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John's Journal... Entry 135, Day 1


Tom Kelly on Turkey Hunting

EDITOR'S NOTE: To help those of us who are frustrated more often than not by America's most famous game bird, I posed some questions to several of the nation's top turkey hunters and turkey authorities. Today Tom Kelly, the author of "The Tenth Legion," "Better On a Rising Tide" and Joker's Wild as well as a more than 50-year veteran of hunting turkeys, answers questions.

Question: Is there any surefire way to kill a turkey gobbler?
Answer: The only surefire way I know of to kill a turkey gobbler is to catch his leg in a steel trap and beat him on the head with a pick handle. No matter how smart a turkey hunter you are, how long you have been hunting turkeys and how much you know about turkeys, sooner or later there will be one old gobbler that you just can't kill.

Question: What do you do when you find the gobbler you are trying to take is moving with a harem of hens?
Answer: I follow the turkeys while remaining just out of sight of them and continuing to call to the gobbler. Sooner or later the tom will usually come back to check on the hen he hears but that's not in his harem. That's when you can take him.

Question: When you take a turkey out of an area, should you hunt that same region again for another gobbler?
Answer: Oh yes. That's the very best place to try and take a turkey, because the subordinate gobblers know where the boss gobbler is accustomed to meeting his hens. So when the boss gobbler is killed, the next tom in the pecking order becomes the boss gobbler. Generally that new boss gobbler will meet the hens where his predecessor did. I've taken as many as three turkeys from the same spot in the same season.



Check back each day this week for more about Talking With Turkey Experts ...

Day 1 - Tom Kelly on Turkey Hunting
Day 2 - Lovett Williams On Becoming A Turkey Hunter
Day 3 - Rob Keck On Tough Turkeys
Day 4 - Bill Harper On Bagging Gobblers
Day 5 - The Owners Of Knight & Hale Game Calls Talk Turkey

John's Journal