Answer: During the 2022 Illinois turkey hunting season!
- 25-pound bird, 12-inch beard, double-triple spurs…UNREAL.
- Full camo shotgun, full camo boots and garb, 25-yards, aim, squeeze, shot – BANG…BIRD DOWN.
- A surreal moment after harvest, it will last me FOR ALL TIME.
By Dawn Redner, with Forrest Fisher
The Illinois turkey season was open and, honestly, I was itching to get out there. I had a craving for a wild turkey dinner, though as everyone knows, bagging a bird doesn’t happen every season. Hey, I’m an optimist!
We were hunting on our own property, which includes about 12 acres of native forest. There was something special about this day, though I wasn’t sure what it was. This time, though, I seemed more alert and more ready to hunt than usual.
Maybe it was because this time when I walked into our woods, I thanked the Lord that I can hunt with my husband, Wayne. Also deep in my prayers, I was thinking of my husband’s dad. Wayne’s dad was always so proud of me for being a girl/woman fisherwoman and huntress. He passed on in March 1993. We miss him.
As we approached the woods, I was careful to quietly load up my camo-color Remington 11-87. I slid the Winchester Double-X, 3-inch number 5s in and double-checked my safe. All good. Wayne had the turkey calls with him, we were set to trek in.
In 15 minutes or so, in the dark, we set up in a good-looking woodsy spot. After just a few minutes, a serious gobble echoed off to our left. It was quite a ways off. We looked at each other through our face masks and whispered to consider moving closer. We moved quietly in the direction of the gobble to close the distance. We got as close as we thought we could and set up in a deadfall. While we were moving, we heard him gobble a few more times. We were moving, so we did not call back to him. We thought it was the same bird, the live turkey yak-yak tone sounded similar to the first hearty gobble we had heard. Quietly, we cleared a little brush out of the way and sat down. Wayne gave him a few soft yelps with his Primos Razor Hooks with Bat Cut Mouth Diaphragm.
We got an immediate response! We waited a minute or two and called again.
We got another response, and he was much closer now.
He was on his way to us!
I lifted my Remington to rest on my knee and waited.
The few minutes felt like an hour as we waited, hoping to see him move into sight and range.
Then, just like that, there he was, only about 25 yards out. I gently slipped the safety off. In range now, I decided to take the shot, gently squeezing the trigger once. After the shot, I couldn’t see him anymore.
So I jumped up and ran to where I thought he should be, worried a bit.
Then, there he was! I had bagged him!
We high-5’d and hugged. Yes! The moment was fantastic!
After another look at the bird, it had funny-looking legs. We discovered he had all those extra spurs.
Three on one leg and two and a nub on the other leg.
He also had a very long beard and he was a pretty large bird.
Later, we measured the beard, it was 12-inches!
The weight scales really gave us an even bigger surprise, 25 pounds!
This was one big beautiful tree chicken.
One big beautiful memory.
I always wanted to get a Pope & Young just for my father-in-law, he might think this hunt came close to that. My husband does!
For me, this whole day will be unforgettable for a lifetime.
My Gear List:
- Gun: shotgun, Remington 11-87 Sportsman Camo 20 gauge
- Ammo: Number 5 Winchester Double X 3-inch
- Call: Primos Razor Hooks with Bat Cut Diaphragm Mouth Call
- Turkey Vest: Russell’s Outdoor- Mossy Oak
- Coat and Pants: Gander Mountain Tech 2.0 Mossy Oak
- Boots: Cabela’s Dry Plus Pac Boots 2000 gr