20-pound gobbler in Beaufort County

Hunter: Alan Meijer
Where: Beaufort County
When: May 6, 2021
What: Gobbler. 20lbs. 10″ beard. 1.5″ spurs
How (short story): Wary bird did not approach my set or the hens that did visit. Stalked to within 50 feet of him as he strutted in front of hens.

How (long story): It was the first time I had truly roosted a bird the night before. Until that week, I didn’t realize they had sometimes been roosting in that area. I figured the only way to hunt that spot was to intercept them on their daily travels past that spot. Got in really early. Stars only in the sky with Whip-poor-wills calling from field edge. Gobbler sounded off right on time and responded immediately to my occasional yelp. Just letting him know I was there. Finally, two hens walked into my setup and just past it, seemingly unalarmed. I was sure the gobbler would be close behind. However, he appeared about 300 feet away, crossed the canal, and did his work from a distance, beckoning those hens to join him. I was surprised and disappointed to see him eventually strut his way across the fields. I eventually gave up on that spot and drove around to the other end of the windrow he had disappeared behind. I peeked around the trees to see him strutting there in front of some hens. So, I took my slate call, turkey fan, and shotgun and started the half-mile walk down the opposite side of the windrow. I knew there was a spot near the end that I’d be able to see through – b/c I had sat there before. When I arrived, I saw he was still there. I proceeded to lightly and occasionally let out a little yelp or purr – again, just to let him know I was there and maybe an easier play than the hens he was working on.

I finally couldn’t take it any longer and belly-crawled the last 15 yards to the end of the windrow. When I looked up, I saw three hens, heads up, staring right at me! Busted, I thought it was over. But then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dark mass moving – the tom was still strutting and coming my way. I put my belly crawl into an awkward reverse direction, swung my feet into the ditch as I rolled onto my back, kept my fan up, and got the gun ready. I got my best view of a turkey in full strut in the morning sun as he came around the corner only 15 yards away. Let’s just say that the 3 1/2″ shell from my Remington 870 Supermag was beyond adequate!

Four of the five turkeys I’ve ever harvested have come from spot-and-stalks, with two of those being spot-and-stalks from the beginning. They certainly are a thrilling way to hunt although I very much enjoy quietly sitting and luring them into position as well.

–Alan Meijer

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