He called a gobbler in for his dad in between
Michael Skipper of Fayetteville, N.C. killed a triple-bearded tom on North Carolina’s opening day of turkey season. He liked it so much, he decided to do it again the very next day. And he killed both triple-bearded gobblers about a mile apart in Cumberland County.
Skipper’s first kill took place on Fort Bragg’s public land. He killed the second bird on private hunt club land which borders that property. He’s killed almost 20 turkeys in his lifetime, but before this season, he’d never killed a multiple-bearded one.
“It still hasn’t sunk in exactly what I’ve done. I’ve killed…that was number 17 and 18. But I’ve never even (killed) a double-bearded turkey. And these two birds –– I killed them probably a mile apart,’ he said.
Skipper had no clue that either turkey had three beards until after he’d shot and recovered them.
On April 11, Skipper and his dad had some birds roosted, and they set up shop in range. Several toms gobbled at them from the roost. But once those birds flew down, they couldn’t coax any of them within range. They moved toward the gobblers, which stayed in contact with them. But hens ultimately spoiled the deal.
“Being henned up, they would answer but they wouldn’t come. About 10 o’clock in the morning, we started making our way to the truck, calling here and there on the way and see if we could strike one up,” Skipper said.
Plan finally comes together in late morning
As they made their way back to the truck, Skipper called. A gobbler answered right away. So they moved in closer and got set up. Once he called again, the turkey gobbled just on the other side of the hill. In just a few minutes, the bird came right to him in a full strut. Skipper shot it at 30 yards with his Mossberg 500.
“I could tell he had a good beard, but three beards — I had no clue. So I went over there to check him out. I saw he had three beards and I was just bugging out. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
More than satisfied with the hunt so far, they drove to a nearby piece of land to try and get Skipper’s dad a bird. That worked out for them too. His dad killed his own gobbler, this one with a 9-inch beard.
They decided they’d hunt again the next morning, this time at their hunt club that borders Fort Bragg’s hunting land. Unfortunately, his dad was called in to work, so Skipper went alone. Several gobblers responded to his early morning call. He picked what he thought to be the closest one and moved toward it.
Check out our podcast about Skipper’s gobblers.
“I got as close as I could to him while he was gobbling on the limb. I heard him fly down and he responded to some hens. So I started calling to him. He’d gobble, and then the hens started coming, looking for me,” he said.
Triple-bearded gobblers each weighed more than 20 pounds
The hens passed by him at about 40 yards, and the gobbler was behind them, strutting. Happy his Mossberg was equipped with a Carlson choke, Skipper sent a load of Winchester Longbeard XRs, drilling the gobbler.
“I went over there thinking nothing of it to see what I’ve got. I’m all excited. And I’ll be doggone if it weren’t another triple beard. I still just can’t hardly believe it,” he said.
The first tom weighed 20.5 pounds, had an 11-inch beard, a 9 1/2-inch beard, and a 9-inch beard. Its spurs measured 1 3/16 inches. The second bird weighed 21.8 pounds. Its main beard was 10 inches long, followed by two 5-inch beards. It carried 1-inch spurs.
Skipper said he’s thankful, and feels very blessed to have killed the two triple-bearded gobblers. And still can’t quite believe his luck.
“I’ve got them both drying out and every now and then I look at the six beards on two turkeys and I just say ‘man this is crazy.’” he said.