Eddie Salter – Nationally-Known Turkey Hunter and Caller Tells About Tough Toms
Eddie Salter’s Crooked Toe Tom
Editor’s Note: Eddie Salter began hunting at the age of eight near his home in Evergreen, Alabama. After learning turkey-hunting techniques from his father and grandfather, Salter called-in and harvested his first gobbler at the age of 10. Salter began participating in competitive turkey calling and amassed an impressive list of titles, including seven Southeastern Open Turkey Calling Championships, six Alabama State Championships and two World Open Championships. Named one of the top-10 sportsmen in the U.S. in 1986 and 1989 and with almost four decades of turkey-hunting experience, Salter isrecognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on turkey hunting. He’s appeared on ESPN, TNN, The Outdoor Channel and ABC’s 20/20 TV show and in numerous hunting videos and television commercials for Hunter’s Specialties and has been featured in many outdoor magazine articles and radio interviews.
I never forgot a gobbler I took almost 30-years ago. My buddy and I had been hunting this bird that I called Crooked Toe, off and on for a week. I called him Crooked Toe because he had one big toe that was crooked. I couldn’t make that gobbler do anything, because he always had hens with him. I finally bagged that tom when the hen came into where I was, and once he followed the hen, I got him. I killed Crooked Toe on a Tuesday morning, and on Wednesday night, my friend called and said, “Eddie, you won’t believe what I just did! I finally killed that ole Crooked Toe turkey we’ve been hunting so hard. Can you believe that he’s only a 2-year-old bird?”
I said to my friend, “Well, why don’t you stop by my house, and I’ll show you that same 2-year-old bird that you’re discussing.” The bird I’d killed Tuesday morning had 1-1/2-inch spurs, weighed 20 pounds and had a 12-inch beard, which for my home state of Alabama was a big bird. My friend replied, “That can’t be Crooked Toe, since this morning I shot the bird we’d been hunting almost every day this week.”
Eventually my friend and I realized that although we’d been hunting the turkey almost all week and never heard another bird gobble in the woods, after I killed Crooked Toe on Tuesday, another bird already had taken his spot. Apparently, this 2-year-old had been living in the same woods with the Crooked Toe Tom that I’d killed. When I took that dominant bird out of the area, the 2-year-old tom immediately took the old bird’s place the next day. From the Crooked Toe Tom, I mainly learned that just because you killed one turkey in a certain hunting area didn’t mean that another turkey wouldn’t be there the next day in the same spot where you’d taken your turkey.