Parrish is Muhammad Ali of turkey hunting

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Nicknamed "The Greatest" Muhammad Ali is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, as well as one of the world's most famous individuals, renowned the world over for his boxing.

Chris Parrish of Centralia, Missouri, a wild turkey hunter for 27 years Chris has been turkey calling professionally on the turkey calling competition circuit since 1983. Chris has won 10 Grand National Turkey Calling Contests, six world titles, two U.S. Open titles and 10 Missouri State Championships. With that being said Chris Parrish from Knight and Hale Game Calls could be considered by many to be making his way to being one of the greatest callers of all time. But, he has a long way before he retires from the great sport of calling or hunting.

"The Fight of the Century"

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier that is the level and intensity turkey hunting takes when you get to hunt wild turkey with Chris Parrish. But, on a few days in May here in Missouri it was Chris Parrish vs. Missouri Gobblers.

First day here in Northern Missouri the day after roosting some very visible and high-pressured gobblers, we set up on tree line near the area where the gobblers had roosted.

As the sun rises on the Missouri Oaks we had over 13 gobblers within 400 yards of our location, with even a few close enough on the roost to here them spit and drum while sitting on the limb.

With the patience of an oyster Chris picks his moment to call. With hens basically flying off the roost just over our head, The first Missouri gobbler flies off the roost thru a tree line in the middle of a field on the other side, the gobbler is well out of range, but with calling from Chris the gobbler that the gobbler could not resist, has now come within 60 yards with guns up and ready. But, one thing any turkey hunter finds hard to beat is hens calling and visible within yards of the gobbler he is calling. As the hens drag off the first gobbler, round one comes to an end.

But, a second gobbler just now getting fired up and comes off the roost and comes so close just over a rise to our location that I can hear him spit and drum along with hearing the leaves drag as he struts. But again hens within the woods drag him off in the other direction; round two comes to an end.

Thru out the day we go thru 13 more rounds of being able to hear the gobbler spitting and drumming just out of sight because of the terrain or habitat. At 1:00 p.m. we are walking back to the truck with gobblers still gobbling.

Just like Ali and Frazier first meeting, at Madison Square Garden in 1971, after 15 rounds these Missouri gobblers went away the winner. This is just one example that even the best callers and hunters when hunting turkeys are just playing the game and the turkeys are making the rules.

"The Rumble in the Jungle"

Just like fighters taunting each other at every opportunity, these Missouri gobblers on the third day in a row would go out into the field and strut with the hens for most of the afternoon.

With four hunters with binoculars watching them work their way to the same tree line and going to roost a plan of attack was mapped out for the morning.

This time setting up on the tree line in the field with the hens, we could here a few rumbles in the very far distances of other hunters taking a shot and more than likely a harvest of a Missouri gobbler.

But unlike the Ali taking a 12 round decision over Frazier in 1974 this time we would come up short as these gobblers would set up shop in this patch of woods responding to Chris's calling that can only make you smile just to listen to, but the gobblers throughout the day would never break that 50 yard mark without visually seeing a hen moving.

This would be the last day that I would be able to hunt with Chris, but the story did not end their. As I left that afternoon the same to Missouri gobblers again out in the middle of the field taunting every hunter for the next morning hunt.

"Thrilla in Manila"

Even if we are not in a foreign country these gobblers of Missouri will make you question your abilities as a turkey hunter.

Even thought on the third morning these two Missouri gobblers did a little "Rope-a-dope" and shutting their gobbling down completely. Chris along with two other hunters after 14 rounds of fighting other gobblers, came thru in the last minutes of the last day of this hunt.

Chris also came thru taking a nice Missouri Gobbler, 22.5 lbs, 9" beard 1" spurs.

The one thing I will take away from hunting with Chris Parrish is just walking along out in the Missouri turkey woods and listening to him call. As I said, multiple times during the hunt under my mask I had a smile on my face, because his calling is one of the greatest of all time to listen to.

I would like thank the National Wild Turkey Federation and Winchester Ammunition for hosting this hunt.

Hope to see you in the woods or on the water. Horntagger.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: