When Luck Mattered Most

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

Luck. It matters. Good or bad, sometimes luck, not preparation or lack thereof, dictates the outcome of your hunt. If you've hunted long, chances are, you know what I'm talking about. Sometimes, things are just out of our control. The hunters in this gallery definitely know what a big role luck can play in a hunt. Check out their turkey hunting tales of fortune and woe below. 

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Tyler JordanTyler JordanTyler JordanTyler JordanTyler Jordan

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1 | Tyler Jordan's Truck Turkey

“When hunting turkeys on our Georgia farm several years ago, I set the alarm for 5 a.m., but when I woke up, I decided to sleep in and go later because we had been hunting hard for a solid week. My body needed a break," Realtree's Tyler Jordan said.

“So I left the house around 9:30 am. As an afterthought, on my way out the door, I grabbed my new Crazy Lady Strut Commander mouth call to try out. A couple of my favorites were already starting to fall apart as it was late in the season. I parked my Chevy at our lodge on the farm, and took the new call out of my pocket to experiment with. After tearing open the package, I yelped a few times to break it in and get a better feel for it.

"To my surprise, a bird gobbled right back 200 yards or less from the truck. I rapidly gathered my gear and went after him. Once I set up in what I felt was a good location, I called again and he was right on top of me. He had clearly closed the gap from where I heard him the first time. I ended up shooting him at 15 steps, 5 minutes after I sat down.

“They say it's better to be lucky than to be good. I would much rather be good, but I'll take lucky until I get good.

"New rule: Always call from the truck.”

Photo provided by Tyler Jordan

Melissa BachmanMelissa BachmanMelissa BachmanMelissa BachmanMelissa Bachman

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2 | Melissa Bachman's Bobcat Situation

"While hunting in Kansas a few years ago, I was set up on a large field with a ground blind on one end," Melissa Bachman, Realtree pro staffer, said. "Early that morning, the turkeys hit the field and I watched as one big gobbler made his way toward my setup with around 15 hens. As they all made their way, one of the most unlucky events took place. 

"A big bobcat hid in the tall weeds and waited until that gobbler was in full strut and facing the other direction. Then the cat came running out onto the field. All the hens were able to fly up, but because the gobbler was distracted and in full strut, he wasn’t able to escape as easily. The bobcat was within inches of the tom, which made it to the edge of the trees, but we never saw anything else. Unfortunately the tom never reappeared. All the hens made their way into our decoy spread, but that big gobbler was never seen again. What are the chances a bobcat catches the one big tom that’s coming your way? Well it happens and sometimes the luck falls in my direction. On this occasion, it was quite the opposite. Not 20 minutes later, we had two gobblers heading in our direction and a coyote chased them off.  This was a predator-filled turkey hunt that was definitely making things much more difficult, however I eventually kept at it and filled my Kansas tags."

Watch the bobcat ruin Melissa's hunt here

Photo provided by Melissa Bachman

David BlantonDavid BlantonDavid BlantonDavid BlantonDavid Blanton

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3 | David Blanton's Cow Crisis

“Years ago, Bill Jordan and I were hunting on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota for Merriam’s," Realtree's David Blanton said. "I was running the camera and Bill was working the turkeys. People have a misperception that Merriam’s come running blindly into a call. It’s great when they do, but that’s not always the case. The one that Bill was calling was acting like a stubborn Eastern turkey. We could tell he was getting closer, but we couldn’t see him yet. Bill worked him for what seemed like hours on end when the turkey finally appeared on the other edge of a bottom. We could see him strutting and surveying. He started making progress in our direction. Just as we spotted him and saw that he was headed our way, we heard a loud rumbling and felt the ground shaking.  

“Just then, from my right to my left, for no apparent reason, a stampede of approximately 100 cattle runs by, right through the bottom where the turkey was. Of course, they spooked the turkey off. We sat there and just shook our heads. We had worked this turkey for hours. To this day, I have no idea why the big herd of cattle stampeded through that bottom. After that happened, we just packed up our stuff and headed back to the truck. Talk about bad luck!”

