In his hit song, Blake Shelton sings, “She’s got a way with words.” Well Blake, you don’t want to hear the words my wife has to say about turkey hunting.
However, you may be interested in what some of these celebrities and famous turkey hunters have to say. I have compiled a list of seven of my favorite turkey hunting quotes. They describe what inspires me, what concerns me, and what defines me as a hunter.
Read on and let me know what your favorite turkey hunting quote is in the comments below.
1) “Being in the Georgia woods, seeing those big oaks and pines, hearing that first gobble in the morning—it’s like nothing else in the world. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to get your tail beat once in a while. They’re going to frustrate you and beat you up. That’s part of it, and that’s why I love it so much.” -Michael Waddell1
A Georgia native, Waddell is the founder of Bone Collectors. He has a larger than life personality that he brings to the TV screen as he hunts turkeys, whitetail, and other game.
I like this turkey hunting quote for two reasons.
One, even a hunter with as much experience and notoriety as Waddell still goes home empty handed sometimes. We’re talking about a guy who was the official spokesman of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Turns out, he’s just like you and I in that regard. I guess that’s why they call it hunting and not shooting!
The second reason I like this quote is that it shows that Waddell has not lost his sense of wonder for the wild turkey even with his long list of accomplishments. The sound of the gobble that he speaks of is the magic that drives so many of us to wake up early morning after early morning.
2) “You know spring may just be another season for most people, but for some of us, spring seems like the only season.” -Dave Owens2
I relate to this turkey hunting quote because I’m always looking forward to spring turkey season. Even in the fall, I’m thinking about March. It get’s worse as the weather turns colder in January and February.
Once the season ends in May, I have a feeling of sadness knowing I will have to wait ten months for the next season to roll around. Like life in general, the good times seem to happen too fast.
3) “But as far as turkey hunting goes and being obsessed, I’ll explain it to you this way. My friend Brad Farris and I were hunting one time. And he knew that I was overly stressed out. I was in debt for many tens of millions of dollars.
And we sat down to a turkey that morning. I wasn’t gonna go, but Brad made me go. And we sat down to a turkey, and I waited til he flew down. And I started talking to him. And that turkey came and all of a sudden it was over.
And all of a sudden, I realized I felt better. That that moment while I was engaged with that turkey, my mind was not thinking about anything else. It wasn’t thinking about debt. It wasn’t thinking about cutting the loan. It wasn’t thinking about going to the dentist. It wasn’t thinking about anything else. I was focused. And I sat down. I told that to Brad and I said, ‘Thank you for making me come.’
So being obsessed is being so passionate about something that when you’re involved in it, your mind doesn’t think about anything else.” -Will Primos3
Sometimes life can get you down. It sure does me some time. It’s so nice to get outside and hunt. Even if I don’t get anything, I just feel like I’m back to normal for a while.
This turkey hunting quote (don’t try to memorize this one) from Will Primos, founder of Primos Hunting, remarks on the escape that turkey hunting can offer us from the real world. Many of us know how turkey hunting can be such an obsession that it consumes our mind.
Heck, you might be so obsessed that you’re reading this article while you’re supposed to be working, watching your kids, or mowing the lawn… Wait, come back!
4) “So authentic is your gobbling that someone has shot you?!?!” -David Letterman to Preston Pittman4
This short, simple turkey hunting quote brings a couple of thoughts to my mind. First, Preston Pittman is a legendary turkey caller! He is a five time world champion. Well earned, I’d say.
Pittman’s natural gobble is incredibly realistic. In fact, according to the interview he was shot at twice by other hunters. Can you imagine being that good at turkey calling?
My second thought is that we need to continue to improve safety in our sport. Gun Safety 101 tells us that shooting at targets you haven’t identified is a huge no-no. We’re lucky that Pittman is still here. Never take safety for granted when you are hunting.
5) “For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird [than the bald eagle], and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage” -Benjamin Franklin5
While historians believe that it is a myth that Ben Franklin actually promoted the turkey as the national symbol of the United States, Franklin did praise the wild turkey in a letter to his daughter.
This turkey hunting quote, pulled from that letter, commends the courage of the old, swamp gobbler. I’m guessing he was referring to a strutting tom when he suggests they are a little “vain & silly.”
Here’s to turkey hunting and here’s to America!
6) “I’ve always maintained that anyone who hears the gobble of the wild turkey while holding a shotgun will become a rabid turkey fanatic.” -Steve Rinella6
Never short on words, Steve Rinella is the host of MeatEater. In case you live in a bubble, MeatEater is one of the most popular hunting shows of all time.
Like the turkey hunting quote above from Michael Waddell, this quote speaks to the thrill of a tom’s gobble. I know many hunters who won’t even shoot a turkey who comes in silent.
There are few things in life as exciting as “talking” to a wild animal. Turkeys offer arguably the best interaction of any game animal.
7) “He also knows that when he comes back home empty-handed, as he will do regularly, he will have no satisfactory explanation. He is well aware, for he has met dozens of them, of the numbers of people that will approach him on street corners and in bars and at parties, who will open each conversation with, “Well, did you get him yet?” When he answers no, they will be off and running. They will tell him in delighted tones and in the clearest detail the story of a friend of theirs who has a feeble-minded nephew. Of how this nephew is occasionally allowed home on leave from the state funny farm. How that the last time this poor defective creature was home, week before last, he went out in the woods just behind the house, sat on a log, and with a turkey yelper that was given away as a souvenir by a typewriter company in 1937, yelped twice, and killed a turkey that weighed twenty-three pounds—picked.” -Tom Kelly7
While not as famous as some of his other turkey hunting quotes, this is my favorite excerpt from Tom Kelly’s Tenth Legion.
I love it because it is the story of my life. While I struggle to tag a turkey each year, every non-hunter I know has seen one in their backyard, hit one with their car, or woken up to the the sound of one gobbling on the back porch of their bed and breakfast.
The uneducated assume that turkeys are dumb and easy to kill. They also can’t believe that you would hunt them in the spring and not just at Thanksgiving.
It’s not that I’m a sore loser. I just wish everyone could experience the feeling of getting beat down by a thunder chicken year after year.
- Dobie, D. (2021, April 5). Georgia Outdoor News. Retrieved September 3, 2022, from https://gon.com/hunting/michael-waddell-born-to-hunt
- Owens: the Pinhoti Project, D. (n.d.). The Best Hardwoods Turkey Hunt- In Your Face Mountain Gobbler Double. YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1SEXCVrPcc.
- Oak, M. (n.d.). Will Primos-The Obsessed. YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPvlCiAfaGA.
- Grneyes096. (n.d.). David Letterman with Preston Pittman. YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9NoXM0qRGE.
- Stamp, J. (2013, January 25). American myths: Benjamin Franklin’s Turkey and the Presidential Seal. Smithsonian.com. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/american-myths-benjamin-franklins-turkey-and-the-presidential-seal-6623414/
- MeatEater. (n.d.). Gobbling: California Turkeys | S5E12 | MeatEater. YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_jR7aUrqu8.
- Kelly, T. (2013). Tenth Legion. Tom Kelly Inc.