Hunting Memories

Three-Bearded Turkey

Because of a large dose of luck, and a only little skill of my own, I was able to harvest this unusual bird on the last Sunday of the spring turkey season in California.

I was hunting in the Coast Range with a good friend, and cousin, Russ Little. It was about 11:30 a.m. We had just finished our morning hunt and had met back at the truck. Russ had his bird; all I had was a sweaty back and sore feet.

When we split up at first light that morning, I had heard a bird gobble across the road. But my attention was directed toward the birds on the property we could hunt.

While we sitting under a tree and trying to decide if we wanted to call it a season, the gobbling across the road started again. I removed a push-pull call from my vest and without getting up, pointed it in the direction of the noise. I gave a couple of calls. The bird gobbled three or four more times, but was going away from us. The gobbling faded away to nothing. I put the call back in my pocket and went back to drinking my soda.

About a half-hour later, with thoughts of my "Things to-do list" at home only growing, we decided to call it a day. Off came the hat, headnet, gloves and vest. The shotgun was emptied and put back in the case. I had just finished loading the gear in the truck when it happened — loud, long, gobbles. Only now the bird was on our side of the road, and closing fast! After some quick scrambling for a set-up (including trying the first shot with the safety on) the bird was down and in the truck.

When I shot, all I could tell for sure was that it was a good bird. But after it was down, we found that it had three curly beards. The top one measured almost 4 1/4 inches, the second was 8 1/4 inches, and the third was 6 inches. I had heard of birds with multipile beards but this was my first.

Many thanks for a great web site, keep up the good work!
Ernie Rice

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