John's Journal...

Ghost Birds – Gobblers That Can’t Be Taken

Day 5: The Ridge Runner Gobbler Was Driving Everyone Crazy - Part 2

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 ViewAccording to avid turkey hunter and caller, Seab Hicks, “Sometimes the hunters would surround the tree where the Ridge Runner was roosting, but either they would miss him, or he would sneak from out between them, where no one could get a shot. Although they would try to outrun him to get close enough to shoot at him, the old Ridge Runner was too swift. There was not a turkey-killing tactic known to man that wasn’t practiced on the Ridge Runner, but they all failed. And, this went on for about 3 frustrating years. That was one turkey that really needed killing.

“There were two good ole boys in town named Clarence and Earnest. Neither one of them had finished the sixth grade, but when it came to woods wisdom, they each had a Ph.D. They laid out a tactical game plan to take the Ridge Runner. For three or four consecutive afternoons, they tried to roost the Ridge Runner. Finally they found the tree that the ole bird went up to late in the evening. Because there was so much activity in the woods from all the hunters tying to take him while roosting, the Ridge Runner would fly up about 45 minutes before normal roosting time. Once Clarence and Earnest located the roost tree they were ready for their frontal assault on the demon bird that had been driving the town crazy. Clarence told Earnest, ‘You stand right here and hoot like an owl. When that turkey gobbles I’ll go to him. I borrowed this 10 gauge magnum from a friend, and I believe I can take him with it.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewEarnest owl-hooted as Clarence, like a stalking cat, moved silently through the shadows of the late afternoon. When Clarence was about 40-yards out, he saw the Ridge Runner sitting on a high limb with his head behind the tree. Clarence leaned the 10 gauge against a sapling and dug his heels into the ground, bracing himself against the blast. When the Ridge Runner poked his head out from behind that tree the 10 gauge exploded. The Ridge Runner fell, and harmony returned to the town of Coffeeville, Alabama.

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.

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 5