Steve Hickoff is the Realtree Turkey Hunting Editor and Blogger. He’s been beaten by more birds than he can remember. Still he kills enough to eat well, and fool with beards, spurs and fans until the next season. Pennsylvania born and raised, Maine is his home base now. A full-time outdoor communicator with a couple university writing degrees, he chases spring gobblers and fall flocks around the country. It's "all turkeys, all the time" on the Realtree Turkey Blog.
Spring turkey season is winding down in the Northeast where hunters are trying to fill remaining tags. It's been in the books for weeks elsewhere around the country. Here at the Realtree Turkey Blog we're thinking back on the gobblers we killed over the past months and those we didn't.
We called this gobbler Bigfoot. The picture says it all. Nope, we didn't doctor it either. And that big hand in the photo? It's owned by my good buddy Mike Jordan who sizes up like an NFL linebacker.
We saw Bigfoot that first morning in Oklahoma, bringing up the rear of a loud-mouthed mob of Sooner State turkeys. He let the hens drag the two-year-old longbeards and jakes to us first. Bigfoot, he wasn't playing our silly game.
Bigfoot was one of the biggest turkeys I've ever seen. His full fan could've provided shade at a springtime weekend barbecue. It was that big and broad. Mike wanted him for his wall of Royal Slam turkey tails (Gould's, Eastern, Merriam's, Osceola and Rio Grande) to replace a smaller Rio gobbler fan by far.
We saw his big track next. In the woods.
"That must be him," I said.
"That has got to be him!" Mike countered.
"Would you look at the size of that thing!"
We were both a little speechless after that sighting.
During the week's hunt, I killed one longbeard from Bigfoot's monster flock, then three more came back to camp from that group (Jordan and our good buddy Gary Sefton got those birds). This left several dozen more turkeys in that gang, roughly a third of them gobblers.
No matter: All we could talk about was Bigfoot. The one that got away and all that. It was over a month ago and I'm still thinking about that longbeard.
You ever hunt a turkey that was unkillable? What name did you dub that bird? Did you finally put a tag on it? Let us know in the comments section below.
(Steve Hickoff photo/text)