John's Journal...

Scoring After the Rain with Phillip Vanderpool

Hunt the Hens to Take the Gobbler

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Many sections of the United States have turkey season through the end of May. This week, Phillip Vanderpool from Harrison, Arkansas, a member of Hunter’s Specialties’ Pro Staff Hunt Team, will tell us about hunting turkeys in the rain, since much oClick to enlargef the U.S. has experienced heavier-than-normal rains this spring. As an accomplished bowhunter, Vanderpool has taken three Boone and Crockett bucks, as well as several Pope andYoung whitetails and numerous turkeys.

Even though John Phillips, Joe Byers and myself had found a place holding a lot of turkeys at Rut N’Strut Outfitters in Sayre, Oklahoma, there were only two longbeards and a number of jakes. I’ve learned that when you have a number of jakes and only two longbeards, you need to find another place to hunt. Rogers took us to a small area of the ranch that hadn’t been hunted yet where he knew there were five longbeards. We had a drizzling rain and a heavy fog on the morning we hunted. Because of the fog, the wind, the mist and the rain, I knew we’d get in close to where these turkeys were roosting. I called with an owl call and heard a turkey gobble once. After the turkey gobbled, an owl hooted from a distance, flew in close to where the turkeys were roosting and began calling. We heard all fivClick to enlargee turkeys gobble back to the hooting owl. Because we knew where the turkeys were holding, we could move in close and set up on the edge of a field below where the turkeys were roosting.

We set up about Click to enlarge125-yards away from the gobblers. I started with really-soft tree calls and the turkeys gobbled back. I used the new Hunter’s Specialties Ring Zone Slate Call and the new Hunter’s Specialties’ diaphragm calls made from InfinityLatex. As I started giving that really-soft hen tree call, I had hen turkeys answering back. That’s when I started using the mouth call and the slate call at the same time. So, I got the hens really fired up and they started calling a lot. I decided that the only way to get the gobblers to come to us was to get the hens to come to us, dragging the gobblers with them. I called a lot because we were in the middle of breeding season and the hens had the gobblers close by. I knew that if I couldn’t get the hens to come to us, I probably wouldn’t separate the gobblers from the hens. When the turkeys flew down, the gobbler and his hens came around and walked into a field behind us. The hens were still calling and the gobbler was still following. The turkeys appeared to be moving away from us, but we held our ground and waited for them.

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To contact Todd Rogers at Rut N’Strut Outfitters, call 580-799-1920 or email

Tomorrow: Hunting the Subdominant Gobbler

Check back each day this week for more about "Scoring After the Rain with Phillip Vanderpool"

Day 1: How to Hunt Turkeys in the Rain
Day 2: Hunt the Hens to Take the Gobbler
Day 3: Hunting the Subdominant Gobbler
Day 4: Almost Got ‘Em
Day 5: Lessons in Every Hunt


Entry 458, Day 2