Branson Miller of Wilkesboro went trout fishing on the opening day of the season in Alleghany County, but it was what he did later that afternoon that will always stick out in his mind. Miller, 13-years-old, killed a rare color phase gobbler while hunting with his dad, Brian Miller.
Although the wings of the turkey are distinctly white, Brian Miller said it wasn’t very noticeable until his son had shot the bird and it was flapping around on the ground.
“We didn’t know it had those white wings until Branson was running to it. I hadn’t even noticed it yet when he yelled ‘look at his wings!’” he said.
It was the opening day of Youth Season, which coincided with the opening day of trout season, so the father-son team decided to participate in both activities. This put them in the woods around 3 p.m. in Piney Creek next to a Christmas Tree Farm.
“We had a set of Cherokee Sports inflatable decoys set up. It was a jake and a hen, and once the gobbler saw the decoys, he came right on in,” said Miller.
The teenager shot the tom with an NWTF model New England Firearms 20-gauge shotgun. It was the fourth turkey he’s ever killed, and the biggest. It sported a 9-inch beard and weighed 18 1/2-pounds.
Mark Hamby with Hamby’s Taxidermy in Ferguson is making Miller a mount which will include the turkey’s tail fan, wings, beard, and spurs.