Gilmer County Atypical Gobbler Scores 125
Andrew Curtis | May 5, 2023
Terry Fowler comes from a long line of serious hunters, and he has no intention of letting the passion stop with him. The 51-year-old father of three is teaching his kids what his father taught him. Born and raised in Gilmer County, Terry knows the north Georgia terrain well, spending most of his hunting time on public lands, just as his father, grandfather and great grandfather did. In fact, five generations of men in that family have killed exceptional bucks on nearby Cohutta WMA, a place known for some of the most rugged hunting in the state.
This year, Terry was invited to turkey hunt a private property in Gilmer County on a tract that had not been hunted in 10 years. On Friday, April 21, Terry went out for an afternoon to roost some turkeys and successfully heard several fly up. Optimistically, he went to bed to the sound of rain, knowing that the morning was projected to be clear. His 18-year-old son Larz would also be tagging along for the hunt.
“I love hunting the morning after a rain shower,” said Terry. “The leaves are quiet, and the birds are usually gobbling well.”
That next morning, April 22, however, was not starting out like he had hoped.
“We didn’t hear a single gobble,” said Terry. “I knew the birds were there because I had roosted them, but we never even heard them fly down. Nothing was responding to my calling.”
After setting up and calling off and on for a while, Terry decided to change sounds by using a different slate call, one that belonged to his late father.
“As soon as I tried that other slate, a gobbler cut me off. I told Larz to get ready because that turkey was coming. I called again, and two gobbled that time.”
The hunting duo watched as not two but four longbeards charged quickly into view toward the decoys with the fourth in full strut the entire time.
“I whispered to Larz to shoot the last one, but he thought that I was saying that there was a fifth turkey coming. He kept waiting and waiting, and I couldn’t figure out what he was waiting on,” said Terry.
The birds became suspicious and spooked, fleeing from the hunters. In the commotion, Larz fired on the closest turkey, which was not the targeted strutter.
“I ran up to the turkey, and as I stepped on his head, I noticed how thick the beard was. But then I realized that it was multiple beards.” Terry laughed, “Then, I saw the spurs. I knew they were inch and a half.”
Larz Fowler’s second turkey of his career was an incredible one. The four beards measured 8.5, 9, 9 and 10.5 inches and had solid spurs at 1.5 inches each. With a weight of 21-lbs., 11-ozs., the bird tallies an atypical score of 125.6875. If NWTF approves the above score, it would be the No. 40 best-ever atypical bird taken in Georgia.
“It was a special bird for many reasons,” Terry said. “Not only was it a big one for my son, but I called it in with my dad’s slate call, he came to my dad’s decoys, and my son shot it with my dad’s Mossberg 500 using my dad’s shells.” In a reflective tone, Terry then said, “It’s my time to give back. After all the people who took the time to take me out hunting and fishing and sharing what they know, now it’s my turn to do the same.”
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