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Illinois hunting and fishing

Tales from the Timber: gobbler gear

May 05, 2009 at 03:24 PM

Win CamoFlex

Prairie State Outdoors readers can win one of five CamoFlex systems we will be giving away in the next two months. To enter the drawing, submit a turkey hunting story and picture via e-mail to: Turkey Tales Stories can be about this season's hunt or any previous season. Our first two winners are Chad Mayfield of Brownstown and Brad Crisco of Elmwood.

The thrill of turkey hunting is enough to hook anyone.

But as an added bonus to hunting gobblers, turkeys offer a unique package of appendages for hunters to admire.

Most obvious is the beard, though spurs are also impressive and so is overall body weight.

And when it comes to beards, few hunters have seen one as long as that worn by the bird Joey Winters shot this season in White County. The second of two gobblers he shot earlier this spring had a 16-inch beard, weighed 27 pounds and 1.5-inch spurs. The beard length is a state record according to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s records and is 16th-longest reported in the country.

Winters was hunting with his friend Ronnie Wilson and Robert Prowell on a farm in White County. The report comes from Prowell.

“The next morning we decided to take a boat down the river and come in on the back side of the field where we heard the turkey’s the morning before. They were gobbling as we were setting up on the field edge I went with the same set up as the first morning my full-strut decoy and a hen. I started off calling very soft and the longbeard would cut me off. He started around behind us and I would crank the calling up a little harder. Finally he gobbled off to our left and close. I was set up behind Joey off his right shoulder.I finally saw him step out of the woods and when he seen the strutter decoy he ran straight to him looking for a fight but again Joey intervened and put the big bird on the ground.”

Prowell says the bird will rank as a state record for beard length and overall for typical bird. Below is Joey Winters with his bird. Ronnie and Robert are in the back.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Beyond the beard length comes the interesting possibility for a bird to have multiple beards. Bill Bender of Pinckneyville recently shot a Perry County gobbler that had four beards. The bird’s beards measured 8, 6, 5 and 4 inches long. The gobbler also weighed 22.5 pounds and had 1-inch spurs. Bender said his only other turkey kill was a jake.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Beyond that are the spurs. Big ones are limb hangers and that’s definitely true of the bird shot by Brian DeJaynes of Abingdon, whose bird is pictured below. His big gobbler weighed 26.2 pounds, had a 12.25-inch beard and 1.75-inch spurs.

Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting and fishing

EDITOR'S NOTE: Look for Tales from the Timber every Tuesday at Prairie State Outdoors.com.

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Congrats on a HOSS of a bird!

Posted by ICALL2MUCH on 05/06 at 09:26 AM

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