On this episode of the How to Hunt Turkeys, Paul chats with Phillip Culpepper Jr. of Hunt Club TV and Team RealTree. Phillip has been in the outdoor industry for years and has a wealth of knowledge about Turkey hunting. Phillip shares several stories about the behind the scenes action on Spring Thunder and RealTree Road Trips. Phillip also talks about the Turkey Hunting lessons he’s gained through years of hunting. Paul and Phillip dive into a controversial topic within the Turkey Hunting world. The guys differ with their views but a civil and polite conversation is had. Enjoy this episode of the How to Hunt Turkeys Podcast with Phillip Culpepper Jr.
Paul Campbell: [00:00:00] Welcome to the How to Hunt Turkeys podcast. I'm Paul Campbell. Join me as we dive into the world at Turkey Hunt. Every episode we'll explore the minds the finest Turkey hunters around. We'll take a look at the people, the places, the tactics, the gear, and the culture that creates the mystique around America's favorite bird.
That's right, I said it. America's favorite bird, the Wild Turkey. Throw on your Turkey vest. Grab your box call. Let's talk some Turkey. How to Hunt? TURs podcast brought to you by Go Wild. Visit time to go wild.com or download the app on iOS or Android. Go Wild has all the gear. The Wild Turkey hunter needs, camel clothes, hats, vest, Turkey calls, decoys, and everything else.
Sign up for a free account today and get $10 off your first order. [00:01:00] Time to go wild.com. Wicked North gear. Delivering the very best gear for a life well lived in the great outdoors. From field kits and DIY tax derby solutions to hats, hoodies, stickers, and more. Visit wicked north gear.com.
Welcome to another episode of the How to Hunt Turkeys podcast, man. I am your host, Paul Campbell. Listen, I'm not feeling the best today. I've had a little stomach bug going. But I am not going to let that deter me from the fact the Turkey season is here, March 4th, Southern Florida. We've been talking about it for weeks.
Turkeys are hitting the ground. Our buddies team wing bone from last week's episode. Hope you guys enjoyed that. They are on the board down there. A couple other guys are on the board that I've seen that I'm friends with. So congratulations to all of the Turkey hunters out there in southern Florida.
My buddy Jonah Hyatt down there lives in Florida. He's putting some awesome content on Turkey season.com. He's on the board, so [00:02:00] man what a time to be alive, man. I am so excited the Turkey season is here. So thanks to our sponsors. Time to go wild.com. They got a ton of stuff for the Turkey hunter out there.
You hear it in the intro. They have everything. It's an awesome social community platform. Check those guys out. Find me on there, Paul Campbell, find my other podcast. I do have my buddy Andrew, the oh two podcast. Find my buddy Derek. Ted Buggy Brad. Oh, Dan, what a great community. A ton of guys that are on there.
A ton of folks that are on there. The it's a really neat place to learn. Read the article that I wrote about the Now Near Me feature. You're really gonna be able to use that during Turkey season, I think. So check that out. And thanks for guys at Wicked North gear.com. Man, I'm telling you, every person needs one of the Turkey kill kits in their vest.
That thing is a lifesaver. You're gonna love it. So check that out. Wicked north gear.com. You've heard me talk about it the last couple of weeks. A little side project, if you will, that I've been working on. Turkey season.com, [00:03:00] that's Sucker is live. We got some great content coming up there. Listen, it's just gonna get better from here.
It's evolving. There's new things being add. There's new products. Got some cool Turkey calls up there. We've got some awesome videos, some awesome content, some pictures, all sorts of really neat stuff. Available on Turkey season.com. So check that out. Love to have your feedback on it.
So you can find me on Instagram, the How to Hunt Turkeys podcast. It's H two h t podcast. Find me on Gow Wild Paul Campbell. You can find me personally on Go Wild or on Instagram as well. I know a lot of you guys have reached out. Thank you so much for that. It is Paul Campbell 3 22. I've seen some reviews coming in on the podcast.
Thank you so much for that. I can't tell you how fortunate I am that that you guys listen to this show and provide me with the feedback that we're looking for. So thank you so much. And I say this every time I talk to one of you guys that reach out, keep me posted about your Turkey season.
Any struggles that you're having, successes, failures, message me. I'm here to help. I'm here to help you become a better Turkey hunter, Turkey hunting if you're [00:04:00] fairly new to. It can be a mental grind. It really can. But man, it is the most rewarding hunt I think, that you can experience. So I'm glad that you're here listening to this podcast.
I'm glad that you are willing to get into the pursuit of Turkey hunting. I'm here to help you become a better Turkey hunter. So today's episode, Philip Culp Pepper from Hunt Club tv, real tree. Really nice guy. I've gotten to know Philip over the last couple of months, I enjoy the conversations that we've had. We got to meet at the Nwtf show, which was great. So we, Philip and I dive into a very controversial topic within the Turkey hunting world, and it's controversial from the standpoint that it can be very successful reaping turkeys, fanning turkeys is the topic that we get into.
It can be very successful. There is an inherent danger of walking through the woods or through a pasture anywhere that you are at and you literally look like a tom in false stret. So if it is legal in your [00:05:00] state and you feel that it's necessary or it's something that you want to do, I want you to do the research.
I want you to look at it. I want you to really think about the risks that are there and we talk about it. One, one thing that I like about this podcast is Philip and I disagree on this topic, but we have a constructive conversation and I disagree with him on, on, on reaping and fanning turkeys and. . You guys don't know me personally.
A lot of you we've never met, we've never talked but I'm not one to get in your face about something. Even when I'm really passionate about, like Turkey honey, I'm as passionate as anyone when it comes to protecting the resource and promoting the conservation and the overall health of the wild Turkey in this, in every state and the 49 states of this bird listens.
There's not many more. , passionate about it. I've dedicated my personal professional life to propping up and promoting this animal. So I want you, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna yell at people. I want to have good conversations. I'm not a keyboard warrior, [00:06:00] all right?
I've had a couple people push back. When you have a p when you have a podcast or you write, people wanna take shots at you. I, listen I've exchanged numbers with people that have been critical about me or something that I've said on the internet. Say, Hey, call me. I wanna hear what you have to say and you have good conversations.
I'm not gonna fight with someone on the internet. I will never do that. And if you're one of those people, I want you to really consider stopping because you , it's just a bad look, right? It's just it's a dumb, it's a dumb thing to be a part of fighting on the internet. It's stupid.
Stop it. If you've got a problem with someone, have a conversation in private. Have a conversation, on the phone. This topic, reaping Fanning really gets people fired up for good reason. I think there's a lot of things that we need to understand more as Turkey hunters. I think the science is still out for debate.
Our buddy Cameron Weddington wrote wrote an article on Outdoor Life that you can read. So I just want you, if you decide to get in this, I want you to consider all of it. Okay? All of it. [00:07:00] And I'm not gonna tell you one way or the other. The only thing I talk about here, for me, it's a no, it's a no-fly zone for me, and I'll never do it.
I've never done it because it's a safety concern. And I tell a really tragic story that just happened here in the last two or three Turkey seasons. About a young man that, that was killed on his family farm. So you take it all into consideration. But this is a great episode with Philip.
Dude's been in this Turkey hunting game for a long time. We talked about his history at Realtree, how he got started. Really cool, man. It's a really cool story. Phillip's an awesome guy. He really is. I love the guy putting out some really cool content. He's gonna put more Turkey seat or Turkey hunting content this year than he ever has, so that's pretty neat.
