From the Author
Phillips:Generally, these birds are at least 3-years old, they've had many hunterencounters, and they're often smarter than the hunters who try to take them.These wild turkeys are the birds that teach us all how to hunt tough turkeys.My friend the five-time world-champion turkey caller, the late Ben Rodgers Lee,once said, "There are certain turkeys that, if you call to them, you won't takethem." These ole gobblers are so smart, they practically can tell you the nameof the call company that has made the turkey call you're using. They also knowwhen you step-out of your truck before daylight where you're going, what you'lldo, how you'll hunt, and what time you'll leave the woods. They know more abouthunters than hunters know about them. Therefore, you have to forget everythingyou know about turkey hunting and hunt these turkeys as if they're deer.
A PhD gobbler is one of those bad birds, usually with a nameor a reputation. When a well-known turkey hunter comes to camp, that's theturkey everyone wants to see him try to take. Rob Keck, once the executivedirector of the National Wild Turkey Federation, explains, "When I get into ahunting camp, and my guests ask me to hunt a turkey with a name, they'llusually let me out of the truck and tell me where to go to try and hunt thatturkey. As soon as I see the tail lights of the truck disappear, I try to getas far away from that spot as I can and find another turkey to hunt. If I'msuccessful, when my guest comes to pick me up he'll say, 'That bird doesn'tlook like Old Sloughfoot,' to which I respond, 'Well, he's the bird thatcame-in when I called,' and I never say a word about not hunting that namedturkey."
Question: Why didyou pick the people as subjects in this book?
Phillips: Asprofessional hunters, the men in this book have to hunt turkeys every seasonand in several-different states. The more turkeys you hunt, the more PhDgobblers you'll encounter, and the longer you hunt, the more you'll learn fromthese ole, smart birds. Everyone can remember the tough turkeys they've had tohunt better than they can recall the easy turkeys. Everyone who hunts a toughtom learns another lesson in his or her program to master the sport of turkeyhunting. I asked each of these master turkey hunters to share with us thelessons they've learned from these old birds. All of them are also personalfriends. I've hunted with most of them, and I respect them and their abilitiesto take toms.