7 Crucial Turkey Strategies From Jordan Summitt of Buck/Strut Commander
Spring turkey season is almost here for most of us. Whether you are in the south and you have already began your hunt for spring toms, or you are patiently waiting for the end of March/beginning of April in the Midwest, there is one thing we all have in common - we want to harvest a nice gobbler. And that is why we spoke with Jordan Summitt of Buck Commander.
Jordan Summitt began hunting turkeys very seriously over the last decade, leading him to his first single season Grand Slam several years ago. After harvesting countless of nice toms from all of the subspecies, we wanted to ask him some of our questions that we have contemplated in previous hunting seasons. But first, we want you to get to know Jordy of Buck Commander a little bit better.
Who is Jordan Summitt? Tell us about yourself.
“I started working back in 2006 as a cameraman and producer of the show Buck Commander. I spend the fall behind the lens but in the spring I love chasing turkeys. I’ve been a turkey hunter for a little over a decade now and I enjoy the camaraderie of the hunt with friends and family. Strut Commander has always been something I wanted to see happen, and I’m just blessed to be a part of it!”
When did you first start hunting?
“I didn’t grow up hunting. Some of my family members hunted but the times I would go, we’d deer hunt. And that meant sitting still, being cold and quiet and we never saw anything. Haha. But in high school and college I found myself loving to duck hunt. It was way more interactive and there was always action! As far as turkey hunting goes...my good friend Bo Dottley took me and Jep Robertson on our very first turkey hunt early in my career at Buck Commander - I quickly fell in love with turkey hunting. Most of what I’ve learned is from some of the best turkey hunters I know. My fellow cameraman and friend Mike Miller, “The Turkey Killer” as he was called, was obsessed with turkeys, and he was very good at not just hunting them but calling them too. Another hunter that took me under his wing was my friend, Lyle Sinkey. Lyle is just a natural woodsman, no matter what species he hunts, whether it be deer, fish, turkeys, or ducks - Lyle was successful when it came to the harvest. I learned so much from these two and I can’t express my gratitude enough for their guidance and knowledge over the years.”
Where is your favorite place to hunt?
“Missouri is probably my favorite. Texas is a close 2nd.”
What is your best piece of advice for someone who wants to start hunting?
“Be patient and stick with it. Every time you’re in the woods is an opportunity to learn something.”
Now that you know Jordan Summitt of Buck/Strut Commander a little bit better, we jumped into his passion - turkey hunting. As we previously stated, Jordan has become a very knowledgeable turkey hunter over the last decade. From completing his first single season Grand Slam several years ago, to helping the start of Strut Commander, he has some great advice for those wanting to harvest a spring gobbler, and we wanted to share with you what we found out. Here’s a look inside of our conversation:
What weather patterns/conditions/terrain do you consider “ideal” when you are turkey hunting?
“I love a clear morning with temps in the high 30s to low 40s, with a barometer reading around 30. They seem to gobble good on those days. But, if you are near fields, just after a rain is a great place to find turkeys trying to dry off and feed.”
You have one turkey call to use. Which one is it and why?
“A diaphragm call - a ghost cut. It’s hands free and I can be as loud as I need and just as quiet too.”
You can check out some of Strut Commander’s awesome calls by clicking here.
When should a hunter use a hen decoy vs. a gobbler decoy?
“I don’t use a decoy very often because I like to run and gun but when I do, I’ll use a Jake decoy or maybe even a gobbler decoy early in the season if they are still figuring out their pecking order. I’ll use a lone hen later in the season when most of the hens are nesting but there are a few stragglers that are still looking for love.”
What are your best tactics when setting up decoys?
“If I’m putting out a strutter with hen decoys, I will set up the strutter and hens in a triangle that way the turkey I’m hunting has to walk between the hens to approach the strutter decoy. I try to set up the decoys to the off side of where I think the bird will be approaching from, in hopes that his walking path will be in front of me.”
What is the most important thing to remember when selecting the correct turkey choke?
“Test different shot sizes and shells to find which combo patterns best with your choke and gun. I like a tight pattern out to 30-40 yards. My setup is a Benelli M2 -20 gauge- HeviShot HeviX Strut (#5, 6 tungsten blend) with a Kicks .560 choke.”
What is the best advice you could give when it comes to hunting the different subspecies of turkeys?
“The western (Rios and Merriam) birds seem to be more aggressive than the eastern. So gobbler decoys work great out there. The Eastern’s are my favorite to hunt but they can put the mind games on strong with you, especially if they have been pressured. Try to be patient with them. The Osceola is aggressive too but the one thing I tell hunters about them is they have a muffled gobble as in, they are much closer than you think. I am not sure if it’s the thick air and humidity down there in Florida or what, but if you think he’s 400 yards away, think again, he’s probably 200 or closer in reality.”
What are your best strategies for locating roosting sites before you set-up?
“Preseason scouting, if you are able to, does a lot! Get out a few weeks before season, and just listen for the birds. Once you’ve pinpointed where you think they are, you can go in mid day and check the roost site for a turkey sign. This will help you narrow it down. But if you aren't able to do it preseason, roosting birds the eve before the hunt can help. When I hunt a new place, it usually takes me a day or two to figure out the land and the birds. That is when I will usually do some mid day locating and use crow calls - I love a crow call, I use it more than anything. This is a great way to pinpoint turkeys without educating them or giving up your location!”
Now that you have a little bit more information about these birds, and some killer strategies from Jordan Summitt of Buck/Strut Commander, all you have to do is go out, and put in the work. Make sure to check the weather conditions on your HuntWise app Daily View the night before a hunt, because as Jordy says, “he loves a clear morning with temps in the high 30s to low 40s, with a barometer reading around 30. They seem to gobble good on those days.“
Make sure you connect with Jordan, and his fellow Buck/Strut Commander buddies to follow their upcoming seasons.
Buck Commander Instagram: @officialbuckcommander
Strut Commander Instagram: @officialstrutcommander
Jordan Summitt Instagram: @jordysummitt
Good luck hunters, and shoot straight.