So thanks for listening to this episode. Thanks for listening to this podcast. I really appreciate you guys. Please check out Turkey season.com. I think you're really gonna like the the website. So until next week, Turkey season's open. Keep posted on your progress, guys.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Take care.
Okay, we'll be cranking out stuff. In the past it's been,[00:08:00] when I first started Hunt Club, it was just a deer episode type thing in the fall. And then, but this year we're actually going full boar, so we're gonna have, which we, I think just in February long we're gonna have eight shows coming out.
Originals. And then and so then we'll be once March hits, we're gonna be full board cranking 'em out. Like we have Spring Thunder in the past, so we'll be having from March on, we'll have to May we'll have 15 to 20 episodes. Yeah. So it ought to be, we'll be cranking 'em out. So are you
Paul Campbell: still doing Spring Thunder in
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: addition?
Doing I'm, I've got a reduced role in it, but I'm still doing, okay. I'm still doing a handful of episodes. Okay. But so Real Tree's producing that, they're obviously, they're growing in the production side of what all they got in their digital footprint. And so they're, in the past we had Drake Glam had produced all the stuff under, when he was under another company, Midwest Whitetail.
Then everything, everybody started growing. Drake went on his own and then started working under the Hunt Club umbrella. So [00:09:00] Real Trees producing off, cuz they're going separate. Several ways was Spring Thunder when the past just me. So they obviously are diversifying a little bit, so well mean, which makes sense.
They're going, different parts of the country. So they're producing that in-house. And then Drake's producing all the Hunt Club stuff oh, nice. Okay. We're going, Drake's still working real close on these, so we're going, we're gonna be hit. He'll be, me and him will be attached to the hip.
All springing like we have been the past five years. So . There you go,
Paul Campbell: man. Like you talk about Spring Thunder I started Turkey hunting. I just started hunting in general, 2000 and eight. I didn't grow up hunting. I was 25 when I started hunting, and thank God I did, man, I'm gonna be honest, it pulled me out of a dark pit at the time of my life.
But Spring Thunder was like the first TV show that I found. For Turkey hunting ,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: what did, what year would that have been? That'd tell a lot of what you got to experience, especially as far as I can on the scene. It
Paul Campbell: would've been, I think, 2009, 2010 would've been [00:10:00]
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: when I saw you. So you were watching the back when the hunting public guys were doing it?
Paul Campbell: Yeah, when Aaron was on it. And then just, but like Spring Thunder, that's just what a name. I don't know who came up with that, but that's that's the, that's like the phrase that I associate , with Turkey hunting is like Spring Thunder. And so I'm sure that was intentional, but man and here we are, almost 20 years later, like Spring Thunder.
That's just all I think about when Turkey started out, I'm like, here
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: we go. . So that's great. And it's hard to believe even that, because I was a real tree at that time, but then it, I was producing real tree real tree road trips , the digital side of it was never even crossed my mind.
I was doing all I could do just to get by enough to be able to produce a TV show and yeah. And but to even know that it was going back that early, and then obviously everything metamorph sizes and changes and evolves and and then I guess the first year I started doing it would've been 2018.
Okay. And and that was the first year ever of doing anything like digital. Everybody's we're gonna do this digital show. I'm like, God, man, what is that? You didn't [00:11:00] even know, you know what YouTube was, but that was, that was before Realtree came out with the 365 app and all that.
And we started doing it. And it was the first year of, we started doing it, man. It was like trying to, we were, I, there was so much like pressure from the back end. I'm like, God, we gotta get this. We gotta get this. And it was an all one of those springs. It was an awful spring. It was a just a year from hell.
So it was just brutal. And . Then the next year we had, we evolved and adapted. That's when I had met, Drake was working, he was had been interning for Midwest Whitetail and that was his first gig. Pretty much was his full-time gig was producing Spring Thunder. So that first year, spring Thunder, we were filming everything down south and wherever we went with Realtree and then we were transferring the footage to Drake and it was, you know how Turkey, especially now in a daily a reality, if you wanna call it type show of filming, everything that happens, it was brutal on Drake trying to make sense of what, [00:12:00] he would cut a show together and then be on the phone with me at midnight.
And I never even met Drake. We're like, man, no, this happened here, this, and you're trying to piece it together. So finally we got the talking and it was like, man, it would be way easier if we were together all spring to where you could make more sense of stuff. Not only could we get it out quicker, but I can remember in the first year we did it, we were literally.
I'm trying to get wifi and a truck would leave the truck running all night long just to try to get footage uploaded. And then it was just stalled out. It was like, man, we're wasting more time trying to get footage to him than we are actually Turkey hunting. So it's come a long way, but it was it, and the best thing that ever happened with it was when Drake, me and him got together and started traveling in the springs and staying with each other and to where, like I said, regardless, anytime you're there and living it and filming it or being a part of it, it's easier to edit than it is.
Hey, we killed this Turkey. I say, Paul, edit this. We killed a Turkey this morning. You don't have a clue what you know might have happened. Yeah, there's, I think
Paul Campbell: there's so much storytelling that happens [00:13:00] before you, you pull the trigger that, yeah. If I was just watching five hours of footage, you Turkey hunting, I'd be like here's the minute, here's the, here he said something funny.
Here's where he killed the Turkey. Here's where he put his hands on it. Done. And,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: and it does make a difference. And like I said, luckily we missed and it's hard to believe that's been five. , over five years ago. So we're still rocking, rolling and trying to get with it.
Obviously we, the longer you do it, then you realize, all right, we need this. We don't need this. You recognize certain situations, but it's still a grind. It's, yeah. From time you go from end of February to, to the 1st of June, this, we look like a couple of crack heads running around by the time June gets here.
Cause Yeah. Stopping in the gas station, brushing our teeth with a bottle of water. It's just , but it's fun. Like I said, it's all about that moment of, pulling, of getting 'em gobbling and hopefully pulling the trigger on 'em. So it's and it's fun. And again, we've been blessed, super blessed between places we've hunted and just characters and personalities we've met that you would never expect to meet.
And again, kinda like you said in the beginning about getting into it and bringing you out of a [00:14:00] dark spot of your life, it's it's crazy how the hunting aspect. , regardless of what background you can, everybody can mesh. And it's like a little, it is kinda like a brotherhood. So it's, that's still my favorite part of the sport.
Paul Campbell: Yeah. Yeah. Hunting, I feel like is the, is it's the great equalizer for people. And it doesn't matter where you grew up, doesn't matter how much money you got in your bank account, if you go into it with the right frame of mind, especially Turkey hunting the right frame of mind, you can have a blast and you can be really good at it, or you can be terrible at it and throw a million dollars a year at it and suck.
Like you're just the worst Turkey hunter, but you're just dumping money into it. So it's definitely, it's the, it brings people together and like the human side of hunting, if you will. I love it. I that's the fun stuff, like doing this podcast, man, I get to meet you and all these cool personalities.
That's what I like, it's really neat. Don't get me wrong, I love shooting turkeys do it all the time, but the people is really makes it special,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: oh, there's no doubt. And that's why even, Coming up from the first years I was a realtor trade to always just going like the Nwtf convention.
That was always just a cool [00:15:00] thing. Cause it's just like a huge group of people that just love Turkey hunting and it's such a, you got that common ground where, it don't matter what technically background you're, whether you're north, south, east, west, wherever you're from, you're there cause you love Turkey hunting.
And unless it's some poor girl got drugged by her boyfriend, then it's but still you're there sharing that common knowledge and just, at the end of the day where they're in a Turkey camp, whatever it is, it's just cool to have that camaraderie. And it's a lot more laid back than deer hunting to where people, you can get to know people a lot better.
