Did you know that if Ben Franklin had his way, we wouldn’t be hunting turkeys?
Old Ben wanted the North American turkey rather than the bald eagle to represent our country. Imagine a turkey at the top of our flag poles. Fortunately, he was outvoted, and that’s why, two weeks from today, I’ll be sitting in the woods or on the edge of a field with my two-decoy setup of Crazy Jake in full display for my old Henrietta hen.
I have been scouting — hopefully, so have you — checking my favorite turkey hunting spots and some new ones.
The toms are definitely chasing, and although I keep hearing about a declining turkey population, I don’t see anything different than my sightings last year.
There are six types of turkey in North America: Osceola, Merriam, Rio Grande and the Eastern, which we have. Mexico has Gould’s and Oscellated.
Having hunted all these birds, I still believe the Eastern is as much of a challenge as any of them.
According to National Wild Turkey Federation records, Roland Palmer’s 2002 Chenango County gobbler is the biggest on record taken in New York state.
On the overall list, it’s No. 26. His bird had seven beards, weighed 25.75 pounds and carried a pair of 1.4375-inch spurs and scored 160.6250.
If you want to score your turkey, here’s how the NWTF does it. Weigh your bird in pounds and ounces and all other measurements; beards and spurs, should be taken in one-sixteenth-inch increments, all converted to a decimal form. To get your total, measure, the spurs along the outside center, from the point at which the spur protrudes from the scaled leg skin to the tip. The total length of the two spurs is then multiplied by 10.
The beards are measured from the center point of the protrusion of the skin to the tip of the beard. Then multiply the total by two. Add all these together, and that is your turkey’s score.
If you’re interested in making any of the NWTF Slams, there are six. The Grand Slam can be done in the United States. The Royal Slam can only be accomplished in Mexico. To qualify for the Royal Slam, you must first have completed the Grand Slam. Then all that’s needed is the Gould’s. To qualify for the World Slam, you need the Grand, Royal and the Oscellated turkey from Mexico’s Campeche jungles.
The remaining slams are the Mexican, Canadian and the newest, the U.S. Super Slam. This requires taking a turkey in each of the 49 states. There are no turkeys in Alaska. For more information on scoring your birds and getting into the record book go to, www.nwtf.org. Should anyone be interested in any of these slams, drop me an email.
Earlier, I mentioned Crazy Jake. He’s a new remote turkey decoy by RedHead in Bass Pro Shops new series of remote decoys.
Our Eastern toms are smart and have seen decoys before, but this one is “alive” once you press the button on the remote control. Crazy Jake is 30 percent smaller than a mature tom and has a taxidermy quality head, four-inch beard, fabric jake fan, durable rubber body to survive tom attacks, photo-enhanced EVA wings and a three-quarter strut position that imitates the nervous actions of a jake.
Crazy Jake comes with strut state, two-prong metal stakes and a decoy bag that can also hold up to two hen decoys. BPS price is about $80 (www.-basspro.com),
Good luck next week, and don’t forget to send me your turkey tales.