3 Georgia Gobblers Added To All-Time Top-10 Lists

Birds with multiple beards highlight last season’s record-setting gobblers.

GON Staff | February 29, 2020

It’s tough to crack the Top-10 list for any of NWTF’s records for Georgia gobblers, so a year with three birds earning that honor is noteworthy.

Two southeast Georgia birds made the Top-10 of Georgia’s Best Overall Atypical rankings, including a new No. 4 atypical (multiple bearded) gobbler. Greg Harvey’s Bryan County gobbler had seven beards and a total score of 165.875. Other than the photos of the beards to the right, Greg’s pictures didn’t turn out, so we’re waiting on his mount to be done to do Greg’s story in an upcoming issue.

Spur length, beard length and weight are the measures the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) uses to score and rank gobblers. In addition to overall rankings, we also include rankings for the Top-10 all-time birds for each measurement.   

Another exceptional Georgia gobbler from last season was a nine-bearded bird from Montgomery County killed by Shanna Shuman.

Shanna Shuman with her nine-bearded Montgomery County gobbler, the No. 1 atypical gobbler ever taken by a female hunter in Georgia. It’s No. 10 on Georgia’s overall atypical rankings.

Shanna’s gobbler had more than 53 total inches of beard length and ranks No. 10 all-time on Georgia’s list of best atypical gobblers. It’s also the No. 1 atypical Georgia gobbler ever for a female hunter.

Shanna decided to go hunting last April on a Friday afternoon.

“After working all night Thursday, all I could think about were the gobblers I had been seeing for the last year or so. I knew I had to go every chance I got,” she said.

“I put my gobbler and hen decoy along the edge of the field about 30 yards and sat down against an oak tree and started to call using a WoodHaven glass slate and Primos box call. I remember saying to myself that I wasn’t going hear or see anything because it was so windy. But I sat there and continued to call, watching the decoys move in the wind.

Shanna’s gobbler had nine beards and 53.375 total inches of beard length.

“As I am sitting there calling, I hear a hen to my right in the woods. I continue to call, and she’s still answering back walking toward me. She comes within 10 to 15 yards of me and just starts looking around. For about five to eight minutes she did this, standing there calling. So I stopped calling and let her do all the work. After a couple of minutes she eventually turned and eased off back into the woods.

“After about 45 minutes of sitting there, my patience was starting to wear thin. I called two or three more times and still to this point have not seen or heard a gobbler. I was just before getting up to leave, and I just happened to turn around and look behind me back up toward my truck and there I saw two gobblers walking down the tree line. I knew I didn’t have much time to move and twist around the tree to get a shot before I would have been spotted. But somehow I managed to do so, but in a very uncomfortable position.

“There was a thick, low-hanging vine between me and the only gobbler I could get a shot at. I knew if I could get him on the other side of that vine that I could take him. After what felt like 30 minutes of waiting for the shot, I had my chance at this tom. Then there was the FLOP!”



The heaviest bird Georgia’s seen in a while was a Morgan County butterball from last season that weighed 25.35 pounds. Brian West killed the gobbler.

Brian West’s Morgan County gobbler weighed 25.35 pounds on certified scales, No. 14 on Georgia’s all-time list for heaviest birds.

“My dad, Bobby, my son, Sammy, and I had been after this bird all season,” Brian said. “We only hunted on the weekends, and he had been gobbling like crazy but gave us the slip every time. On into the season we noticed through our trail cameras that he had developed a regular feeding pattern on a nice clover patch.

“On this particular day, my dad and son hunted with me that morning but were unable to go back that evening. I set up on the clover patch, and after about an hour I heard hens cackling. I resisted the urge to call and just sat silent. He came in, and I was able to get a shot and bag this gobbler.

“I was getting ready to go to our barn to clean the bird when my nephew, David, called to congratulate me. David asked about his measurements, and I told him according to my scales he weighed 26 or 27 pounds. He suggested I take the bird and have him officially weighed. Had David not suggested having it officially weighed, I would have never known I had a record bird.”

When you kill an exceptional gobbler this season, make sure to contact GON. Email [email protected], or call (800) 438-4663.

NWTF Scoring Formula

To score a bird for consideration in NWTF’s records, you will need a measuring tape with 1/16th increments, access to a certified scale (for a bird weighing more than 22 pounds) and a witness. All measurements are taken in 1/16-inch increments and then converted to decimal form. Measure the total beard length and multiply it by two. Measure each spur and multiply that total by 10. Take those two totals and add them to the bird’s weight, converted to decimal form, to get the gobbler’s score. The measuring and weighing must be witnessed by an NWTF member or another hunter licensed in the state where the bird was taken. More information and the forms necessary for registering a turkey with NWTF can be found online at

Tim Knight’s Johnson County gobbler had three beards and an atypical score of 96.520 to rank No. 5 for Georgia atypical birds taken with a bow.

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