This bearded hen has a rope as big as most full grown gobblers!
Any time you can shoot a bearded hen, it becomes an immediate trophy. It is especially significant when the bearded hen likely breaks the National Wild Turkey Federation’s record for North Carolina!
The lucky hunter, Josh Pruitt of Reidsville, had seen the hen before during the 2014 season and the summer of 2015, but had never had a shot until the 2016 season. The hen sported a 9 1/2-inch beard and weighed a mere 10 pounds and 7 ounces. The Rockingham county bird scored 29.42 points under the NWTF’s scoring system.
The 28-year-old disguised himself in the blowdowns just before daylight and called some jakes off their roost nearby. After the jakes flew down to a food plot, he noticed a bird still up in the trees around 7:15 a.m.
“I could see a nice beard, but something looked different,” Pruitt said. The turkey eventually flew down towards the food plot.
“I’ve seen bearded hens, and I’ve killed one in the past, and usually, they have real spindly, scraggly beards, ” Pruitt said.” This one was thick, like a rope.”
Pruitt softly called to the hen with a few purrs and clucks from a diaphragm call he designed himself. The hen started heading his way and made it to 10 yards when he blasted her with a No. 6 shot from a 3 1/2-inch Long Beard XRS with his 12-gauge Mossberg 835 Ultra Mag.
The previous state record was a Lake Waccamaw hen taken in 2013 that had a 9 1/4-inch beard and scored 28.09 points.
In order to have it officially scored, Pruitt called Fred Cox of Reidsville and told him, “if he would come do that for me, I’d give him one of the wing bones from this turkey for him to make calls from.”