with Lynn Worwood
Editor’s Note: Fifty-five-year-old Lynn Worwood of Nephi, Utah, helped the state release the mountain goats he hunts today. He has been hunting turkeys for 25 years. Worwood is a member of the Board of Directors for Utah’s National Wild Turkey Federation that helped release the turkeys he’s now hunting. He’s totally obsessed with wearing Mossy Oak’s Obsession to hunt turkeys. “In the early spring at first green-up, there are a lot of light green colors in our woods,” Worwood explains. “I use Mossy Oak Break-Up some of the time, but I really like Mossy Oak Obsession the best.”
Here in Utah we have both Rio Grande and Merriam’s turkeys. I have taken a couple of Merriam’s turkeys, but mostly, I hunt Rio Grande turkeys. We only have three areas in Utah where we have Merriam’s, but the Rio Grande turkeys live almost in my backyard. I can be turkey hunting from my house in 10 minutes. I hunt U.S. Forest Service land in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. People from back East have a hard time understanding how much land we have out here in Utah to hunt. I'm guessing about 80 percent of the land in Utah is either Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, U.S. Forest Service land or state-owned land.
When I went to New York to hunt turkeys, my guide there said, “This is U.S. Forest Service land, but it’s only 40 acres.” I'm on the Quaker Boy Pro Staff and went to hunt with Bob Wozniak and Chris Kirby of Quaker Boy.
Utah had a late spring this year (2017), so the turkeys I hunt are still flocked-up. Since my wife drew a tag this year, I took her turkey hunting at the first of the season. When we reached the spot I wanted to hunt, quite a few hens and gobblers were flocked-up together. I listened to the turkeys talking to each other. Finally, I determined which hen seemed to be the boss hen. When she yelped, I yelped. When she clucked, I clucked. I talked to her as aggressively as she talked to me. She finally got within 10 yards of me, and we really had an argument going. Finally, the ole gobbler came around a bush, and my wife took him. There were probably 15 gobblers in that flock and at least 30 hens.
The morning my wife took her turkey we got in close to the flock. When the birds flew-out of their roost tree, they went to all points on the compass. But we were very lucky to get that group of hens and gobblers to come to us. To make sure we had a chance to be successful, I had scouted a couple of days before our hunt. I’d found eight or nine fairly good flocks of turkeys for us to hunt. Some flocks were as small as 8 to 10 birds. Others might hold 20 to 30 birds. Seeing 200 or 300 turkeys in a winter flock out in a farmer’s field in Utah isn’t unusual. As winter passes and spring comes, those flocks will move from down here near town at 5,000 feet back up to 6,000, 7,000 and 8,000 feet in the mountains.
Utah has three different turkey seasons. To hunt in the early season, you have to go into a draw. The draw season starts on April 8 and runs until April 27. Next there’s a three-day youth season. Then you can buy turkey tags over the counter for the next 30 days. Utah has five different wildlife units. During the draw season, the number of hunters who can hunt in each unit is limited by the state. Most years, the draw season occurs when the turkeys are really drumming, strutting and breeding. But this year spring came late, and the turkeys were about 3 weeks behind the time they normally started breeding. However, if you’re fortunate enough to draw a tag at the first of the season, most years, you drastically increase your odds for taking a turkey.
In Utah, we only can bag one gobbler per season, but I like to hunt turkeys so much, I take friends, relatives and young folks turkey hunting. This way, I usually have a chance to hunt turkeys several times a season, but I only take my gun with me one time. I feel if I can call a turkey into shotgun range, the person who pulls the trigger doesn’t really matter. I just like to be in the woods and hunt the birds. I love to take my family, friends and people who never have hunted turkeys before, watch them learn the sport and enjoy the sport of turkey hunting. I also enjoy teaching seminars on turkey hunting and calling.
For more information about turkey hunting, check out John E. Phillips’ Kindle and print book, “Mossy Oak Pros Talk Turkey Tactics,” at http://amzn.to/1qZnffi and the Nook book at www.barnesandnoble.com. You also can download a free Kindle app that enables you to read the book on your iPad, computer or SmartPhone. For a free copy of John E. Phillips’ “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books/ to download.