John's Journal...


The Crooked Toe Tom, 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-

Eddie Salter began hunting at the age of eight near his home in Evergreen, Alabama. Then after learning turkey-hunting techniques from his father and grandfather, Eddie called in and harvested his first gobbler at the age of 10. In 1981, Salter began participating in competitive turkey calling and amassed an impressive list of titles, including seven Southeastern Open Turkey Calling Championships, six Alabama State Championships and two World Open Championships. Salter was named one of the top-10 sportsmen in the U.S. in 1986 and 1989. With over 35 years experience, Salter, who is recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on turkey hunting, has appeared on ESPN, TNN, The Click to enlargeOutdoor Channel and ABC’s 20/20 TV show and in numerous hunting videos and television commercials for Hunter’s Specialties and has been featured in many outdoor magazine articles and radio interviews.

“I never forgot a gobbler I took almost 30-years ago,” Salter reports. “My buddy and I had been hunting this bird that I called Crooked Toe, off and on for a week. I called him Crooked Toe because he had one big toe that was crooked. I couldn’t make that gobbler do anything because he always had hens with him. I finally bagged that turkey because the hen came into where I was, and when he followed the hen, I got him. I killed Crooked Toe on a Tuesday morning, and on Wednesday night, my friend called and said, ‘Eddie, you won’t believe what I just did! I finally killed that ole Crooked Toe turkey we’ve been hunting so hard. Can you believe that he’s only a 2-year-old bird?’ I said to my friend, ‘Well, why don’t you stop by my house, and I’ll show you that same 2-year-old bird that you’re discussing.’ The bird I’d killed Tuesday morning had 1-1/2-inch spurs, weighed 20 pounds and had a 12-inch beard, which for my home state of Alabama was a big bird. My friend replied, ‘That can’t be Crooked Toe because this morning I shot the bird we’d been hunting almost every day this week.’

Click to enlarge“Eventually my friend and I realized that although we’d been hunting the turkey almost all week and never heard another bird gobble in the woods, after I killed Crooked Toe on Tuesday, another bird already had taken his spot. Apparently, this 2-year-old had been living in the same woods with the Crooked Toe Tom that I’d killed. When I took that dominant bird out of the area, the 2-year-old tom immediately took the old bird’s place the next day. From the Crooked Toe Tom, PhD, I mainly learned that just because you killed one turkey in a certain hunting area didn’t mean that another turkey wouldn’t be there the next day in the same spot where you’d taken your turkey.”


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 4