Longtime Rim country hunter Bob Hill has bagged a wild Tom turkey he hopes will soon land him in the record books.
"I looked in the National Wild Turkey Federation books and it's the 16th (largest taken) in Arizona," he said.
The bird, the largest of six Hill has bagged in his hunting career, tipped the scales at 24 pounds, had an 11-inch beard and the spurs were 1 inch on each leg. The bird was also identified as Typical rather than A-typical, which means he had one beard and two spears. An A-typical bird has more than one beard and more than two spears. The bird is also of the Merriams species.
To enter the turkey in the record books, Hill must submit all that information to the NWTF which will plug the characteristics into a formula to calculate the number of points that will be awarded the turkey.
Hill believed the bird will earn enough points to be included in the record books.
His future plans also include filleting some mouth-watering turkey steaks from the breast of the bird and then taking it to a taxidermist for a full mount.
Hill remembers the chase for the wily old bird as a pursuit he'll never forget.
Before bagging him May 2, Hill said he patiently followed the elusive bird for four days around Unit 23 near Young. His patience, he said, was being tested by the survival instincts of the turkey. Finally, he spotted the turkey grazing in the distance and was able to call him into within 25 yards of where he was hiding. A single shot from his 12-gauge shot gun loaded with No. 4 shot dropped the turkey in its tracks.
While stalking the bird, Hill was hunting with his friend Vee Graham who also drew a turkey tag in the unit but has yet to fill it.
Hill's plans now are to try to help Graham down a turkey and then take a brief respite before returning to the field for the summer bear hunt.