Devin Rice called in a crowd of gobblers to the area where he and two friends were hunting early in the Mississippi season, but it wasn’t until he switched calls that the birds got fired up.

“I had called in four gobblers and two jakes that came in from behind us to 15 yards,” said Rice, of Wesson. “We worked the group for about one and a half hours before being able to get the shots off at about 35 to 40 yards, all at once.

“The trick that seemed to get them to commit was a kee-kee run call. Once they hammered on that, I kept giving it to them over and over. It kept them hammering.”

With the gobbling and strutting, the three hunters, which included Rice, Kenny McLaughlin of Vicksburg and Aaron Weatherford of Fairhope, Ala., enjoyed the show, waiting for the precise moment all three would have shots on the separate birds.

“Once they started to commit to the kee-kee, I went to a feeding purr and added kee-kee now and again to make them hammer in our faces,” Rice said. “After about five or so minutes of them strutting in our faces and gobbling at just about anything, we had had about all we could take!

“The rest is memories and photos.”

Weatherford got the best of the deal, taking a trophy tom sporting two beards, 11 inches and 9½ inches, and inch-long spurs.

“Oddly enough, I had called up a gobbler for Aaron on the same Central Mississippi property last year that had triple beards,” Rice said. “That one had a 10½-inch beard and two 3½-inch beards.”

Rice’s bird had an 11-inch beard and inch-long spurs while McLaughlin’s gobbler sported a 10½-inch beard and 15/16s-inch spurs.

Mississippi’s spring season runs through May 1.

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