So it's a neat, it's definitely a neat sport that I think that side of it, a lot of people are like, man, are you Turkey hunt? Like you really Turkey hunt? That's the side of it that people don't see.
Paul Campbell: Yeah, for sure. So you started with realtree, you were young, were you like 15, 16 years old?
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: like that? Yeah, I, when I was, the week before I turned 16, I went, cuz I live 15 minutes from the realtor offices. My mom, I had her take, she took me down there and dropped me off and I filled out an application the week before I got my driver's license. [00:16:00] And then with the week I turned 16, DJ a girl on the she's still there today in the, she was over the warehouse.
She called me. They needed somebody to help pack boxes. So I went and I worked a year and a half in the warehouse packing boxes. And my dream was just to run a camera. I just wanted to run a camera. Cause I grew up watching All-Star Spring Monster Bucks. I was like, ah, if I could just run camera. And so I started the Warehouse and then eventually, got a chance to start running camera a little bit and film some footage that caught David Blanton's eye.
And then it I was very blessed. It grew from there, getting other opportunities to do stuff. So yeah, I was there and I left in 2020, if you say left, as far as nana every day in the office guy and I was I was there, I'm 37 now. I've been gone for three, this would be two and a half years, and I was there over 18 years.
So it was a it was a, it's just crazy to think back. It don't seem like it was that long, but it was. If you start putting down tr woods hours, it's man, that's a long time. .
Paul Campbell: That's a good point. So r [00:17:00] road trips, that was if you could just talk about kinda like the history of TV shows.
That was one that really, I think changed the game. I think probably anger at a lot of people at the time because, so were you there, you were there with, so with Nick and Michael when they were gonna go
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: around? Yes. When I was there the first years when I was there, Nick was, he was a nick hunting a little bit, every now and then.
But he, Nick was the initial was years before bond collector. Nick was a. Camera guy. Nick was me, I remember me and Nick used to, we'd, we used to go up to Milk River and Guide Hunts. We'd go up there and we had a rotating schedule of partners that Real Tree had. They would come in for Hunts, so we'd be up there for three weeks at a time filming and Guiding Hunt.
Yeah, that was the years before Bone collector and so yeah, but road trip. So I was, my first, I would've started of at Realtree in 2002, which would've been the first year road trips was being filmed. The first fall came out in oh three, and then it [00:18:00] got into, oh, when Steve Fence, mark Warmack were producing it, and then got into 2008, eight, I wanna say is when I started, I moved up and started producing it and then that's when the bone collectors started going too.
And I produced road trips I think for four years. Okay. So it was, yeah, it was neat to, but I ne I never saw the, I was there from the scene, the inside of it, to where I didn't see the, I knew road trips was a big show at the time, but I didn't realize the impact it had, from the outside of everybody saying Holy Cow Road trips, cause I was there, it was all I could do to piece, try to just learn how to get it together and edit. Cause I didn't go, I came straight outta high school, I didn't go to school for it or anything. So I was just, and then especially by the time when I was learning to edit and started producing it, I was really like, we talk about spending a lot of time on a deer stand, man, I'd be up there all night long trying to get it, edited all night.
I remember there were several times, and even when Mark Womack was still there, [00:19:00] we would be leaving the office when, at 7 30, 8 o'clock in the morning when everybody was coming to work, try trying to get the show done and go take the take to FedEx to get it shipped the outdoor channel. So it was . It's crazy the.
How it's grown and how it's come. Especially even the footage side of it from logging tapes and having to go through everything off trips. And you have, I can remember when Michael and Steve Finch and Red Akins went to Alaska and there was 25 tapes had to go through and log everything and digitize it in where now you can just dump it.
That's what I always give Drake a hard time about it. I'm like, man, you got, I was like, all you gotta do is just drag it over there and that's all you gotta do. I was like, man, , that would've saved us. I used to spend three weeks going through a whole trip, yeah. And then you gotta go back and batch it in.
It. It was chaos. It's crazy how far it's come.
Paul Campbell: Oh yeah. Yeah. You got like a little micro. I got look at that. Look at that micro SD . That's what like 10 tapes right there. I can
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: remember when it was going to that and mark wo had it and was, I was like, man, [00:20:00] he was like, yeah, this is coming.
I was like, man. I was like, man, that's terrifying. I was like, where do you store? So where's it go? And I was like, and I was like, cause we had me literally, we had a realtor, we had a whole room full of huge, 10 foot cabinets of nothing but tapes go. That went all the way back to 94, 95. And then there was a whole nother controlled warehouse that had all the stuff housed from all the Hughes big beta tapes to where, which I mean, I'm old school, which, but I was like, man, if I need some footage though, I don't wanna have to look at a computer.
I wanna go pull it off the shelf. Or I can go there and I can fast forward to it and look at it, cause when they first started talking about SD card stuff, it terrified me. I'm like, what? When it's gone. What do you do? And I was like, , yeah. You can't go get it on the tape and pull and wash it.
And so I was like, man, this is where it's going. I'm like, there ain't no way. Yeah. And and I held out as long as I could. I was the last one I think at Real Tree shooting on tape. And then finally I, we had to switch and I was like, but it terrified me whenever. I was like, it's just, I was like, what if you [00:21:00] erase it?
I was like, that's it. If you don't have it backed up. And I was like, I don't trust technology that much. I'll still be using a flip phone if it was up to me, but it was .
Paul Campbell: That's funny. Imagine those guy like, cause Strickland and Will Primos man walking out with those giant, like 40 pound freaking like tape
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: cameras.
It was even worse back in those days. But I, when I first started a real tree, I remember doing the elk hunts. We were doing those big 300, 300 cameras to where, with the big lenses and stuff, it was like, you had to be in shape. It was a, when you start talking about elk hunting with a big tripod, and it was, you're looking at a 65, 70 pound pack of just equipment, and you had these huge brick batteries.
You could sink a ship with them. There's like a cinder block. So it was and the batteries didn't last. I remember the mics, the wireless mics used to have to, would, if you saw a deer, you'd have to cut 'em on and they'd last, for. 30 minutes or something.
So then whenever the deer get by, Hey, cut your mics off, which now you can just let it run, it's just, yeah, it's crazy. And you never had a SD card. [00:22:00] You got 130 minutes. You had tape, I can remember when you were in like crunch time, having to rewind tape to go tape over stuff so you'd have enough tape when deer coming in.
So it's crazy. It's come a long way. Talk about stress,
Paul Campbell: man. Like, all right, what am I gonna wipe out by rewinding? Cuz they gotta do it. I gotta get the
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: spot. Even that I can remember several times guys, I've tried to never do it in the field. The guys would, you shoot something, we'll see it, let's see what the shot looks like.
There were several times you'd get back in with footage be like, especially if it was like freelance guys or somebody that didn't do it every single day. Hey, let's look at. , it's the deer coming all the way. Come in, then it's the recovery. It's dang. Then they'd back and look at the kill, and then they would tape over the whole, all the good.
So it was like . It was, it was, you had to, there was a little tab you had to pop on your tape when you killed something, so you didn't get to race. It was crazy. It's come a long way, .
Paul Campbell: Yeah that's why, that's the behind the scenes stress, that, guys like me, I just watch it on tv.
I'm like, eh, that was cool. So [00:23:00] now do you remember your first hunt where David Blanton or Bill Jordan was like, all right, Philip, you're gonna be on the other side of the camera now. Do you remember that? Were
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: you been in a panic the first, I would say the first hunt. Yeah. I, we were in Texas actually at a place we called Ville.
