Central’s Randall Molloseau and his hunting buddies named their 60-acre Upstate hunting tract “Tesoro Hunting Preserve.” The name is fitting. The word “tesoro” means “treasure,” and Molloseau certainly proved the place is a treasure on the morning of Good Friday, when he killed a rare silver phase turkey.
It’s a bird Molloseau knew was on his Pickens County property.
“I had seen it on trail cameras for several days leading up to turkey season, and I got my first glimpse of him myself on the Thursday evening before I shot him,” he said.
On that Thursday evening, Molloseau had seen several hens while sitting at one of his food plots, and heard a gobble far off. It was getting late, so he ran to the location of the gobbling, sat down, and made a few mouth calls. Looking in the direction of another, smaller food plot, he noticed the silver phase turkey making it’s way to the tree line.
Feeling sure the rare bird roosted there, Molloseau went back the next morning and set up two decoys – a hen and a jake – in the food plot that measures about 1/5th of an acre. He guessed right on his setup.
“As soon as I called at first light, that turkey came running toward the decoys. He was probably 10 feet away from me when I shot it,” said Molloseau, who shot the bird with a Mossberg 500-series 12-gauge shotgun.
The turkey weighed over 23 pounds, had an 8-inch beard, and 1 1/8-inch spurs.
Molloseau knew the bird was something special even before he shot it, but after having the turkey analyzed by two biologists and the NWTF’s head of research, he found out it was even more special than he thought.
“They confirmed it is a silver phase turkey, and what makes it even more rare is that it’s a gobbler. Almost 95% of all silver phase turkeys are females, with around 5% being males. It’s truly super rare, and I’m still excited about it,” he said.
To commemorate the rare bird, Molloseau is having a full mount made by Chip Hamilton of Hamilton Outfitters in Powdersville.
It is recessive genes that cause some turkeys to be silver phase birds, but Molloseau said a lot of credit for the healthy population of wildlife on his land goes to the way he and his hunting partners have managed their property with the advice of a land manager.
“We bought it 5 years ago, and it was nothing but trees. We saw little sign of deer or turkeys, but we put in some food plots, and have used products with lots of amino acids, organic feeds, and plenty of other nutritional supplements. We manage it hardcore when it comes to what we shoot, and all of that combined has given us this great place to hunt on such a small plot of land. We now have plenty of quality deer and turkeys,” he said.