I first started hunting turkeys in the spring season of 2012. Prior to that, I had only shot at three pheasants, and missed. I had tagged along on many, many hunts for waterfowl, upland birds, and deer, but this would be my first season truly attempting to fill a tag. During the spring of 2012, I spent many early mornings and full days pursuing turkeys. I even had the opportunity to shoot at three big gobblers. Even though I had been great at target & skeet shooting, turkey fever seemed to get the best of me all season long! Each time I missed a gobbler, I felt utterly devastated. There were a few rides home in the truck that consisted of me crying and feeling terrible. How could these big, gnarly birds get me so worked up?
The next spring season rolled around and by that time, I had shot 25 birds including grouse, ducks, geese and one Hungarian partridge. The fall/winter had been good to me and I was determined and feeling very confident on finally getting a turkey! The spring of 2013 was a great one, but again, I came up empty handed. That season, I never even had the opportunity to shoot at one. What a bummer!!!!!
Fall turkey season came around again this year (2013), and honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about turkeys. I just shot my first deer this October, and have been very successful with grouse again. When my boyfriend, Chattan, who has been my hunting guide all along, suggested we try for some fall turkeys, I couldn’t help but want to try again. We got permission from a landowner and were able to do a spot and stalk on private land. We snuck up a small hill to peer into a draw where we thought they’d be, and sure enough, there were two nice gobblers. One for each of us! The lead gobbler started to run away, and Chattan told me to stand up and shoot him. Now was my chance. I took the shot and it was perfect. He was down! Chattan shot his immediately after. I was hollering for joy that we had both shot turkeys! It was my first one ever and his third. Words cannot explain my excitement after all the hard work and two unsuccessful spring seasons. My bird turned out to be a bit of a freak. He actually had SEVEN beards which totaled 32.5 inches in length. He weighed 18 lb 4 oz and had ¾” spurs. Through the NWTF website I entered the numbers and found out he scored 98.25. He was beautiful and came along just in time for Thanksgiving. I also shot a grouse on Thanksgiving day, which we threw in the pot, and so this was the first year where I have provided the meat for the holiday. What an unforgettable experience in Orofino, Idaho. - Julie Tibbets