threatened. And, many of the women had just decided to become hush-mouthed rather than chance an argument with their husbands. Family life in the whole town of Coffeeville was at low ebb because of that fool turkey.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger View“The problem with the Ridge Runner was that he would gobble on top of one ridge early in the morning. All the hunters would hear him, and each would try to take him from a different direction. They would sit in blinds, back up against big trees and crawl through the leaves trying to get to him. The hunters would cutt, cackle and purr, but the old Ridge Runner wouldn’t say anything. But the next time that turkey would gobble, he’d be two ridges away, and they would all move and go after him again. However, every time the Ridge Runner would outsmart them. That turkey was absolutely one of the finest gobbling turkeys that ever existed. When you’d sit down and call to him in the morning, he’d gobble right back as many as two to five times. He was such a good gobbling bird that everyone just knew they would be able to kill him – but they couldn’t. Then they started trying to bushwhack him. They chased him and shot at him. He had been shot at several times in the tail, but that was the only place they could hit him. Nothing seemed to work.”

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: The Ridge Runner Gobbler Was Driving Everyone Crazy - Part 2

Check back each day this week for more about Ghost Birds – Gobblers That Can’t Be Taken"

Day 1: The Swamp Bottom Baron – a Turkey Everyone Tried to Take
Day 2: Tactics That Pay Off on Bad Turkeys with the Late Ben Rodgers Lee
Day 3: Patterns of Turkey-Hunting Success with the Late Ben Rodgers Lee
Day 4: The Ridge Runner Gobbler Was Driving Everyone Crazy – Part 1
Day 5: The Ridge Runner Gobbler Was Driving Everyone Crazy - Part 2

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Entry 766, Day 4