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John's Journal... Entry 134, Day 1


Road Runner

EDITOR'S NOTE: Don Shipp of Clinton, Arkansas, an avid turkey hunter and caller and member of Mossy Oak's Pro Hunt Team and MAD Calls, has won the World Turkey Calling Championship, sponsored by Mossy Oak for many years, in 1997, 1998 and 1999. He also has won the Arkansas State Championship six times and the Southwest Open Championship four times. This week, Shipp will tell us about five tough toms and how he or his clients outsmarted them.

One tough turkey I battled was called the Road Runner. He liked to roost in an area in Alabama that had a lot of old logging roads. When I'd go in and start calling to him, or when he'd fly down, he'd take off in one direction and gobble and walk. I hunted this bird with my clients for about a week and never could catch up with him. One morning I decided I wasn't going to mess with the Road Runner. Instead, my client and I hunted another turkey that was henned-up. On our way back to the truck, I passed the spot where ole Road Runner always stayed. I heard him gobbling way up by my truck. He was on the same logging road we were using, and he was coming straight down the road doing just what he'd always done when I called to him -- gobbling and moving. My client and I walked about halfway to the bird. I sat down and didn't say anything because I knew what this particular tom liked to do. I felt that if I called, he'd turn and go the other way. I positioned my client right in front of me. The turkey came down the road, walking just like he always did. He walked 60 or 70 yards as fast as he could, stopped, gobbled, threw his head up in the air and listened. If he didn't hear anything, he'd take off walking again. We watched him come 300 yards down the road toward us. He walked within about 30 yards of us, gobbled and stuck his head up. That's when my hunter shot him. We got lucky and got in front of this gobbler, but I also knew what he liked to do, so I didn't call to him. I think that had a lot to do with us being able to bag the Road Runner.

QUESTION: When you hunt a tough turkey, is the best call you can use usually no call at all?
ANSWER: That's for sure, especially once you've messed with the bird and you know he likes to walk away and let the hen follow him. I'm sure when the hen comes to him and becomes visible on those roads, the gobbler probably stops, struts and lets the hen come to him. But as long as he doesn't see her, he'll walk away. That's why I called him Road Runner.




Check back each day this week for more about Don Shipp's Turkeys...

Day 1 - Road Runner
Day 2 - Old Hickory
Day 3 - The "Out-Thunk" Turkey
Day 4 - The Field Baron
Day 5 - The Burnt Up Gobbler

John's Journal