Zach Satterfield said it was common knowledge that a big gobbler with two beards lived on a farm he hunted in Rockingham County close to the Caswell County line. “He was seen during deer season for the last year or two, but nobody ever saw him during turkey season,” he said. But the big gobbler’s “taxes” came due on April 15, when he showed up 30 yards from the end of Satterfield’s shotgun barrel. Now, Satterfield, a 19-year-old Reidsville resident, has in his freezer one of the biggest turkeys ever taken in North Carolina.
The huge gobbler that collapsed when Satterfield hit him with a 3-inch Remington Nitro load of No. 4s weighed 24 ½ pounds, carried 1 ½-inch spurs and two beards that measured 11 and 10 inches. Some easy arithmetic gives the bird a score of 96 ½ points under the scoring scale used by the National Wild Turkey Federation to compare trophy birds, which should put it around 15th among North Carolina turkeys by weight and somewhere in the top 50 overall for birds with multiple beards.
Satterfield had the weather to thank for his good fortune. A 2014 high-school graduate, he works for a company that does contract work on power lines for companies like Duke Energy.
“We it rains, they won’t let us work,” he explained.
Late in the morning of April 15, it started raining, and Satterfield and Curtis Sales, a buddy from Brown Summit, were sent home.
“We got our gear, jumped in the truck and headed for the farm,” he said. “When we got there, I got out of the truck and started listening for crows. They’re my best friends during turkey season.”
Satterfield and Sales got on a logging road and headed through a block of woods.
“We’re going down the road, and about halfway to where we’re going, the crows started yelling, and I heard him gobble,” Satterfield said. “At the end of the road, there was a large wheat field on the left, then a little point in the middle, and a plowed field on the right. I knew he was in front of us.
“We set the decoys up – I had a Primos jake, and I had it out with a hen, and when I hit the first call, he gobbled. I didn’t even get set down good.”
Satterfield said the gobbler came in strutting and gobbling, a hen in tow. That’s when it got interesting.
“The hen started to cutt and go off across the plowed field. I was afraid he was gonna go off with her,” said Satterfield, who kept calling to the gobbler. That was enough to bring the bird on in.
“They came in on a bee-line, with him strutting like crazy,” he said. “At 30 yards, I couldn’t take it anymore. I cutt hard at him, and he stretched his neck up, and I shot him.”
The huge bird collapsed immediately.
“I knew he was ridiculous when he was coming, because he had a white head the size of a softball,” Satterfield said. “He was so big, he looked like a tame turkey. But I didn’t realize what I had until I’d killed him and got to looking at him. I didn’t pay any attention to them at first, then I saw he had two beards.
“I’ve never really called in a big bird before the first week of the season,” he said. “That’s when you usually call in a lot of 2-year-old birds. I don’t know why, but he was just raring to go that day.”