I think it was on road trips. It would've been like oh six or oh seven. And and Vato had said I could kill a deer. And so there was a management eight. We went in there and hunting and Michael let me hunt and I, that was the first thing I'd ever killed on camera. Oh yeah. I was jacked. I was, through the roof of getting the opportunity.
Then I'm like, I can't screw it up, . But it was, that was, yeah, that was it's been a long time ago, but yeah, it's been, it's, I remember, yeah, I remember it all, man. Like it was yesterday. It's crazy. I can remember, whether it's, going and, which again back in the, that was even an all-star or spring day I can remember it was, some of it was fly by the city of your pants, but when we were having get Turkey content, it would be like, I remember we'd be at lunch or something, or it'd be, [00:24:00] David would call me in his office, but, Hey, come in here.
Hey, do you know where in turkeys are at? Yes. Yeah. I heard something like over the weekend, Hey, y'all go up there and see if you can get a good video. But it was so cool back then, cuz it was like, man, am I doing this for work? If this is like I'm getting paid because I was, still, I don't even think I was sour at the time.
Just hourly. Yeah hey, no, look. But David, cuz David was funny cuz David was so laid back. David loved, always loved the video turkeys. He wasn't just ate up with it going every day, but I was, that's what I was coming on the scene too, to where I was like, I was infatuated with it, but I'm like, man, I don't wanna, I don't wanna let on like I live and breathe it.
Cause I was like, I, but I was eating it up being, I would go out there and film and, but it was just funny. He'd be like, look now y'all go out there and hump now look, try to be done now. Let's all meet down at B mes at 1130 for lunch. That was like one of the things. So it was like, it was just a big family thing.
And then if you kill something, everybody would come in there, in the video department, we'd pull it up on screen so it was, you'd be walking around. It was funny cuz Realtree had a dress code, dress kind of [00:25:00] respectable. It was just us video guys. We'd be walking around and camo and.
And then the biggest thing we'd get reprimanded for is having muddy boots. So we'd always have a pair of tennis shoes at the door. So it was neat, man. It was like a little, like an old fraternity type thing. It was pretty cool.
Paul Campbell: Yeah. Obviously like deer, deer hunting content that, that moves the needle that, there's more deer hunters than there are Turkey hunters.
But when I hear, when I talk to guys like you and you watch the content, like the Turkey hunting, that is that pulls the heartstrings almost for a lot of people to where, like you said, you look like a , like you're homeless by the time the season gets, gets over with. So was there any was there any oh, fighting, not fighting's the wrong word, but like with all of these personalities at real Tree.
Who gets to Turkey Hunt first? Who gets to pull the trigger first? Who gets to go on these hunts? Was there like, do you guys like fight over, who gets to go on the best hunts? Okay, we got one Osceola Hunt, who's going ? Or was it just yeah,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: and obviously it was, cuz it's funny cuz like you say that about, the whole deer hunting sales [00:26:00] thing.
Cause I can remember obviously it's with the real tree and everything that, that, with the monster bucks of them and it is still a business. I mean it did, I can remember it getting to the point of the Turkey DVDs, the All-Star Springs stuff it was just, they weren't selling like it, I mean there wasn't, there, there was such a niche market and then the d when the DVD stuff started going away, it was like, God, man, we can't, it's hard to, on paper to justify, keep spending the money.
But everybody loved to do it. And so that's really, . In all honesty, this digital side of things, this digital platform was the saving and grace for Turkey hunting. Because it was like we still gotta feed. We still wanna do it and we still want, that's a common brotherhood out. There are people who do it, but how are we gonna, how can we financially make the decision that we can justify it without spending all the money on DVDs when nobody's buying DVDs?
And and not just for the TV stuff. So that's really where the digital stuff came along and that cr opened the door for me more than anything. I think with the Turkey [00:27:00] stuff, because we did, we would do a select few Turkey hunts a year for tv, but even like on wheelchair outdoors, you would have one, maybe two Turkey shows, and and I, it was one of them things that, it was, it never was like an argument or go here, go there. But behind the scenes of that, Realtree had, they would have all the partners, their licensee partners and stuff, between Bill Jordan's place and then he had a place at the time in Alabama.
He leased back, going back to the Earnhardt days, he leased for 20 something years. It was 5,000 acres. It was, he just leased Turkey rights. So I turned into that, later in the years at Real Tree I had a dual role where, cuz when I started out and I got in the film and that I was nothing.
I was like, I was filming and producing. Then it turned into spring stuff. Cause I was infatuated with Turkey hunting. So I turned into kind of a guide for these licensees. So in the spring I wouldn't even be in the office. I would stay out and we would film some, but it was like, that was like my dual role was, look soon as you're not in the [00:28:00] woods, you come in here, you gotta edit.
But when you're not editing, just go take these guys and get 'em a Turkey. So I traveled a little bit doing stuff in the spring and then, but I never really, it never really kicked up on really us taking travel and doing a ton of Turkey trips until the Spring Thunder stuff and all the digital stuff came on.
And then it was. when we knew we had to have the content, it was who do we think could kill a Turkey? And then who's obsessed with it that can do that, can crank out 20 something shows a year, like who's the crazy man that's gonna stay gone from home the whole time? So I was like, I'll, I'll do it.
So you like, fall outta your chair. I know what Guy . I was like, this is what I've been, this would be amazing. And that's what, like I said, I was, I couldn't wait to get started. And then that first year, spring Thunder was complete. It was just, they sued me up and spit me out just on the
It was just a tough year. And then it was adapting to the whole digital side of things and trying to meet the mark on certain things. And having these shows when, especially when you had missed opportunities. Cuz everybody's man, it's turnt. You gotta have to kill everything.
And then from what the show was, it was, I don't wanna call it a [00:29:00] tip segment, it was because Aaron did, they did a incredible job with it. But it was, they had way more of a cast, to carry the load. And when we started doing it, it was the first year, it was just pretty much me and whoever I went with to where that's when me and Drake really when we got control of it and talking with Daniel Thomas at Realtor, that's when we made it like a day in the life of, look, if you wanna call it a road trip style thing, let's just go and let's just, we gotta own up the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And that's where, for us, where we started seeing growth in it. Obviously it was already established, but that's where we I feel like, rebounded
Paul Campbell: now with Hunt Club. You're you dictate your schedule. It's your show and your buddies that are there, with it.
So Turkey season rolls around. Are you guys getting geared up now? You got. When you start planning for Turkey, this is, these are all selfish questions just cuz I'm really curious of the behind the scenes stuff, cause No, like I said, I just get to see the finished product and I love watching it
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: it's funny we've had our spots we normally hit and like you say, it's everybody you meet, become good buddies with across the country. And every year there's some [00:30:00] opportunities that we don't, that we've had not had in the past. We try to change things up but we're adapting to the times here because all the seasons are getting pushed back to where, we got that there's a family down in Florida that are that like family to me.
And we go down there every year and the, in the 1st of March cause Oce Oceola is in southern zone, still come in that first weekend of March. And then, we'll typically we would move up from there and go to Alabama, Mississippi. Alabama's pushed back now to the 15th, so we'll go to Mississippi.
Again to a dear friend of mine, Perry Ross, who I really got startled with him deer hunting with out, he's got outfit in Kansas where real tree. As deer hunting for years. And he's a Turkey fanatic. He's got a place a few places in Mississippi that he hunts. So we bounce around. This is gonna be the biggest struggle, if you will, of like late, cuz I always, we try to, I always try to do the south get, take care of the south early cuz it's typically better there.
