This is the bird of a lifetime, maybe bird of the century: a young Pennsylvania hunter just sealed the deal on the third largest tom ever.
There is something special about hunting with your father. But when you kill a bird that an experienced die-hard turkey hunter has only dreamed of with your dad, that is something that will forever be engraved in your memory.
Tyler Blake Mumpower, an 11 year old youngster from Pennsylvania, harvested an absolute beast of a turkey on April 22, 2017 in Adams County, and the bird is starting to make headlines. The 22-pound tom was not your typical tom, but rather a mature bird sporting 13 beards! Yes, you read correctly and that is not a typo. 13 beards!
And as you can clearly see, these weren't 13 tiny debatable beards that only consisted of a few strands that were an inch long, but 13 very distinct beards. And I hate to break it to Tyler, but that is a bird that he most likely will never top or even see again in the many years of hunting that surely lie ahead. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that he is now in the record books.
With the longest beard being 10 inches long, the total of the 13 beard lengths together was a whopping and incredible length of 78.975 inches long. Think about that for a second... most hunters don't even get there with eight birds!
So, a bird this size, where does it fall in the record books? Well, it is officially scored and placed in the NWTF records now and is currently sitting at #3 for all time in the Eastern species category as you can see here. The scoring sheet breakdown is pictured below.
Pretty astonishing bird to say the least. Tyler has a lot to brag about for sure. On top of the scores above, this tom has the largest number of beards for an Eastern ever, it is the Pennsylvania state record, and he got to enjoy the whole experience with his father.
Which brings us to the hunt. Three days before his 12th birthday, Tyler's father Rodney woke him up bright an early to head to the woods with his Mossberg 500 Bantam 20 gauge, but little did they know they would come back with the best early birthday present ever.
After a wild misty morning underneath an overcast sky, Tyler and Rodney pulled off a hunt they will never forget with a trophy of a lifetime. But that didn't happen until after a few mistakes, a missed tom, and a few learned turkey lessons for the young man. But lucky for him, the missed bird early on in the morning and the few mistakes was what allowed him to get a crack at this one.
Funny thing is though, neither Tyler nor his father quite new what they had when Tyler pulled the trigger. With the bird flopping, Rodney encouraged Tyler to take another shot and finish the bird off. After walking up and seeing the bird, it was then when Rodney knew they had a great tom down.
Rodney went on to tell me.
I yelled at Tyler get over here you killed a dandy with about 4 beards. The smile and grin I will never forget as he gave me a great big hug. We took our pictures and had our friends take pictures of Tyler and I, still not realizing the turkey had 13 beards. I texted a picture to my neighbor and he sent to a relative in which he met me at my house. That is when we counted the 13 beards and he said you have something special. So I got Tyler and headed to the taxidermist. Everything has really been crazy since then.
And I am sure crazy is the right word. With a turkey like that, you are sure to garner some attention. But, I don't think that is even the best or most important part of this whole story. Rather, the comment from above in which Rodney said, "The smile and grin I will never forget as he gave me a great big hug."
I can guarantee Tyler is now hooked on turkey hunting for the rest of his life. Rodney has blessed his boy and himself with a memory and hunt that will be cherished and last a lot longer than the full body mount of this incredible turkey ever will. Rodney has introduced a kid to the outdoors, which is the ultimate gift.
Just like myself with my father, I am forever grateful to have a father who introduced me to the outdoors and someday when Tyler is all grown up and can look back on hunts like this, I am sure he will feel the same.
Congrats on a great bird and kudos to a father for taking his kid hunting. But, newsflash to Tyler, you don't kill birds with more beards than your age most of the time. Prepare yourself because turkey hunts don't end like this very often... or ever... except for this one.