The turkey hunting world suffered a great loss last week with the passing of Billy McCoy. A longtime turkey hunter who I first met on a Missouri hunt years ago, McCoy was in tight with the crew at both Walker’s Game Ear and Quaker Boy Game Calls among others, and had done a lot of work over the years to teach a legion of new hunters how to call turkeys.
Billy died March 19 after a long battle with cancer. I last joined the former calling champion on a hunt in Alabama with Bob Walker and Paul Butski with Walker’s Game Ear. Though fighting the disease at the time, you would have never known it. Billy went after the turkeys as hard as any of us and relished every moment in the woods.
I stood amazed as he called a bird from way across a river right up to the opposite bank. We worked that bird for over an hour before deciding to give it a rest. I was on a short hunt that trip and had to leave that afternoon without getting a bird. But that didn’t matter. What I did get to do that day was share a special time with a great hunter who knew the end was drawing near. How he approached that dark horizon with humor, strength and the determination to keep enjoying each day was as strong as any lesson he ever gave on turkey hunting. We’re going to miss you Billy.