But your season's come in earlier between Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, by April, middle of April [00:31:00] you got those knocked out and you're in Tennessee where turkeys are thriving good in certain parts where then we can branch out. But now, like Tennessee doesn't even come into middle of April and Georgia doesn't come in until first weekend of April.
So I mean it's, e everything's gonna be pushed back. But we are we're gonna start in Florida, then go to Mississippi and then go back to the northern zone of Florida. And then probably hit up Alabama and Georgia. And then we actually have got a place we're going go, we went last year with Turkish for tomorrow.
I've never been to Texas earlier. We're gonna go that first week of April to Texas and and then try to focus on, Tennessee and actually going to Illinois. I drew Illinois TAG for the first time. Oh, nice. Okay. So I've never, yeah I've, it's, I'm excited to go up there and see how it is.
I've never Turkey hunted up there. I hope they're not as brutal as the deer are on me, cuz the deer hunts .
Paul Campbell: Yeah. That, that that'll be a good hunt, man. That's a cool state. I, it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of states, now that we've got some population challenges across the country if [00:32:00] you'll see more states doing what Illinois does with the draws, especially on public land.
You, I, it wouldn't surprise me if you see, if you, that's just, that's pure speculation.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: And I even pushing the seasons back, if it moves the needle, it's I would love to see what the. The benefits and the data says on that because yeah, I don't, I'm obviously, it's a sensitive topic, the whole fannin thing, and of course, I get lamb blasted every day it seems and it could be second week of November, somebody's gonna say something about fannin.
But my, I still, like you say about the quota and the seasons and the, how many, the limits are my still, my thing on these states that the numbers are down is if we're, if we have so many licensed hunters that are buying tags to hunt, and that is a threat to the population, and we're not seeing the rebound of the number of turkeys that are being killed, then we have a bag limit issue.
If it's legal to kill 'em out of the helicopter, if you're killing your two [00:33:00] turkeys, if it's possible for every hunter who buys a license to tag out, to fill their tags, And stop at that limit and it's affecting the turkeys that we have to hunt the next year then we've got a bag limit issue.
I don't, I'm not trying to, beat around the bush about it. It's cuz people, man, I So you're, I fabulous said so you, so your support lowering the bag limit, I'm like, look if that's what it means to figure out, get it till we get a stranglehold on why we're not having the hats reproduction that we're having, then yeah.
We need to, yeah I love killing Turkey more than anybody, but if it ain't, if we're killing too many of the win, then again being replaced, then Yeah. But yeah, and I don't know, I just I get a lot the attacks or the comments I've seen from people on the fanning stuff you're supporting the reason, that's the reason there's a Turkey decline.
That's the reason why the turkeys are declining, because y'all are, you're fanning them in. I'm like it gets away from the fact, I'm like, first of all, you're handpicking a certain tactic. Which is foolish. in my eyes anyway. But if we're doing that, my still, my thing is if it's Georgia, I can kill two turkeys.
So [00:34:00] is it okay if I go out there and if I just yelp and find two hot turkeys I can kill, then everybody can celebrate that. Or Johnny next door, if he goes and rise down the road in the golf cart and he sees some of the food plot and crawls up there and kills them that's okay.
But it's hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact of if everybody kills 'em that way, then we're still good. We're not good because if everybody's killing 'em that way and they're not fanning 'em in or deco 'em in or whatever, or using a fight in per, or using a slate call or sitting on a seat cushion on a food plot or whatever it is.
If that's the issue at hand, we're still killing our amount on turkeys. We have a bag limit issue until we figure out why we're not getting the hatch that we need to be getting. Yeah, no
Paul Campbell: that's an interesting I'm glad that you brought that up. So the fanning for me, one, I'm way too dumb to know that if it's if you're taking the dominant tom or like the biological response, I'm not a biologist. I'll never, I'm just some dumb redneck from Ohio. So I just take the data, the science that's smarter people than me, like Michael Chamberlain will Goby and those guys that they put together. And [00:35:00] if they're like, yes, fanning is bad, and here's why we studied it for 10 years. And I'd be like, okay, I get that.
I'll listen to that. There's not any of that out there right now.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: And I've told, and again, I'm not beating up on nobody, but the majority of the people I hear it from are keyboard heroes who wanna comment on something and say you're doing it for likes, you do it for.
Views. I was like, look, we show it like it is. And the only thing that I am taking a stand on this year is I'm not changing the way I hunt, but I am gonna show more of the failures of it. Like in the past we've showed the good that the it's easy to show the good stuff, I've had talks to people like y'all, not that I'm trying to prove a point that I will be more transparent.
And so you, I still stand beside the fact of, I bet it works 30% of the time. People, and I, again, if you look back at some of our stuff, I think it probably does look like we get out of a truck, hold a fan up and go kill a Turkey. But again, like you say, if, and I've told people this on social media or whoever I'm talking to face, like if you show me scientific data that it is affecting the Turkey population,[00:36:00] then I'll believe it.
I was like, now my personal opinion, I think we've got, we should spend our time and money on way other resources than. than just that, but I just as divisive as we are a world we are in today, and you start dividing hunters in that and you handpicking something like that is, is regardless of the safety.
I agree. I agree. There's a safety aspect of that, but so is having a 12 year old carrying around a 20 gauge, so it's man, I and again, and I'm sure there are, and I again, we're blessed to do what we do and have it, you know it, first of all, my biggest thing is that I get bashed on is you do it for likes and comments and views and make money.
I'm like, yeah, I do this for a living. But the way I was hunting, I've evolved the last five years how I deer hunt and Turkey hunt and blessed to do it enough to make enough stupid mistakes and realize where I've screwed up and learned from where I, what I can and can't get away from. But again, we show things like it is, I don't do anything to say.
Oh, [00:37:00] this will get a bunch of views. This will get a, I just love to hunt and again, I'm blessed that we got a platform to be able to put it out there and do it on, but it's it's, again, it's like you say, people waking up just wanting to hate on somebody so bad and it's like it again, my biggest thing, even to those people, it's like I don't res understand where your passion's going.
I respect your passion, but take some of that passion of hate you've got for me, whoever it is, and go take somebody who ain't never been hunting. Take the energy you've got in that and go take somebody and a granddad, a kid, whoever it is, get 'em into the sport and teach 'em your way. I don't think everybody's gotta hunt the way I hunt.
I don't. . Everybody's gotta blow Aram. Everybody's gotta have a box call or use a decoy. I don't think everybody's gotta use a shotgun, but teach 'em if you got such a strong feeling and love the sport of it, hold a bootcamp every year to and teach people how you hunt. Hunting a loincloth and low a fig leaf, I don't care.
It's but use it for something positive than just trying to bring somebody else [00:38:00] down just to Yeah. Try to make you feel better. That's what I'll never understand.
Paul Campbell: No, that's I'm, yeah, I'm with you on that, man. It's a collective deep breath. Deep breath and relax. It's .
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Yeah. Maybe, some people do need to go do another pushup. I don't know. get some of that
Paul Campbell: piss and vinegar out of their system, oh, man. So you've got, so you're going to South Florida. So I'm doing my first south Florida Turkey hunt this year. First Florida Turkey hunt, period.
