Record Book 8-Bearded Turkey Taken In Georgia

A turkey hunter from Ware County took two birds with one shot—one was a record book gobbler
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Georgia's 8-bearded gobbler.

Joey Wildes of Ware County, Georgia downed two mature longbeards with one shot, and one of those heavy bird sported 8 different beards, plus impressively long spurs. Tallying the beard lengths, spur measurements, and weight should make the tom the 5th best bird ever killed in Georgia according to the National Wild Turkey Federation measuring system, reports Georgia Outdoor News.

Wildes and his wife had been quarantined for 10 days following a COVID illness, so Wildes was anxious to get outdoors. Feeling better from the COVID bout he decided to go turkey hunting at his hunting club near the Satilla River.

A friend suggested Wildes try an area he wasn’t too familiar with, and after sitting and calling at a couple locations he finally got an answer from a gobbler.

He and the bird called back and forth for a time, and finally Wildes decided to back away from the tom and call again. The bird answered “hot” and Wildes returned to his first calling location. The bird was in a low area and Wildes belly crawled toward it, discovering a creek slough that prevented the tom from coming to him.

Wildes called to the bird again, and it immediately answered, moving closer to him so he readied his shotgun.

To his surprise there were two big toms, and when they neared the slough less than 40 yards away Wildes waited until their heads were close and he shot. Both birds folded.

Wildes had to swim across the slough to collect the gobblers, the largest of which had 8 beards. They measured 10 2/8-, 7 6/8-, 6 4/8-, 7 4/8-, 4 6/8-, 7 3/8-, 6- and 5 2/8-inches. The 20-pound, 12.6-ounce tom has spurs measuring 1 ½- and 1 3/8- inches. The NWTF total score is 160.25.