Bo Brown had little choice, the way he had it figured, but to lift up his shotgun, aim and fire at the gobbler.
“This was not a shot I would normally take, I assure of you, but in that situation, I did,” he said. “It’s kind of like a ‘speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace’ type of thing. I didn’t have time to think, I just did it.”
What Brown did Sunday morning was send three 2-ounce rounds of No. 4 shot from his Remington 1100 through the woods at a tom turkey that his hunting party had run into in the woods of Copiah County.
“Probably 50 to 60 yards, maybe further,” Brown said. “Like I said, not a shot I’d normally take, but this was not a normal situation.”
This was no run-of-the-mill gobbler either. It was mostly white.
It was also big, about 20 pounds, and was sporting a big beard, and, as Brown would later learn, it had long, sharp, hooked spurs measuring 1¼ and 1 3/16 inches.
A trophy gobbler by any definition, the bird was simply beautiful.
“My buddy told me, ‘dude, you got a trophy bird there, and it’s white to boot’ and he’s right,” Brown said. “I am very lucky, very fortunate to have killed this bird, and it’s only my second gobbler.”
The story behind the bird is a good one, too. A native of Copiah County, Brown now lives in Magnolia in Amite County and is having one heck of a year.
“So far, I’ve had a son (Jan. 9), started a great new job (Jan. 15), bought a new house (Feb. 23) and now this bird,” Brown said. “I have truly been blessed.”
An avid turkey hunter, he landed an invitation to hunt the private property in his native county by doing good deeds during deer season.
“I have a great blood-trailing dog and these guys at this property called me several times during the season to help them trail deer,” Brown said. “I love doing it, and I do it for free. They always offer to give me something but I always turn it down.
“One time this past winter, I was helping them trail a deer and we ran into a big group of turkeys in a field. I told them they must have fun during turkey season and one of them said that ‘no, we don’t turkey hunt.’ He told me I was welcomed to hunt there if I wanted to, and then this other guy said, ‘you ought to see this other food plot, it’s got white turkeys in it.’”
This was an offer Brown couldn’t refuse, and last week, he decided to try it out.
“A friend and I went up there Friday and got on a couple of gobblers but we couldn’t close the deal,” he said. “Then I decided to let it rest on Saturday and my wife Kristi and I went on Sunday morning. The landowner said he wanted to join us so we all three went.”
The trio failed to raise a gobble with pre-dawn owl hoots in one spot.
“Not a peep, so I decided to go to a field where I had seen a gobbler at 10 a.m. alone on Friday,” Brown said. “We went over there and I positioned everyone and tried some soft calls and still couldn’t get a peep. What I didn’t know was that I had positioned the landowner close to if not under some of the birds on the roost. When they flew down, he texted me to say they went the other way. They may have heard him; I don’t know.
“We kept texting back and forth and decided that the birds had flown in the direction of two food plots that had an old dirt road connecting to them. We gathered and decided to follow that road, staying off in the edge of the woods to go to the food plots. We didn’t make it.”
The road led from one ridge to another, and it was by coincidence that at the same moment the trio of hunters fell off one ridge along the road, a group of turkeys dropped off the other ridge. They were talking right at each other, and, at about 50 yards, they met.
“All of a sudden, there they were,” Brown said. “I saw that big white bird, and realized it was a gobbler. I could see his beard (black). Of course, he turned immediately and he had some wheels. He took off running straight away and I threw the gun up and let all three shots go.”
The big white bird rolled and hit the ground and started flopping.
“I’ve only killed one other gobbler but I’ve hunted a lot and watched a lot of hunts on TV, and I’ve always been told and I’ve always seen that when you shoot a turkey and knock it down, you run straight to it,” he said. “You have to get on it, I was told, or it could get away.”
And Brown didn’t what this great white gobbler to be his Moby Dick, so he took off running.
“Good thing, too, because by the time I got to him he was getting things back together, trying to get his feet under him,” he said. “I sort of tackled him. It was quite a wrestling match going on. I thought that I if I could just control his legs I could end this, but I regretted that idea very quickly. That’s when I first found out about his long, sharp spurs. Stabbed me right in the palm of my hand and it hurt. That’s when I decided to take a different angle.
“I stood up and sort of straddled him. I must have looked like I was in a rodeo riding either a bucking bronco or a bull. It had to be funny looking, but I was able to get control of him, get his head on the ground and using the butt of my shotgun, I was able to kill him.”
Only then did Brown know how lucky he was.
“It was so amazing,” he said. “I know that people are going to say I shouldn’t have taken that long shot. I didn’t call this bird in; I’m not going to lie to you. But I got him.”
The bird is being shipped to a taxidermist for a full body mount with one request.
“I asked that he check and see if he can find any of the No. 4 shots in the bird,” Brown said. “I may have just knocked him silly.”