Georgia Hunter Takes White Wild Turkey
Russ Chastain 04.04.19
A hunter in northwest Georgia recently took a wild turkey that was nearly all white, though the jury is still out on whether it’s truly an albino. Georgia Outdoor News (GON) reports the bird was taken on March 31, 2019 in Chattooga County by Les Hutchins of Flintstone, GA.
‘I’m 56 years old, and I’ve been on that farm since I was born,’ said Les. ‘I’ve been hunting turkeys on there since we had them, maybe 30 or 35 years, and I’ve never seen a solid white turkey there. This bird had a black beard, a little bit of color on its head, and its toe nails and spurs were white.’
The hunt began in a typical way for Les, who is familiar with local turkey routines due to three decades of experience. He hunkered in a small patch of pine trees and awaited the dawn.
‘I heard him gobble once in the tree when a crow flew over, and it shocked him,’ said Les. ‘The next time I heard him gobble 30 minutes later, he was on the ground and had moved closer to me.’
A flock of hens began to pour out of the trees and landed 25 feet off Les’s right shoulder. As Les watched the hens, he saw just beyond them the white gobbler, although he wasn’t sure it was a gobbler just yet.
‘When I first saw it, I thought a white trash bag had blown in there,’ said Les. ‘But when the hens hit the ground, I was looking at the hens and he went into full strut. He was 30 to 35 yards over my right shoulder. I was able to turn all the way around in that little patch of pines I was sitting in. The movement of the pines in the wind was the only way I didn’t spook them. That’s the only thing that saved me.’
His shot was true, and Les walked over to the bird and discovered it had about a 10-inch beard and 1-inch spurs, and appeared to weigh a little more than 20 pounds.
‘I was looking at him, and I was shocked. I called my son-in-law and told him he wasn’t going to believe it,’ said Les.
GON said the gobbler sits in a freezer awaiting examination by a biologist to determine whether it’s a wild albino bird, which is the rarest of the four color deviations from what’s considered a “normal” coloration for an eastern wild turkey: smoke phase, erythritic or red phase, melanistic or black phase, and albino.
All things considered, it seems likely that Les’s bird is indeed a true albino, but whatever the case, it certainly made for a turkey hunt he’s not likely to forget!