John's Journal...


Mr. On-the-Move Gobbler, PhD

EDITOR’S NOTE: Any turkey hunter who tells you he knows everything about taking a turkey will lie to you about something else. Turkey hunting is a continuing-education program. Every spring you learn more than you have the spring before. There are several ways to learn the sport of turkey hunting, including videos, television shows, books, magazine articles and newspaper articles. But the very-best way to learn how to hunt a turkey are from the turkeys themselves, especially the PhD gobblers that know as much about the hunters who hunt them, as the hunters know about the turkeys they are trying to take. I’ve just completed my fifth turkey-hunting book, “Hunter’s Specialties’ PhD Gobblers.” In the book I’ve interviewed some of the greatest turkey hunters in the nation - the Hunter’s Specialties’ Pros - and each pro tells us about three different gobblers and what they’ve learned from these PhD gobblers. For the next few days, you can read excerpts from the book. You can buy the book from us by calling (205) 967-3830 or emailing us at for $24.95 each plus $4 Click to enlargeshipping and handling. I’ll sign and date the book for you if you’ll send a check or a money order for $28.95 each or use PayPal-

Hunter’s Specialties’ Pro Alex Rutledge of Birchtree, Missouri, a master turkey hunter and one of the nation’s top turkey callers has over 30 years of turkey-hunting experience. Rutledge knows how to call turkeys, as proved by the many titles he’s accumulated competing in turkey-calling contests over the years, including the National Amateur Turkey Calling Championship in Yellville, Arkansas, the Missouri State Turkey Calling Championship, the Grand National Gobbling Championship, the South-Central Missouri Ozark Calling Championship twice, the Southeast Missouri Gobbling Championship and the Southwest Open Turkey Calling Championship. Growing up on a farm and hunting turkeys and other game animals all his life, Rutledge has met several tough-to-hunt turkeys that he considers his professors in the sport of turkey hunting.

“How many times have you called to a bird, and after the first call, Click to enlargehe gobbles back to you?” Rutledge asks. “However, the next time he gobbles from further away. I call this type of turkey an on-the-move or pushed gobbler. I call him a pushed gobbler because the hens he’s with are pushing him away from you. Even if you try to call to the hens, no matter whether you’re calling quietly or aggressively, they’ll always try to push the gobbler away from you.

“I was hunting a gobbler late in the morning here in the Ozarks near where I live. Every time I’d call to this turkey, he would move away from me. I knew the only way I could take this turkey was to hunt him as though I was hunting a deer that was moving away from me. I realized if I continued to call to the turkey, I’d do nothing but continue to push him away from me. I went down in a hollow where the turkey couldn’t see me, got in front of the direction that the turkey was traveling and sat still and quiet. I never called at all. In a little while, the hens with the tom scratched in the leaves, clucking and purring as they fed toward me. Although the tom never gobbled, he was spitting and drumming in the distance. So, I just waited, let the hens come to me and walk by me. I realized that often the gobbler wouldn’t be right with the hens but instead would be 75-100 yards behind them. These turkeys started moving down a ridge. After the hens Click to enlargehad gone by the gobbler, I still could hear him coming. I clucked and purred as softly as I could to make the ole tom think that one of the hens had stayed behind the flock. Within 10 minutes, that On-the-Move Gobbler walked right up to me, and I took him at less than 30 yards. I’d learned that many times the best call you could use when you were hunting a turkey that was gobbling, going away from you, was no call at all.

“Remember, we’re learning how to hunt turkeys, not how to call turkeys. Often, if not almost every time you hunt a pushed gobbler, the more you call, the less likely you are to take him.”


Check back each day this week for more about HUNTER’S SPECIALTIES’ PHD GOBBLERS

Day 1: The Textbook Turkey, PhD
Day 2: Mr. On-the-Move Gobbler, PhD
Day 3: Piketown PhD Tom
Day 4: The Crooked Toe Tom, PhD
Day 5: The Head Thumping PhDs



Entry 343, Day 2