Phillip Vanderpool, an employee of Hunter’s Specialties, recently made his third trip to Lincoln County. Vanderpool is from Harrison, Ark., and is a National Pro Staff team member for Hunter’s Specialties. Hunter’s Specialties is a store that specializes in hunting equipment.
Vanderpool has been with the company for 13 years. The first five years with the company he spent subcontracting his video work to them. For the past eight years he has worked full-time for the company taping different hunts all over the country.
“I hunt and video for a living," Vanderpool said. I’m in charge of all cameras and video equipment. I train other team members and I also get to hunt in front of the camera."
Vanderpool’s television show is called Hunter’s Specialties Outdoors and is featured on the Outdoor channel.
In addition to the television show Vanderpool also produces two DVD series - Prime Time Bucks and Cuttin' and Struttin'. Each series produces a new DVD each year.
Vanderpool was in Lincoln County recently to hunt and tape a spring turkey hunt with Donovan Huehl of Arrowhead Wilderness Outfitters.
“The turkey hunt I just finished shooting will be out this time next year. It will be called Cuttin' and Struttin' 17,” Vanderpool explained.
Vanderpool became acquainted with Huehl through a mutual outfitter friend and they just hit it off.
“Donovan told me he had an operation down here and we got to talking. That was a while ago as this is my third year with him hunting turkeys in Lincoln County. I will be back this fall to go bow hunting for white tail,” Vanderpool said.
He went on to explain that his first two years turkey hunting in Lincoln County were both successful hunts and that’s why he’s back. He also appreciates the small town atmosphere and has had the opportunity to eat at several of the eating establishments in Lincoln.
“Being here makes me feel like I’m at home,” Vanderpool pointed out.
Vanderpool also appreciates the family atmosphere and mentioned how he has gotten to know the Huehl family.
“One of the things I like about Donovan is what he is doing with his son Sam. He is passing down the tradition of hunting to the next generation. Sam and his best friend Layne Wilton are already avid hunters and I hear they’ve both harvested turkeys and deer this past year. I think that’s great!
"I also get the opportunity to take a lot of kids hunting. Once I took a kid that was paralyzed. This was with an organization called Kids Hunting For a Cure. The only thing this young man was able to do was blow into a straw. We used a trigger mechanism that was connected to the straw and he blew into it to shoot the gun. He successfully harvested a turkey and that’s what it’s all about,” Vanderpool said.
Vanderpool’s latest turkey hunt in Lincoln County began in the early morning of May 23.
“We got up at the crack of dawn and had two gobblers sitting on the roost. They had hens with them and we were set up in a blind with decoys. That specific location didn’t work out, as the gobblers were gone before we had a chance to call them in. We left that spot and went to another spot where we knew there were turkeys there. As we drove by we saw gobblers strutting in the field. We decided to run and gun. The gobblers were still several hundred yards out. I set up with the bow and called to the gobblers. I called three hens within 10 yards of me. They didn’t see us and just hung around and then eased off. I started calling again. The two gobblers were up away from us with a single hen. When I was calling to those gobblers another gobbler behind us started gobbling and he actually came across the main road and through the patch of timber across the ditch just to get to us. As he was gobbling the other two gobblers heard him and they came in. The best part of this is that Donovan is videoing the entire thing. I’ve started training him to work with the camera.
"Anyway back to the hunt. I’m up against a group of trees. The two Tom turkeys come off the hill. The first one comes through and I draw my bow on him. The gobbler is approximately 30 yards from me and I miss it. Some tall grass deflected the arrow, when I shot it. The other turkeys are still following the first turkey after all of this! I start calling again at the gobble right in front of me. While I’m doing this I’m trying to put another arrow in and not have them see me. I get it ready and I pick the first gobbler out and at 36 yards I make the shot. The gobbler runs out of sight and we give him a little bit of time before we go get him. He weighed 21 and a half pounds. He had a 10 and a half inch beard and his spurs measure an inch and an eighth,” Vanderpool said with a grin.
“Normally when I hunt Kansas I say, ‘Once again in the Land of Oz Dorothy clicks her heels’. That’s exactly what happened here today for me in Lincoln County!” Vanderpool laughed.