College Kid Shoots Record Turkey in Minnesota

College Kid Shoots Record Turkey in Minnesota Outdoor Life

College Kid’s First Turkey Sets Record

Emma Dearing waited eight years to shoot her first turkey, but it was worth it. Her tom is likely to become Minnesota’s top typical turkey ever taken.

Dearing’s gobbler is massive. Weighing 23.74 pounds, it had an 11.25-inch beard and spurs measuring 2 inches and 1 15/16 inches. The bird scored 86.25 when measured by National Wild Turkey Federation members Taylor Harmon and Neal Herrman.

Dearing, 19, hunted on a 40-acre private property in Central Minnesota’s Wright County. On May 22, at dawn, she was sitting with her back against a tree and a 12-gauge Remington 1187 on her lap, accompanied by her friend Jenassa Faith. Her brother Colin was doing the calling.

“Colin got some birds gobbling, and four jakes soon came in from behind us,” says Dearing, a sophomore at Minnesota State University. “I’m used to hunting out of a blind. When they came from behind, I moved too much and spooked them. I was mad because I’d have shot one of those jakes, as I had never taken a turkey before.”

But soon after, the biggest recorded tom ever shot in Minnesota appeared.

College Kid Shoots Record Turkey in Minnesota Outdoor Life

“He came in from behind, and Colin called him across a road and through a fence,” says Dearing. “He never gobbled close, but we heard him drumming, and then he ran right into our decoys.”

The giant tom ran by a hen decoy and was within range for Emma, but she didn’t want to shoot a moving bird. Eventually, it slowed near a jake decoy and struck the fake bird with its wings a couple of times.

See also  Exploring the Enchanting Michigan Woodcock

“I couldn’t shoot the gobbler because he was too close to the decoy, and my brother told me not to shoot because decoys are expensive,” Dearing says. “So I waited for the gobbler to move away from the decoy, and when it did, I shot it at 12 yards with a load of Federal No. 5s.”

The bird dropped on the spot, and Dearing, along with her companions, were ecstatic about her first tom. Little did they know it would likely be a new state record, surpassing the current NWTF record set in 2003.

“I’m fortunate that I didn’t shoot one of those four jakes,” says Dearing. “If I’d shot a jake, I never would have taken my tom, which will surely be the biggest gobbler of my life.”

Emma plans on having the turkey mounted by River Point Taxidermy, proudly displaying the bird’s impressive fan and giant spurs.