When Mossy Oak was producing and airing the “Turkey Thug" TV Show, the Company would come up to my farm to hunt and also came to film shows for “Hunting the Country.” What would really be frustrating to start with is I would call the turkey, and the gobbler would do everything he was supposed to do when a turkey was coming into a call, and just before the hunter would pull the trigger, the cameraman would say, “Don’t shoot. I don’t have a good angle on the turkey and/or the hunter, so we have to let the bird walk.” Then, we would have to pick up, move and go set up in a different place to attempt to take the turkey. We would give the cameraman a hard time just for fun for not letting the shooter shoot, and then we would kid with him that he was in the wrong spot. At first those scenarios were somewhat frustrating, but I really understood that the Mossy Oak film crew was trying to do the best job they could and make the best video they could make. If the turkey wasn’t right, then there was no point in spooking him or shooting him.
On one hunt, we went into the woods at noon after hunting that morning and heard four turkeys gobble. I thought to myself, “Getting one of these birds on film should be a piece of cake.” About an hour into the hunt, two of those gobblers walked out into the field to within shooting range together. However, they were too far to our left for the cameraman to get them on film. So, we had to let them walk off back into the timber, as they were gobbling their brains out. We kept calling and calling to them, and they continued gobbling. Finally a turkey from across the draw from these two turkeys came out into the field. Once he appeared in the field, the two turkeys that we had been working came out into the field and ran the turkey from across the draw out of the field. They were not in a position where we could get a shot at either one of them after they ran the other turkey off, so we had to let them walk off again. But those two toms went back into the timber and kept on gobbling. Then the turkey that they had run off returned to the field, not gobbling at all, but just drumming and strutting. He walked right in front of the cameraman at about 8 yards and then walked right into the decoys. We finally shot him. That hunt began at noon, and we didn't shoot a turkey until 4:30 pm, even though we had seen and heard turkeys all afternoon. From noon until 4:30 pm, turkeys were constantly gobbling. We finally took the turkey that we weren’t hunting, but we had the two turkeys that we were originally hunting within gun range twice that the cameraman told us not to shoot, because he did not have them in the frame.
The first time I went with the Mossy Oak film crew, and the cameraman told me not to shoot when I had a turkey at 30 yards with the bead of my shotgun on his neck, my next thought was how mad was that cameraman going to be if I killed the turkey. But then I came back to reality, took my finger off the trigger and let the turkey walk off. This 2017 season has been my 23rd year of turkey hunting, and I still think I love it as much if not more, than the first day I took my first turkey.
Day 4: Memorable Iowa Turkey Hunts with Youngsters