Hunter takes double-bearded red phase gobbler in Amite County

Paul Saltaformaggio killed this unique red phase gobbler in Amite County on land owned by his father. The gobbler sported two beards and sharp spurs.
Paul Saltaformaggio killed this unique red phase gobbler in Amite County on land owned by his father. The gobbler sported two beards and sharp spurs.

Paul Saltaformaggio aka “Salty” from Watson, La., had been so busy working at the Exxon Mobil Refinery that he wasn’t able to go turkey hunting until Friday,  March 25. Even then he wasn’t going to be able to hunt early as he had to take his kids to school. He invited his dad to go with him, but his father told him that he’d take the children to school, so he could get an early start since he hadn’t been turkey hunting yet.

Saltaformaggio planned to make a hunt on his father’s Amite County property. Amazingly he harvested the most unique gobbler of his career early that morning. Though it didn’t come easy, Saltaformaggio’s gobbler was definitely a trophy as it was a rare red phase bird that weighed 18 pounds, sported 1 ⅛-inch spurs and had a double beard that was 10 ½ and 8 ¼ inches long!

Saltaformaggio had a specific spot to start out hunting, but when he got near the spot he couldn’t get across the creek crossing due to the high water from the recent flooding. Like it or not he had to change plans and go to another area.

“I heard a turkey gobbling in the middle of our hunting lease about 7:15 a.m.,” he said. “He was gobbling at everything that made a noise. I started calling to him and the next 10 to 15 minutes he answered everything I did, and it sounded like there were a couple of hens and a jake with him.”

Calling him in

After Saltaformaggio’s initial calling episode the gobbler went silent for 30 minutes.

“I finally called to him again and he answered me about 300 yards away and moving quickly,” he said. “I made another move and a crow called. He gobbled again about 150 yards from me, so I sat down. I called again and he gobbled from 75 yards away just over the hill and he was drumming seemingly forever.”

Saltaformaggio followed up with a soft yelp and the turkey belted out another voluminous gobble.

“He spit and drummed for what seemed like a long time, but it probably wasn’t that long in reality, but the tension was mounting,” Saltaformaggio said. “As he came over the crest of the ridge, I kept my sights on the kill zone until the gobbler was in the right spot and squeezed the trigger.”

Ka-Boom, roared his Benelli Super Black Eagle shotgun and the gobbler collapsed instantly.

But when he got to the turkey something didn’t look right. That’s when Saltaformaggio noticed the turkey had a double beard and was a red phase gobbler.

“I took him to the Amite County Taxidermy, and they said that they’d never seen one like him,” he said. “I killed him at 8:20 after an exciting hunt and I was using a Bo Thompson single sided Cedar/cherry box and it really did the trick. I also used a Woodhaven mouth call some and both were very productive.”

While Saltaformaggio had a long wait before he could go hunting it was definitely worth it with the harvest of a rare red phase gobbler sporting double beards. Not too many people can say that!

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About Michael O. Giles 372 Articles
Mike Giles of Meridian has been hunting and fishing Mississippi since 1965. He is an award-winning wildlife photographer, writer, seminar speaker and guide.

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