Turkey Hunting: Hunting Buddies

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The sport of turkey hunting, at its core, is a solitary sport.  The majority of the turkey hunters I know break daylight by themselves, and do so out of preference.  They prefer to work alone, so as to not to have another hunter slow them down or question their decision process. 

I personally enjoy both those hunts in which I am flying solo and those in which I have a friend along.  When you hunt alone, it is you versus the turkey, not you and Jim versus the turkey.  However, hunting with a partner that has the same modus operandi as you can be very productive, as you can sound like more than one hen in addition to having the ability of using the retreating hen tactic if the turkey hangs up just out of range.

To further emphasize the concept of compatibility, having a hunting partner that hunts like you do is similar to a married couple.  If the husband and wife are on different ends of the spectrum in terms of values and interests, they will have to compromise greatly to make sure the marriage stays peaceful.  While a turkey hunt is certainly not as important as marital bliss, the example holds true: turkey hunting partners must either be on the same page, or be willing to find a happy medium between their chosen hunting styles.

So the question I had for several of the top turkey hunters in the sport is this: if you had to kill a turkey for a million dollars, who would you take and why?

Harold Knight, Knight and Hale Game Calls, Cadiz, Kentucky
“When my partner David Hale was in his prime, he was as deadly as they come.  David learned how to kill turkeys before a call, so he was keen on his woodsmanship skills.  He would sneak into a turkeys’ living room before that turkey ever knew he was there.  He’s a great caller, but he would figure out a turkey as fast as anyone I have ever hunted with.”

“As far as someone maybe not as well-known as David that is deadly, Hunter Burns from Alabama is one of the best I have ever hunted with.  He is a great caller, but what stuck out to me was how well he would get to know the turkeys on his property.  When the season started, he knew exactly what each turkey was going to do.  I would have to say he’s probably one of the best hunters we’ve hunted with.”

Josh Grossenbacher, Zink Calls, Port Clinton, Ohio

“The guy that taught me how to turkey hunt, Jack Patton, is one the best I have ever hunted with.  He is a great woodsman, and we really hunt a lot alike, which is very important.  We don’t get to hunt together as much these days as we would like, but when we do, it usually is not good for the turkeys.  As far as a guy I would like to hunt with, I think Walter Parrott would be up the list.  He’s one of the best callers of all time, in addition to being a great woodsman.”
Billy Yargus, MAD Calls, Ewing, Missouri

“I hunted with Mark Drury last spring, and we really hunted well together.  He is a very analytical hunter, and will out-think a turkey.  He is a go-getter, but also knows when to back off a turkey in order to kill him.  One point Mark made that I wholeheartedly agree with is that really good turkey hunters tend to think alike.  I found that Mark and I thought a lot alike, which makes him someone I would really enjoy hunting with this spring.”

Larry Norton, two-time World Champion Caller, Pennington, Alabama

“I have been fortunate to hunt with some of the legends of the sport, and each one I have hunted with are great turkey hunters.  But the guy I grew up turkey hunting with, John Charlton, is as good as anyone I have hunted with.  He’s a very versatile hunter, and can locate turkeys with the best of them.  The main reason I would choose John is because we’ve hunted together so many times we just know what the other is thinking.  He doesn’t even have to tell me when he’s going to soft call to the turkey, I just know.  I think finding someone that you think like is important.”

Alex Rutledge, Bloodline TV, Birch Tree, Missouri

“If I had to pick someone to take with me if we had to kill a turkey, I would choose one out of the group of JR Lanham, Wayne Hagan, Eddie Salter, and JC Morlan.  All of these guys are as good as they come on putting gobblers into a coma.”
Wild Turkey Report Staff
Wild Turkey Report is the internet's new destination for information on the sport of turkey hunting. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wildturkeyreport and on Twitter @wildturkeyreprt!
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