Awesome, man. I am looking
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: still public or private,
Paul Campbell: so I'm gonna do a little bit of both. I'm going down to South Florida. For a couple days I'll be on some private property with a buddy of mine from Alabama. And then we'll probably venture out and do some public land hunting. Just because I've heard it's so different.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: The public land versus private property. Florida, I was way down, down the few years ago and I still wanna do it again. I wanna get my stuff together and do my homework and go down there and prep for it. I know Dave always goes in there a lot. . Cause the only walk on down there is that one spot down the big cypress standing south, south Florida to [00:39:00] where we went down there, man, it was brutal.
It's especially depending on the year, whether it's dry or wet, cuz I mean it's, and it's just getting around. Cause that place is so big. It's swampy too.
Paul Campbell: It's a giant
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: swamp, right? Oh, that's all it is. It is nothing but a swamp. I mean it's, with. Gators and pythons running around everywhere and panthers.
Paul Campbell: So that's why I live in Ohio, man. Because we don't have gators. We don't have pythons, we don't have panthers. We don't have giant spiders. I'll tell you what my first experience with Florida Wildlife, years ago I was riding a four-wheeler through the Ocala National Forest. But I was with, he was on a dirt bike in front of me.
I was on a four-wheeler and he goes out and around and I'm just looking at him. I'm like, what the hell's he doing? And there was one of those giant banana spiders that had made a web across the, you know
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: what I'm talking about? Something?
Paul Campbell: Yeah. They're like a freaking the size of a dinner plate. So I see I'm headed like face first for this thing, so I just let go of the four-wheeler.
I'm like, it's sad. I'll be all right. I just let go. I dive right off that thing. I'm like, you know what? Going back to Ohio, I don't like it. I don't like it down here. There's snakes, there's bugs. I stepped on my [00:40:00] first timber Rattler last year in Tennessee. Oh. And I was not happy. And I will I will say I didn't mess with that snake cuz he decided not to bite me.
He could have, he absolutely, I stepped. ,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: they're in pockets up there. I'm in Tennessee right now, actually. They're, it's weird. They're in pockets. Some places you don't see 'em. But there's so many rocks up here, man, that when you get in 'em, you're in 'em.
Paul Campbell: Yeah. I was in L B L is where I was at Lamb between the legs.
Okay. And I first pig, we don't have pigs in Ohio. First hog, I saw a bunch of hogs scared. One out of a wall or a tree blown down, it was full of water. I walked up and he popped out. I was like, oh my God. I thought it was a Barrett first. I'm like, oh, that's a hog. And he just stares at me and just takes off
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: running.
You're like my buddy. My buddy Jared Larson from OnX. He it was a last minute thing a few years ago and invited him down to South Florida, Turkey hunting, and he literally threw his stuff in a backpack. Flew down there from Montana his first week of March, and man by lunch, the first, not even by lunch, I'd say by eight o'clock the first morning, you might as well.[00:41:00]
I've dropped him out of the airplane in Africa. He was like, ma'am. And it was like, we're in South Florida in the swamp. And he's like where am I at? It's, yeah, it's, it's 85 degrees. He's sweating. He's like a holy cow. There's snakes, it's sand. And it's, and he killed his first Ossie oil.
But it was, it's funny was again, I'm, I grew up in Georgia, so I've obviously been in Florida a bunch. And it's, it is funny to see the reaction of some people, especially even with snakes like Drake land from Iowa. They don't have any, they got like garter snakes up there, but he when he gets down there, he's alls he wanted to do was for the first three years of spring thunder, we'll see a rattlesnake.
Man. I just wanna see a rattlesnake. Cause the finally we ran into him, man, and he was like, man, he is terrified. He won't even hardly walk in the dark. He's terrified. Yeah. So it's funny, but it's just a way of life where I grew up. You just gotta be careful and walk your.
Paul Campbell: In my southern experience, which, so southern Kentucky, if you consider Kentucky, no offense do y'all live in below the High River here, but so Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama soon to be Florida.
I [00:42:00] haven't seen a cotton mouth yet. I've just seen them on videos. Not looking forward to running into, to one of those , one of those snakes. They look insane.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: I hear the old meaning. They're, man, they're that thing. That's the worst snake there is. They're main, they won't get 90% of the time, they won't move.
They're aggressive. So do they come after you or they just like hanging out? I've seen 'em. Yeah. They, but my advice, if you see one, kill it. It's, they're, but like I said they're about, they'll call up and just they won't move. And plus they're, they blend in so good. But you ever, they start coming to me.
Hold on, sorry. If you ever in water area though, look for little, like dry spots. That's where they get. They're, we still one back here in Mississippi. It was they start
Paul Campbell: coming at me, bud. I'm gonna send $90 of TSS down road. I'll tell you that right now. .
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: I'm, and they're, and no snake looks cool, but they're even like, evil looking.
They're bad. They're rough. I've seen pictures.
Paul Campbell: I have not, I'm not, I dunno. Hopefully I don't see . I see a cotton mouth. I see a python. I'm out. It could be five minutes into that woods. I'm
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: out. Yeah. That, we went down to South Florida down there. [00:43:00] I'd actually talked to one of the rangers down there just asking.
Cause I was like, man, if we see one, can we kill it? He said we don't literally kill the males. And I'm , how do you, why not? We are you what 'em here? What do you do? Pick 'em up and look underneath. See what they are. , right? Yeah. Excuse me, sir. And but they have those big python hunts and stuff.
And I'm like, man, he's you shouldn't see one. You should be all right. I'm like, yeah, fair enough. I.
Paul Campbell: Yeah. Yeah. That's, so that's one thing is I, as I get to, venture out more and more into the wilderness, if you would with Turkey hunting. I enjoy. Yeah. Cause you can only learn so much on a computer screen, on a podcast you can only learn so much.
And then the moment your boots hit the ground that first morning in Florida or Montana, wherever you're at, that's when the lesson starts. And I think the, because I hear Osceolas are this way. I've only hunted Easterns. Osceolas are this way, Easterns are this way.
And so have you hunted all the subspecies a turkeys?
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Yeah. Yeah. And obviously Osceolas are being the, that early, any, again, I think anytime early in the season, [00:44:00] traditionally is pretty good. But they're an Osceola, in my opinion, is the most, they're the most aggressive.
They're, they're like little banney roosters. They'll, they're mean, but, and again, the biggest, probably the biggest learning curve I did going down there the first time in that, Terrain and climate is, is hearing them to where, especially when they're on the ground, if you're in the terrain where there's a bunch of palms and stuff, if you can hear 'em, you better, be looking set up or Yeah.
To where, it's just it is muffled in the humidity can be down there, Saba, where it just muffles it so bad to where sound just doesn't travel that much, and but like I said, that they're the thing down there, glassy roads, if they're not gobbling, every bend you come around glass or they're known to get out in those rows, sandy roads and stuff and probably be, besides your setup on the sound, the biggest thing I've learned to not never underestimate with them as those circles.
They live in a jungle. They'll come through anything. They, I can remember old timers down there telling me they could remember calling 'em in and it was just barely daylight sitting on the [00:45:00] edge of a slew and said, looking, he could see a weight coming and those Turkey, he would beer deep as coach walking through the water coming.
They live in that. That's, so we don't underestimate 'em. Man, your typical Turkey will be like, cow, I got water, but he's going hang up. They come through that stuff all the time. And even those palmas and stuff, it's thick and you there ain't no way a Turkey will get in there.
And you'll hear 'em, it sounds like a old hog rooting around like armadillo coming through there. So they, obviously that's not your handpick scenario, call one through, but they will, they'll come through that stuff to where it's that, that they don't seem to hang up on stuff near as much as what a traditional, if you put an Eastern down there, man, he may sit in one spot for a year by man, I can't go anywhere.