Photo provided by David Blanton

Nate HosieNate HosieNate HosieNate HosieNate Hosie

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4 | Nate Hosie's Close Encounter

"For me, every time I head to the woods, I rely on faith, woodsmanship, and a little luck," Nate Hosie, Realtree pro staffer and co-host of 'HeadHunters TV', said. "A hunt in my home state of Pennsylvania last year stands out to me. I was set up on one turkey out in front of us when a different turkey to my right got to gobbling and coming hard! He broke down and made his way to us through a thicket that I never would have guessed he would go through. When he stepped out, he was within five steps to the right of my producer, Matt, and me, but offered no shot. He gobbled and almost blew our ear drums out and continued to walk through. As he went around the ridge, we reset and yelped him back in and put a tag on him. How he didn't see us, I'll never know. I no doubt had to thank our Realtree camo and a little luck."

Photo provided by Nate Hosie

Lady Luck Shines Down on Sam Klement and FriendsLady Luck Shines Down on Sam Klement and FriendsLady Luck Shines Down on Sam Klement and FriendsLady Luck Shines Down on Sam Klement and FriendsLady Luck Shines Down on Sam Klement and Friends

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5 | Lady Luck Shines Down on Sam Klement and Friends


"When I think of luck, I think of the15th anniversary of Country Goes Huntin’ (CGH) 2016," Sam Klement, Realtree pro staffer of 30 years, said. "It was the last day of our event, and I was hunting with 'HeadHunters TV' host Nate Hosie, Realtree pro Phillip Culpepper, country artists Double Barrel Daryle Singletary and Rhett Akins and CGH board member Dr. Lee Hughes. Our birds during this hunt were not responding well to calls and our encounters/kills thus far had been very low around the CGH camp.

"We needed Lady Luck to fall on our side to say the least. We struck out in a group of two BadBoy Buggies and started to cover some ground. We had covered approximately two miles of contiguous river frontage and had not so much as seen a single turkey track and could not get a bird to respond to a call.

"As we neared the end of our hunt, I got off the buggy and asked the team to stay behind and let me do some prospecting up ahead. Nate slipped off the buggy minutes behind me and joined in the calling to simulate some lone turkeys looking for a gobbler. We were working our calls in tandem as we walked up on the backside of a plantation pine area. As we got a little closer to a nearby field, I was hoping and praying we could find a single bird loafing and that we could trip his proverbial trigger and get a response. As luck would have it, we both heard an explosion of gobbling back in the pines. It sounded like an entire flock of turkeys.

"Nate took off running back to the buggies and waved his arms to the rest of the group to set up in a hurry. No sooner did we all flop down and get set up than Daryle whispered, 'Here they come, boys.' With guns ready and cameras rolling, Phillip let out a series of cuts to make all three longbeards explode with thundering gobbles at no less than 15 yards from our group. We did the old one, two, three-shoot signal and shells went to shucking. All three of us ended up shooting our gobblers and Greg caught this entire hunt/memory on camera!

"Lady Luck definitely shined down on our group on this hunt.    

"This incredible hunt ended up being the last hunt we would all share as a group. Daryle ended up passing away this February from a heart attack, so this hunt will forever be one of my cherished memories of a lifetime. Daryle actually had all three birds' fans/spurs/beards mounted for Rhett and me and presented these to us last year with a plaque inscribed "The Old Triple Lindy!"

Photo provided by Sam Klement



Phillip CulpepperPhillip CulpepperPhillip CulpepperPhillip CulpepperPhillip Culpepper

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6 | Phillip Culpepper's Snake Escape and Pet Turkey Hunt

"I have a good-luck and bad-luck story to share," Phillip Culpepper, Realtree video producer, said. "I took my niece turkey hunting in Alabama for the youth season. Before we headed into the woods, I told her to look for snakes. We were walking through a bottom, while looking for turkeys out in a field, when she suddenly gasped. She looked as if she’d seen a ghost. I looked down and saw that I was straddling a rattlesnake. It was literally between my legs. Fortunately, it was cold, so the snake was sluggish. I ended up killing it. I think I was quite lucky that it was cold enough to keep that snake from biting me that day.

"Now for the bad luck. I had a buddy here that works on a farm that I lease just up from my house. My friend had located a gobbler that was roosting in the same spot in some hardwoods everyday. But, he said he couldn’t get him to do anything in the mornings. I went and hunted that same bird several mornings to see if I could get him to come to me, but I couldn't. We knew he was right on the property line. After several mornings of hunting that turkey, we found out that the person who lived on the adjoining piece of property had a pet turkey that sounded just like a wild gobbler. He was penned up, so no wonder he wouldn't come to us. I probably hunted him four or five days and my buddy did too."

Photo provided by Phillip Culpepper