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A Sportsman's Tale: A first turkey to remember

From Michael Slomba

My daughter, Rhianna Slomba, a sixth-grader at JFK Middle School in Cheektowaga, just turned 12 this past January and was excited to go on her very first hunt after taking her safety course.
We went to Rushford on April 22 and nothing! Not even a cluck.

So we went to property I lease in Perrysburg on that Sunday. As we were walking in at 5:30 a.m. it was like the woods came alive with turkeys gobbling what seemed like everywhere. Her eyes were wide open with the biggest smile on her face. We rushed to the field and set up the blind and decoys, two hens and a jake.

It wasn’t long before a couple hens came out across the field from our setup (about 225 yards). Then four gobblers followed. We soft called and they strutted back and forth slowly getting closer.
It took 1.5 hours to get to shooting range. She had to make sure one broke out from the bunch, and at 7:10 she dropped the biggest tom I have ever seen at 45 yards with a 12-gauge Remington 1187.

There were three of us in the blind, us and my good friend Jeff Bartel, as he is a much more avid turkey hunter/caller.

After the hunt he was talking to some friends who suggested we get it officially scored. So Rhianna and I took a ride to Sinclairville, where we found out he was 24.71 pounds with an 11.25-inch beard and spurs of 1-3/32 and 1-2/32 inches. It scored 68.625, which I am told is the 58th biggest turkey ever taken in New York by a youth hunter.

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