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John's Journal... Entry 88, Day 1

Waddell Teaches Turkey

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Twenty-eight-year-old Michael Waddell of Columbus, Georgia, a longtime avid hunter of all game species, produces "Realtree Outdoors" T.V. shows and videos.

Question: What type of gun do you use when you hunt turkeys?
Answer: I shoot a Remington 1187 shotgun. I like the way Remingtons are built. They are low-maintenance and dependable guns. I use No. 5 and No. 6 shot because they're great for taking close turkeys. We have to shoot close turkeys for our videos. No. 6s give me a lot more shot and a little bit more room for mistakes. No. 6s shoot better out of my shotgun, and I like more shot versus a No. 4 shot.

click to enlargeQuestion: Will you tell me about the turkey hunt that you learned from the most?
Answer: I learned the most about turkey hunting from a 4-year-old gobbler that I killed on my dad's farm. That turkey consistently gobbled at locator calls, but he wouldn't commit because he was aware that something was different. Although I was a young hunter, I knew how to work the land to get the turkey. This gobbler would not come to a turkey call but instead walked to the 60-yard mark and tried to get the hens to come to him. I did everything to call that turkey to me. So, I started hunting the turkey day after day and finally learned his pattern. I deer hunted that turkey more than I turkey called to it. He roosted in a little swamp bottom regularly within a 200-yard radius. I used a crow call to get him to gobble one time. After I located him, I gambled that he'd head back to his roost. I set up in an area I knew he'd probably pass through and made some soft hen calls. I intercepted that gobbler on his way back to the roost. During that hunt, I learned that you couldn't always take your turkey by calling to him. Sometimes you'd have to actually hunt him.

click to enlargeQuestion: What else did you learn from that hunt?
Answer: I learned that older turkeys are wise to the hunter's ways. They understand Mother Nature and know when something is out of place. So, they are definitely harder to fool than a younger turkey is. Older turkeys know that the hen is supposed to come to them. Often, older turkeys have been hammered or missed at least once which has made them very cautious about coming to the caller. When you work an older turkey, you must know the land where you hunt, understand where that turkey wants to go and depend on your hunting skills more than your calling abilities.

To learn more about turkey hunting, you can order John E. Phillips' three turkey-hunting books by calling (800) 627-4295. Click on Books on Night Hawk's home page to learn more.





Check back each day this week for more about Michael Waddell ...

Day 1 -Waddell Teaches Turkey
Day 2 -Waddell's Turkey-Hunting Secrets
Day 3 -Waddell's Deer-Hunting Secrets
Day 4 -Friendly Competition
Day 5 -Ganging Up On Turkeys

John's Journal