A Summary Of The Season And Statistics of All Gobblers
Harvested During Our 2018 Season
2018 Spring Turkey Season - Better Than Expected
Last year's dry summer and fall gave us cause for concern. During the deer season in 2017, our hunters reported seeing some, but not an abundance of turkeys. Thankfully, by late January, the birds had drifted back to their regular winter stomping grounds. This has been their habit for decades. For a while there, it appeared they had changed their game plan.
The spring hunting in late March started off with a bang (no pun intended) when 17 birds were taken by the 9 hunters in camp. Although the following groups of hunters during April did mighty good, none of them could quite match that initial almost-200% success.
And we finished strong, too, when the final ten hunters of the season took 16 birds. But we tabulated three missed shots which cost the unlucky hunters a second tom.
Around about the middle of April, there were complaints of silent and/or absent gobblers. Despite everyone's best efforts, calling seemed to have little effect in enticing birds to come hither. Ed Ford, the Dexter, GA hunter with 130+ lifetime toms, remembers the legendary author Tom Kelly's admonition: "Each turkey season there will be a week when you might as well stay home and cut grass."
Once the Fat Lady sang at the tail end, and when statistics were finally compiled, we are quite proud of what our hunters got done. Here are some numbers to chew on:
1. We had a total of 42 hunters who collected a total of 66 birds. That is 1.57 Rios per hunter.
2. If you factor-in the missed shots which cost several hunters a second tom, that success number would move to 1.80 toms per hunter.
3. Of the 42 hunters: 28 took the camp limit of two birds; ten took one/each; and only four hunters went home with an empty cooler.
4. Of the sixty-six total birds taken, only three were jakes.
1. The oldest hunter was 80; the youngest was 10. 2. One was a female. 3. Several were trying to collect their first-ever Rio Grande gobbler. Only one failed to do so. 4. Hunters came from 15 different states. Tennessee sent 10; Georgia and Arkansas accounted for 8/each; two/each came from Texas and New Jersey. Other states represented were Wisconsin, Iowa, Louisiana, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida with one/each. 5. Repeat hunters and their guests comprised 65.9%. Brand-new hunters accounted for 34.1% of the 2018 crop.
Due to the poor hatch last year and the modest hatch back in 2016, most of the gobblers harvested seemed to be in the three-year-old range. We ran the numbers which showed these facts:
79% had spurs from 1" to 1 1/4"
11% had spurs 3/4" to 7/8"
6% had spurs 1 3/8" and longer
4% were jakes
McManus Camp Numbers
Two hunters took three birds. 150% success.
Best of the Year
Ed Ford, Dexter, GA
11 1/2 inches
Best Beard, 11 1/2"
Best Spurs: Raymond Hewitt, 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"
Boyd Williams, Sr. each spur 1 1/2"
Chris Barrett, each spur 1 1/2"
Ken Sasser 3 beards 23.25" total length Haines City, FL
Chris Barrett 4 beards 22.5 " total length Dover, TN