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John's Journal... Entry30 - Day 1

click to enlargeBo Pitman's No. 1 Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys

Editor's Note: Turkey season starts in Florida first and then across other sections of the South before beginning in the West, Northeast and Midwest. I can't think of anyone who can get you more ready for the upcoming turkey season than Bo Pitman, the lodge manager at White Oak Plantation near Tuskegee, Alabama, who has hunted for most of his life. Today Pitman lives with his family -- his wife and two children -- at White Oak and pursues a career he loves. Hunters almost everywhere have heard of his turkey-hunting expertise and the often unusual tactics he uses to bag gobblers.

Question: Bo, when and where did you kill your first turkey?

Answer: I took my first turkey in the fall of 1967 in central Florida where my family lived at the time.

Question: How long have you guided turkey hunters?

Answer: I've hunted with folks since 1967.

Question: In a season at White Oak, how many turkeys will you usually call up that either are shot, shot at or could have been shot?

Answer: I average calling up 15 turkeys each season that are taken, not counting the turkeys that are missed or spooked or that get away.

Question: Can we say that you'll probably call up 30 more turkeys each season that are missed or spooked or that should have been shot but aren't?

Answer: I'd say that's about right numberwise.

Question: Let's talk about the secrets to being a successful turkey hunter. What's the No. 1 secret in your opinion?

Answer: One of the most important keys is knowing where to find the turkeys.

Question: How do you do that?

Answer: You have to know the land and the habitat. Turkeys will be where the food is. They've got to make a living, just like we do.

Question: One of the reasons you've been so click to enlargesuccessful here at White Oak is that you've hunted these turkeys for so many years that you know what they're going to do almost before they do, don't you?

Answer: Turkeys usually do the same things. They may change slightly here and there every year. Too, logging practices may change their patterns. But normally the same flocks are in the same places because they have the right habitat in those areas in the spring.

Question: One of the best things we can tell our readers is instead of running all over the country hunting turkeys all over the place, get in one place, and settle on it. Then learn the turkeys in that area and how to hunt them. Year after year, you can return to some of those same places if the logging practices haven't changed.

Answer: Yes, or if the food source hasn't changed. For example, you may not have acorns one year, which will mean the turkeys will graze in the fields instead of feed in the hardwoods.

click to enlargeQuestion: If you learn a piece of property and the turkeys that live there, can you consistently take more turkeys from that property than if you go to a new area every week?

Answer: Oh, yes, by far.

For more information about White Oak Plantation's deer and turkey hunting, call or write White Oak Plantation, 5215 County Road 10, Tuskegee, Al 36083, (334) 727-9258.

To learn more about turkey hunting, go to Hunting Books at www.nighthawkpublications.com, or write or call Night Hawk Publications, 4112 Camp Horner Road, Birmingham, AL 35243, (800) 627-4295 to order by check or credit card. John E. Phillips has three fine turkey books full of how-to tactics for the novice as well as the expert still in print, including "Outdoor Life's Complete Turkey Hunting," "Masters' Secrets of Turkey Hunting" and "Turkey Tactics."

Tomorrow: Bo Pitman's Second Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys


Check back each day this week for more about Bo Pitman's Secrets To Consistently Taking Turkeys ...

Day 1 -Bo Pitman's No. 1 Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys
Day 2 -Bo Pitman's Second Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys
Day 3 - : Bo Pitman's Third Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys
Day 4 - Bo Pitman's Fourth Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys
Day 5 -Bo Pitman's Fifth Secret to Consistently Taking Turkeys

John's Journal