Paul Campbell: , you gotta, you got a two foot line fence laying down is one, one line, one line fence. And that sucker will just walk back and forth. I'll tell you the funniest story that I have for turkeys hanging up. I was hunting in southeastern Ohio and I had a Turkey come down, down the ridge.
I saw him coming. He was on a string and there's just this house. , I was hunting public property that, butted up to a bunch of houses. This house cat, I see movement and he's walking across this big lay down tree, and this turkey's gotta come [00:46:00] over this tree to get to me.
And there's, big Ravine Creek, he's not going that way. And this cat would just walk back and forth on top of this tree. And this Turkey was just walking trying to get around. And the cat would go back and I'm like, I'm gonna shoot this cat, whosever cat, this is, I'm gonna kill it. But that Eastern was just like, man, I've had enough.
And just springed out and just walked right back. I'm like, what the hell, man? Like it's a cat just gobble at him. This thing's gonna take off running. And he never, he just like,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: And you don't ever know why that, and like you said, it could have been 10 minutes later and the same thing happened.
He don't bat an eye.
Paul Campbell: Yeah. And he just moves on. But at that moment in the day, he's I'm not messing with this. I just woke up, hung over. I'm going back to the ,
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: going back to the roo tree. It's funny, it reminds me of that old Eddie Saster used to cause he's like my Turkey hunting idol, but he was, he used to always stay in the seminars.
He'd open it up saying, everybody asked me, the number one question I get asked is, why is the Turkey hang up on a logging road? Or why is the Turkey hang up on a dead fall? He was like, and I'm gonna tell y'all at the end of the seminar what I think, in my opinion on it. And of course everybody's, that's what they [00:47:00] wanna know.
So he goes, all right, the, he goes, I'm gonna tell y'all. He goes, people wanna know why Turkey gonna walk to a certain spot and will not come through that. And everybody's waiting. He goes, anybody got suggestions? And they'll raise their hand. He'll be like I'm gonna tell y'all I do not know, but if I did, I'd be a millionaire.
Yeah. So he's he goes, why they walk to a limb and won't cross it, or they come to a logging road, won't cross it. He goes nobody knows. It's just, and it's again, and then you see 'em come through stuff. Like I said, and again, the Maio is obviously hang up, but they'll come through things.
It's like unbelievable. And then you get 'em on a logging road or like a little opening and they will not even come out into the middle of it, but yeah. The only other thing I was thinking about Osceolas is keep in mind, especially if it's when it starts getting hot, as those suckers love the shade.
I almost like a Texas Rio when it's hot, I've literally seen 'em strut for them. P medicine, they'll cut, almost run shade to shade whenever they start getting hot. So especially if you're afternoon, set up stuff in Gowin. Think about that.
Paul Campbell: That's good. That's good information. The difficult part about running a podcast called How to Hunt Turkeys [00:48:00] is.
The answer to so many questions is, I don't know. And I've said that a hundred times on this show. I don't know. And guess what? Literally no one else on this planet knows. You don't know. There's, I think, and I've said this too I feel like turkeys have, they exercise free will more than any other animal on the face of the planet.
And there's just yeah. They're just like, man, I'm gonna go this way today. Why? Who the hell knows? Because that's what he wanted to do.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: And that's what I've, even it gets into tips and tactics of crawling and moving and what Turo will come through, what he wants show a deco will not show him a decoy to where I've that's what, to me, I think as I've tried to, people wanna know like, why do you love it so much?
I'm like knowing that the Turkey that's been acting like this all day long could just flip it a trigger and just come, run us over knowing you've got a chance. to where they could just turn it around and it could be the best hunt of the year, and you could get him into 10, into five steps.
It's that's what keeps you going because it's kinda like a deer lockdown on the dove. God, he's locked down. We're, we're screwed the next three days. [00:49:00] Versus a Turkey, he may just break down and leave his hands and come over too. You don't ever know. But that's what keeps you going.
Like you said, cuz because at any moment in time, it could all
Paul Campbell: turn around. Yeah. You could hear nothing for 10 hours and then that turkey's ready to die and gobbles and you're like, you're in the game all of a sudden. One of the, one of the things that, that I heard, or someone told me years ago that kind of changed my, when I was really learning Turkey hunt turkey's gobbling and they hit the ground and they just start walking and you're yelping or whatever you're doing, calling, and they just, they want nothing to do with you and they just keep walking.
And so for years I was like, okay, where do I need to be in this scenario? And someone was like, what's not. It's not where you need to be, it's where does he want to be? Where does he want to be within the train, within landscape, if there's hens or other turkeys. What, so where, so I started like really thinking about, okay, maybe there, and I don't, if I don't know the property, maybe there is a line fence or maybe there's a little creek that I don't know about, looking at the map and maybe there's a freaking house cat out there that's chasing this Turkey off.
I'm [00:50:00] not sure what it is, but, so when you've got, when you've got those turkeys, man, they're just moving a lot and it happens a lot. I think like in Ohio early season, it's still cold, the, a lot of breeding still going on. A lot of nesting. So we got a lot of hen pressure.
So when you're hunting turkeys and they're just not responsive for what, they might be gobbling at you, but they're not coming and you know what I'm talking about, they don't care that you're there and they just keep, what are you doing? Do you just hang out and wait? Or are you crawling?
Are you moving? .
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Yeah. If I normally it all depends on the terrain. If you're in a spot where you know where they're at, like especially if whether they're gobbing to a call, I'll call whatever it is, or gobbing a crows on their own, whatever it is. If I still re regardless if a turkey's end up what time of year?
It can be right now, in February, it can be middle of deer season. Every Turkey, I feel like has got their own personality and every turkey's got their bubble to where I still try to infiltrate that bubble no [00:51:00] matter where I'm at, on, on a or what time of year it is. So if a turkey's down there gobbing and say he's go on every, we kill a Turkey.
A few years ago, probably been nine or 10 years ago now, one of my best friends and my dad turkey's been gobbling from a distance. And it took this, about the third time we had hunted him. He was gobbling, he had from a distance, he had gobbled every time he called, every time he called, then he'd start gobbling on his own.
Every time you got within 200 yards on him, he'd shut up. And and they was like, man, he was screaming. We did about the third time he got the goblin on his own. So we got in there called, he didn't say a word. So I said, all and they were ready to go. I said, we're gonna give him 15 minutes, let him get goblin.
So let that Turkey get the goin on his own again. He had goblin once every 15 minutes and we'd closed the gap to get in that bubble and just light call and he'd come right in there and we killed him. But point being is, I think I try to let them make the play as much as they can, as much as they'll reveal on their own.
And then, whether you're looking at a map or the land the terrain where especially if they're not moving much, if they're staying kind of stationary and not going from point A to [00:52:00] point B and try to get in that bubble of 'em to where you can finesse and whether it's they're in a spot, you can crawl there and just crawl there through a ditch and kill 'em or else they're struck with hands.
Or you can get in there and try to soft call. And I always in that situation start lower than I would high and come here with just enough or you can spark their interest to where. , if they are in a, if say it is hardwoods, and you can get the leg up on 'em if it's upper ridge, and you can start soft calling enough to where he'll acknowledge you.
A lot of times if they're just feeding around, that stru, he may swing another 50 or 60 yards out to try to pick another hand up if he thinks you're over there. And not necessarily calling him, but just over there feeding. I think every scenario is differently, but I always try to let them, I try to get as close as I possibly can through the lay of the land in terrain.
