Editor’s Note: Bob Walker of Livingston, Alabama, a Mossy Oak turkey pro, also is one of the hosts on the Mossy Oak “Turkey THUGS” TV show. Walker has been a turkey hunting guide at Bent Creek Lodge in Jachin, Ala., for more than 30 years and has hunted turkeys his entire life. Walker believes if you know what the turkey knows, then you can take more toms.
Dr. Johnny Lanier, one of the owners of Bent Creek Lodge in Jachin, Alabama, and I were hunting turkeys together one morning. Johnny wears contacts, and the wind was blowing. The wind blew dust in his eyes, and he couldn’t see very well. Finally, we heard a gobbling turkey and called him up, and the bird came in to us by walking on the side of a hill. When Johnny shot that turkey, the bird flopped around and rolled down the hill. Johnny and I both started running. We hoped to catch up to the turkey before he rolled all the way to the bottom of the hill. Evidently, Johnny had only put one shot in that turkey, and then the turkey started running in about a 30-yard circle. Johnny and I both were shooting at the turkey trying to put him down. Finally, I got inside the circle where the turkey was running, but the bird was so close, I didn’t want to take the shot. I hit him with my gun barrel and knocked him down. Then, I put my foot on his head to finally put him down for good. When Johnny got to the turkey, he said, “Bob, I've been hunting turkeys all my life, and I've never seen anything like that before.” When you go turkey hunting, I've learned that you never know what you'll see, what you may have to do, and what will happen when you squeeze the trigger. A turkey hunter wakes up in a new world every day he goes turkey hunting, and that’s what I like about turkey hunting. That’s the reason I hunt every day of the season, whether I’m guiding or hunting for myself. When I walk out of the house, I don’t know what will happen, but I know I'll have a good time.
We've talked some about what a turkey knows that the hunter doesn’t know, and what I know that the turkey doesn’t know. Another thing you can’t know is what your hunting partner or the person you're guiding will do any day you go turkey hunting. One morning I took a fellow out to hunt turkeys who never had hunted a turkey. When we got out of the truck, we heard a gobbling turkey. I told my hunter, “All right, there he is. Get your stuff, and let’s go.” We took off. At that time of the spring, the river was out of its banks and had flooded a good portion of the hardwoods where we were hunting. The turkey was gobbling from a tree on the other side of the backwater from where we were. I told my hunter, “We’ll have to cross the water, so when the turkey flies down from the roost, we’ll be on the same side of the water as the gobbler.” We waded water quietly and got really close to the turkey. When we were just about ready to sit down, my hunter tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Do I need to load my gun?” I started thinking, “Oh, no, we’re 115 yards from this gobbler on the roost, and he hasn’t loaded his gun.” Then I realized that I hadn’t told him when to load his gun. Of course, if you’ve never been turkey hunting before, you don’t know to load your gun when you get out of your vehicle. My hunter was only trying to be safe.
He was hunting with a pump shotgun, and I asked him to give the gun to me. If he loaded the gun, I knew he'd slam the receiver shut, and the hunt would be over. I loaded his gun very slowly and quietly, and we sat down. In the still morning air, I heard the gobbler fly off the roost. I told my hunter, “I can’t see the bird, but he's coming to us.” My hunter picked his arm up, pointed in front of us and whispered, “He's right there.” I whispered, “Don’t move.” The hunter asked, “Do you see another one?” I told him, “Don’t move anything.” By now, I had spotted the turkey. When the gobbler stepped behind a big tree, I whispered to my hunter, “Put your hand down, and place your hand on the forearm of your shotgun. Get ready to shoot. Don’t point at the turkey anymore.” My hunter whispered, “Okay.” I said, “I can’t see him right now. He's probably walking.” Once again, my hunter pulled his arm up, pointed and said, “He's right there.” At this point, I'm going nuts. I urgently whispered, “Don’t point at the turkey. Don’t do that. It’s my fault you made that mistake, but put your hand down, and place it back on the forearm of your shotgun. When the turkey starts moving again, I’ll tell you when to bring your gun up to your shoulder.” Well, somehow, we still managed to take that turkey.
My hunter had pointed directly at the turkey twice. And, for some reason known only to God, the turkey didn’t see him. The turkey was at about 40 yards both times my hunter pointed at him. As we were walking to the turkey for the hunter to pick up his trophy, my hunter said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you couldn’t move as much as I did when you're turkey hunting.” I smiled and told him, “You have no idea what you’ve just done. You have moved more than any turkey hunter I’ve ever hunted with and still managed to bag a gobbler. You have captured the world’s record for moving on a turkey and not spooking it.”
To get a free turkey eBook, “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” go to http://johninthewild.com/free-books.