Clearing Up the Piebald Mystery

A few weeks ago on the Strut Zone, I wrote about my “piebald” turkey sighting from a few years back. I saw them one time before they vanished and have been wondering about them ever since. Were they wild turkeys or had they escaped from a someone’s pen? Check out this note from Strut Zoner Jeff McDaniel about his son’s once-in-a-lifetime trophy gobbler.

—Gerry Bethge

Joesilver Here’s a photograph of my son, Joe, and an unusual turkey he shot on May 6, 2006. I’d never seen one like it. I contacted the Illinois DNR. Paul Shelton who called it a silver color phase. He referred me to Dr. Michael Romano from Western Illinois University. He, too, concluded it to be a silver color phase. Scott Vance of the NWTF agreed stating that it’s distinctly different than the smokey-gray phase wild turkey. I also took the bird to the 2007 NWTF convention in Nashville. By all accounts, no one had ever seen another like it although some folks said it was nothing more than a tame bird shot on a farm. Even when presented with DNA documentation confirming that the silver bird was wild, some refused to believe it.

Well, ... the hunt itself was memory that I will cherish forever. My son, my hunting buddy, harvested a bird that has no comparison. I have only found one other photo of another that is close, while the NWTF states they knew of three.The one you saw would have been a grand, rare trophy.