John's Journal...

Scoring After the Rain with Phillip Vanderpool

Almost Got ‘Em

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 of 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 and YounClick to enlargeg whitetails and numerous turkeys.

In Sayre, Oklahoma, Joe Byers, John Phillips and myself hunted with Todd Rogers at Rut N’Strut Outfitters. After Phillips shot his turkey, he hesitated for a minute as he heard the turkeys gobble. He quickly ran to his turkey, picked it up and came back to where he was sitting. Luckily, Phillips didn’t spook the other flock of turkeys. Byers had been watching the turkeys with his Sightron SIII 10x42 binoculars. He crawled up to where we wereand said the gobbler was in full strut at the center of the field. I could see the hens and the gobblers with my binoculars and realized they were moving toward the tree line away from us. Too, I saw that we had enough brush cover to circle the field and possibly intercept the gobbler. So, Byers and I made a big circle, stayed in the low spot and got into the tree line directly in front of the hens and the gobbler. I made a call, the turkey gobbled, and the hens yelped. Click to enlarge

The turkeys dropped down into a low field we hadn’t seen before, so I put Byers in front of me and started calling. The turkeys were coming to our left and Byers knew he wouldn’t be able to get the shot. However, he knClick to enlargeew the turkeys couldn’t see him behind the tree. So, Byers stood up and moved to where he could see the turkeys when they started coming towards him. When the dominate hen got close to Byers, she either saw him or didn’t like the situation and she putted a couple of times. I gave a soft cluck and purr on my diaphragm call, the rest of the hens came toward Byers and went under the fence that blocked off the other pasture. There were also a few jakes in that flock that came under the fence, bringing the gobbler with them. The turkeys were no more than 15 feet from Byers when he squeezed the trigger. But for some reason, the gun didn’t fire. Byers thought he had a bad shell, so he jacked it out and put in a new shell, but by the time he was ready to take another shot, the turkeys were leaving.

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

To learn more about Sightron’s top-quality products, go to

Tomorrow: Lessons in Every Hunt

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 4