Winning with the Wind When You Hunt Turkeys in Oklahoma with Phillip Vanderpool
Many Lessons Learned
Editor’s Note: On my recent hunt at Rut-n-Strut near Sayre, Oklahoma, with outfitter Todd Rogers and Hunter’s Specialties’ pro Phillip Vanderpool of Harrison, Arkansas, the wind was blowing hard, knocking over trees and ripping shingles off roofs. The strength and the power of the wind almost destroyed my dreams of taking two Rio Grande gobblers, until Rogers explained that, “Because these turkeys have lived in the wind their entire lives, they’ve learned how to deal with it. And, so can you.”
Every time I hunt, I try to learn more by the end of the day than I knew at the beginning of the day. At the end of every hunt, I reflect on what I’ve learned, so I can apply the knowledge I’ve gained from that hunt to the next hunt. On my recent hunt at Rut-n-Strut, I re-learned that to consistently take turkeys, you have to know and understand the turkeys’ behavior patterns. On the first morning of this hunt, the turkeys flew down in the old pond bed, just as Todd had predicted. Then, as soon as the turkeys flew down, they headed for the green field on the other side of the pond dam. By knowing where the turkeys wanted to be the next morning, we set-up on the other side of the pond dam. Layne Simpson, thewriter for “Shooting Times,” bagged his gobbler that morning, and the following morning, I bagged my gobbler from the same stand.
Too, I learned that turkeys are accustomed to seeing trucks and farm equipment in cow pastures, and as long as you don’t get out of the truck, you can drive past turkeys and not spook them. When we drove past the four longbeards twice, the gobblers and their hens just walked off the side of the pasture and down into the bottom. Then once they saw the truck had passed them, they started coming back out of the bottom to feed where they’d previously been feeding. That’s why Layne and I were able to get our second gobblers at the same time. “I really enjoyed seeing you and Layne both take gobblers on the morning of the last day,” Phillip said. “Generally when two hunters are trying to take two gobblers at the same time, they’ll agree to shoot together, but you and Layne didn’t do that. Layne took his shot first, and then while the turkeys were confused, you took your shot. Usually if one hunter shoots first, and the second hunter waits and watches the turkeys, he’ll get a better shot than if he tries to shoot at the same instance the first hunter shoots.” We had eight hunters in camp, and all but one took their two-turkey limit in 3 days of hunting. Then there were still plenty of gobblers in the field. With the large number of jakes we saw every day, the hunting should be even better next year than this year.
On this hunt, I learned that when the wind is blowing strong, the turkeys will pull off the ridges in the open areas and seek shelter from the wind in lower terrains. So, if you hunt the turkeys in valleys and low-lying areas, not only can they hear you call better in the wind, but your odds of finding and taking them increase dramatically. This is the second year I’ve hunted at Rut-n-Strut during turkey season. So, if you’re looking for a place where you’ll hear plenty of turkeys gobble every morning you hunt, Rut-n-Strut will be hard to beat. From what I’ve learned about the new Benelli Vinci shotguns and the new Federal heavyweight turkey shotgun shells, Bushnell’s top-notch optics and Hunter’s Specialties’ fine calls, you can bet I’ll be hunting with them again before next year.
To learn more about the new Benelli Vinci, visit www.benelliusa.com/shotguns/benelli_vinci.php. To find out more about Federal Ammunition’s heavyweight turkey shotgun shells, check out www.federalpremium.com/products/shotshell.aspx. To hunt with Todd Rogers at Rut-n-Strut Guide Service, go to www.rutnstrutguideservice.com, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 580-799-1920. For more information about Hunter’s Specialties’ top-quality turkey hunting products, visit www.hunterspec.com.
To learn more about Bushnell’s fine optics, check out www.bushnell.com.