Heath Williams, of Augusta, killed two record-book turkeys on April 3 in Burke County.
Little did Heath know at the time, but some new property he got permission to hunt on just days before would lead not only to killing his first turkey in Georgia, but also to killing the No. 2 and No. 3 atypical turkeys in the state of Georgia. Currently those turkeys have been officially measured but are pending record status until officially approved by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).
“I got permission to turkey hunt this Burke County property Friday, April 1,” said Heath. “I planned to hunt this property Saturday morning hoping to have some luck.”
Once Saturday morning arrived, the wind was extremely bad. Heath heard four gobbles that morning. Three were off in the distance, and one was fairly close, but he could not do anything with him. That afternoon Heath went back around 2 and left at 3 because the wind was still very bad.
“I knew there were turkeys in the area and this was prime territory, so I decided to go back Sunday morning hoping the wind would lay down,” said Heath.
When Sunday morning arrived, Heath heard three birds gobbling but could not do anything with them.
“These birds were gobbling their absolute heads off, but I think they got henned up early,” said Heath. “These birds gobbled up until 8:30 until they hushed up. Every time they would gobble, it seemed like they were getting farther away.”
After having no luck, Heath decided to head home and go to church. After church, Heath spent his day shopping with his wife.
“Around 5, my wife said, ‘Let’s go turkey hunting,’ and of course I did not turn it down,” said Heath. “We ended up arriving at the property at 6.”
Heath and his wife sat down at the edge of a field and started calling. Twenty minutes into the hunt, Heath saw a gobbler come across a ridge. Once these birds got into plain sight for Heath and his wife, the biggest turkey started gobbling.
“All three of these turkeys were in a line running in,” said Heath. “Once these birds got 15 yards, I threw my gun up and shot the biggest gobbler. I heard my wife saying, ‘Shoot the other one.’ All of a sudden one of the other gobblers came out of the woods and tried to jump on the one I just shot, but I ended up shooting him before he could do so.”
Heath ran in excitement to check out the gobblers he just shot. At the time, Heath did not pay much attention to the beards until he looked closer and started to count multiple beards. Both of the gobbler he had just shot had multiple beards. The first gobbler had 10 beards, and the second one he killed had eight beards.
“Out of the 12 years I have been turkey hunting, I have never killed an atypical turkey,” said Heath. “After texting my buddies some pictures, they said I need to have those turkeys scored. My wife even said I need to have both of them mounted.”
When Heath got home, he measured all the beards. The biggest gobbler had more than 70 inches of beards, and the second bird had more than 60 inches of beards.
“After a few of my buddies figured it up, they said both birds could possibly place No. 2 and No. 3 for atypical turkeys ever killed in Georgia,” said Heath.
Heath contacted NWTF to see what needed to be done to get his birds scored. That call led him to Wilson’s Taxidermy in Langley, S.C.
The first turkey Heath killed came out with a final score of 185.25. Once processed with NWTF, this gobbler should place No. 2 atypical kill in Georgia and No. 8 in the world.
Heath’s second turkey scored 162.05 and will place No. 3 atypical for Georgia birds. Both birds had 1.25-inch spurs. All turkey records can be found on NWTF.org.
“This is one day I will never forget and was glad to spend it with my wife,” said Heath. “My granddaddy passed away recently, and I know he was looking down from Heaven smiling on this day. I will always think of these two gobblers as a last little gift from him.”