Not a Bad Day of Hunting
What do you do for an encore after bagging a Wyoming 4x4 whitetail scoring in the 130s in the morning? Easy. Go out and bag a new state record turkey in the afternoon.

That’s what Sundance, Wyoming hunter Wayne Pollat did at 2 p.m. on November 24 to top off “a hunting season I’ll never forget.” He took the 5-bearded, 23-pound plus gobbler on a ranch near Sundance.

“When I picked up the bird and realized it had five beards, I couldn’t believe it. It was great,” said Pollat, of the fiber-like growths that hang from a tom turkey’s chest that measured 10, 7.25, 7, 6.75 and 6 inches.

Combine the beards, weight and spur length, and Pollat’s bird tallied 119.4 points on a scoring system developed by the National Wild Turkey
Foundation. That makes it Number 1 in the Wyoming record program that was started in 1997. After his very successful deer hunt that morning, Pollat was alerted to the possible multi-bearded bird by his buddy Tuffy Peterson. Pollat, still packing his deer rifle, and Peterson sat on a ridge point and watched a “couple hundred” turkeys file by. When the bird in question showed up, Pollat put it in the history books from 75 yards.

The 25-year-old power-line construction worker has a passion for hunting spring turkeys, too, but it will be hard for him to top his 2003 hunting season. In addition to the November 24 event of big whitetail and biggest turkey, Pollat also harvested a 300-point bull elk by bow and arrow and 75-point antelope last season.

Pollat’s bird weighed 23 pounds 2 ounces with spurs measuring just over one inch. To score a turkey: add the weight, beard(s) length times two and spurs length times 10. If that totals 65 or more, the bird qualifies for the record turkey program.

The previous record of 113 points was a 20-pound, 7-bearded bird taken April 9, 2000 also in Crook County.

Turkey biologists believe the fiber-like growth from the base of the bird’s neck is one way turkeys visibly distinguish gender, although an occasional hen also produces a beard. The length may help define the pecking order in a flock, although beards seldom grow longer than 12 inches because they will drag on the ground.

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