81-year-old Carolina hunter kills 23-pound gobbler

Adam Harris and Aaron Honeycutt doubled up on these two toms on April 22 in Catawba County, N.C.

Big turkey sported 11-inch beard, 1 1/4-inch spurs

Adam Harris of Maiden, N.C. has been a deer hunter for many years, but he just recently took up turkey hunting. This has been a good season for him, and also for his hunting buddy, 81-year-old Aaron Honeycutt of Conover. The two hunters doubled-up in Catawba County on April 22 with both killing their biggest turkeys so far. That was after a warm-up hunt, in which Honeycutt called in the first turkey Harris had ever killed.

Before their first hunt, Honeycutt told Harris that he loves turkey hunting, but that he doesn’t feel comfortable going into the woods alone at his age. So the two teamed up to hunt a friend’s farm early one morning.

“On that first trip, Aaron called in eight turkeys. I’d never killed a turkey before, so it didn’t matter to me if it was a jake or a gobbler. I shot the first turkey of that group of eight, which was a jake with a 5-inch beard,” said Harris.

That hunt was just enough to get the hunting juices flowing for both. So they went again on Monday, April 22.

One hunt leads to another

“We met at 5 a.m. to go to a friend’s 78-acre farm. Now, Aaron being 81, he can only go so far without needing a break. Throughout the morning, we chased after four or five different turkeys, and he was getting a little tired,” said Harris.

They decided their best bet was two gobblers they’d seen following a hen in an open field. So they watched the trio for about 30 minutes. But those turkeys headed off onto the neighboring tract which the men didn’t have permission to hunt. They headed back to the truck, and discussed driving to a different spot in hopes of salvaging the day.

“Walking back to the truck and thanking God just for the chance to get out and hunt, we decided to go to a different property. It was still early. I should have taken a right out of my buddy’s property, but for some reason, I took a left. I figured I’d just go to the end of the road and turn around,” said Harris.

But was it a wrong turn, or was it fate?

“We got to the end of the road to turn around, and we looked down into the field and saw those three turkeys we thought had left the property. They were now headed back down to where we were earlier. We decided to go back and take another chance at them,” he said.

After a 30-minute walk, Harris and Honeycutt were back in place, and could see the trio of turkeys about 45 yards away. Honeycutt made a few clucks which did the trick.

“The hen led those two toms right to us. We doubled up. He shot one and I shot the other. You would have thought Aaron was 20-years-old again! After an awkward handshake — I thought we were high-fiving; he’s old-school and thought hand shake — we said a prayer to the good lord above. Then we both picked up the biggest turkeys we had ever seen,” said Harris.

Harris’ gobbler weighed 18.2 pounds, had a 10-inch beard, and 1 1/4-inch spurs. Honeycutt’s bird weighed 23 pounds, had an 11-inch beard, and 1 1/4-inch spurs.

Hunters often encourage each other to take a kid hunting. Harris agrees, but said we should all look for opportunities to take an elderly person hunting too.

Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1402 Articles
Brian Cope of Edisto Island, S.C., is a retired Air Force combat communications technician. He has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina and has been writing about the outdoors since 2006. He’s spent half his life hunting and fishing. The rest, he said, has been wasted.