If, a turkey's hung up and not coming, if you're checking his temperature and he's still, and he's just, he is not breaking. And then if he's gobbing on his own, let him do that before you ever even let him know you're in the ballgame with him trying to make a play on them.
Paul Campbell: That's the fun stuff right there. And, if people are listening and they've [00:53:00] not Turkey hunted, that's the stuff where you're like, oh, here we go.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Oh yeah. Like warfare. It's okay, this is. But again and it's not always going, obviously, it doesn't always work out, but to your point, if a turkey's do, if they're doing something, if it's a whole flock that's where I think people grow as Turkey hunters.
When you don't, when you don't win the match, that's when you become better. And if, and if you're not willing to learn every time you go out there to where if you get in there and he beats you, pay attention to what happened to where, if you're on that Turkey, nine times out of 10, it's going to ha you're gonna be on that Turkey again in that scenario, okay, where did he beat you last time?
So try to figure 'em out and beat 'em to that point next time. Whether it's physically beat 'em to where they were at or figuring out the way they exited, went off and know it's, that's the side of it that I think that gets more into the analytics of the deer hunting side of saying, okay, where are they physically beating me at on what they're doing to where, and like you say you.
Every turkey's his own man to where that they can turn it around in a blink of an eye. You may get in there and soft, [00:54:00] you he'll look up, turn around the next day, turn around and just walk right to you and you're killing him. Me, he may leave his hands, but you may get his hands coming to you. But like I said, I think it's important to people become better Turkey hunters the more they get beat and pay attention to why they got beat and making adjustments on that, in my opinion.
Yeah, for sure. I think
Paul Campbell: the only constant in Turkey hunting is the best way to learn his failure. And that's not killing a Turkey, if that's your definition of success. So that's the si. You walk out empty handed, you're like, damn, that was sweet. That was a lot of fun.
What did I do wrong? What did he do? What, how did I not react? What could I do? That's, like you said, that's where people really start to fine. They're Turkey hunting and really getting, turkey's coming, working, you're in the game. Pulling the trigger. That's, winning the game.
I did air quotes. You get the
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: kamikazi Turkey that's gonna come run you over. Yeah. And those are awesome to make you feel like a hero, but they're just not ever, if you want, consistently kill 'em, and whether just you were taking somebody with you, it's like you, you gotta dive deep and dissect how they beat you and try to get in the mind of a Turkey and be like, okay.
[00:55:00] And again, the way they're acting, I think is recognize those situations, how it's gonna play out. Okay, this is, this, Turkey's doing this, he's hanging up, or he's gobbing like he's hand up down there or, he's, he ain't biting on a, on any kind of cutting or hard calling.
It's all soft calling or maybe scratching the leaves or, or if he won't come any further, try to close that gap when he goes down there and then, and just to get enough to get in that side of that bubble. Cause like I said, , whether they're henned up or by themselves, they all got a bubble.
And you can break that bubble most time. You can get a shot at 'em. Yeah,
Paul Campbell: that's good. I like that. I've never thought of it. They have, they had their bubble, and that I like that. Yeah. That's very, that's good advice, man.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: And like I said, I think it may flu, I don't, not bashing anybody, but they're like a woman.
It fluctuates day to day. One day it may be huge, and one day it may be, 60 yards. You may have to be, to get in this bubble. You may have to actually can sit there and get him killed. But it's I think every, that's the important thing is just again, learning and don't ever quit on 'em, yeah. Until you see 'em flying off, I, don't quit if you know [00:56:00] they're there. Keep. I, again, you've been on how many turkeys you been on? Get killed and sitting there on 'em, and I've physically laid there and watched them for three and a half hours with hens, and they ain't moved 80 yards and ain't sucker, ain't said a word, yeah. But again, it's cut it out. Little things, paying attention to, if sometimes you do gotta kick it outta gear and just and wait 'em out and let 'em, my old buddy from south Alabama said, you're on Turkey time. They're not on your time. You gotta wait 'em out because you get that little crack of a door opening whenever they're vulnerable and you can get 'em, get 'em a shotgun range.
Paul Campbell: Let's do a rendition of the classic Tulsa time. Let's do that rendition of Turkey time.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Yeah, we'll just, I think Hoy he'll do it. He'll probably have a he'll,
Paul Campbell: I bet he will. . Yeah, I bet he will. I just wanna sing background vocals in the music video when he's up there just wailing about Tulsa or Turkey time
Philip, man, I've really appreciated your time today. I've enjoyed this conversation. One of the, one of the best parts about podcasting is I never know where the conversation is gonna go. [00:57:00] And I just enjoy good conversations. And man, this one covered a lot of stuff. I really enjoyed it.
This was really cool. I'm
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: sorry, I didn't mean to, I didn't mean to rant too much. I was just . Hey man,
Paul Campbell: that's the stuff. I like it. People aren't here to hear me talk. No one gives a crap about me. That was great. That was great, man. Just the experience and cuz man, the e the evolution. And I thank you for your time today.
If you would, thank you. Do give me one more, give me your best advice for new Turkey hunters or Turkey hunters that are trying to be, to become better Turkey killers. It's best advice.
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: Obviously nowadays of YouTube you can learn and look at things and dissect how you wanna hunt. But my thing is just don't quit.
Don't. , don't get down and get beat up. Keep going and keep trying and pay attention to where your failures are at. Get you, if he's starting out with a good box, call and don't get discouraged with people using diaphragms and stuff. I'll never be able to do that. No, nobody come outta the womb. You open on a diaphragm. It gets you something that you're confident in and making Turkey noises and keep digging and grinding and don't give up on 'em because if it's, if it starts out one day outta the [00:58:00] spring, you, you'll, you're gonna find one that's vulnerable.
And then once you, especially if you've never killed a Turkey, once you break that through that barrier and you get one and you get a Turkey killed and you do it yourself it's a life-changing experience. I, and I don't say that lightly or in a joking manner. It literally is it'll change your life and make you pick up a highway that you never thought was possible.
Paul Campbell: I gave me chills, man. It re it really is a li it's a, I've heard so many guys say it's a religious experience at that moment, and it really is man
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: and It is mean. Like it literally is a lot. And like I said, you'll it'll like, we open this thing with, it'll, you get into something like this and this it, you'll inter be introduced to people and make friends of and cross paths with folks that you may have never have met in a million years cause of the wild Turkey.
And it's, it is a, it's a very sacred thing. Yep. Absolutely.
Paul Campbell: Philip, where can people find you on social media?
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: We are, I've got, we've got the Hunt Club at Hunt Club tv, Instagram hunt Club with Philip Culp Pepper Facebook mine is [00:59:00] personal is Culp Pepper, Jr. We'll be there. And then obviously we've got our we're on Waypoint.
We're on. YouTube, hunt Club. Hunt Club with Philip Culp, pepper and Real 3 365 app. So we're out there. You can Google us and you'll find something to click on and we're gonna be on and we'll start, we're gonna be on your site, so it'll, oh yeah. I
Paul Campbell: haven't actually talked about that on this podcast
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: we'll just
Paul Campbell: we'll debut it here.
We're . Yeah. Turkey season.com. Coming at you quick man. March 1st is the
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: official day for that. So you can't, somebody can't figure out, they can get Turkey firstname.lastname@example.org then they need to, they
Paul Campbell: go back to school. That's it. . Phillip, thanks for your time, man. I really appreciate
Phillip Culpepper Jr.: you. Yeah, buddy.
Paul Campbell: you.