On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Mark Shirey was with his lovely wife Jordan Shirey when he killed a turkey that’s likely to go down in history as one of the top 5 turkeys in the National Wildlife Turkey Federation’s records for South Carolina.
“I’m still just blown away by the whole thing. I never would have expected to kill a bird like that. I was actually trying to help my wife kill a turkey because she’s so limited on time with the kids and all,” Mark told Carolina Sportsman.
The couple is from Norway, South Carolina, but was out hunting in Colleton County. They ventured out into the field around 3pm after it rained earlier that day and there were already turkeys running around in the open. Mark called them a few times but they didn’t respond.
Jordan kept her eye on the open field and Mark decided to turn around and look the other way into the woods. He said he did this because in the past, and in this specific spot, turkeys have been known to sneak up on them while they were watching the field.
Marked called out for the turkeys again and finally, he heard one of them call back. After a few minutes, he noticed three turkeys sneaking through the woods towards them. One of them was a large male and the other two were jakes (young males).
Mark said, “I tried to get Jordan to turn around so she could shoot it. But she was worried the movement would scare them away. She said she’d rather me shoot it.”
The large turkey broke away from the younger males and came running towards Mark and Jordan. He said it didn’t strut, gobble, or bow up like most gobblers do. When it got within 90 feet he pulled the trigger on his Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun and stopped the turkey dead in his tracks.
The beard on the turkey was noticeable from far away but it wasn’t until the couple walked over to check him out that they saw how many beards it had. His wife got excited when she noticed it had more beards than any turkey they’ve ever killed. They counted 11 beards!
It seemed so unreal to them. They never believed something like this could happen to them. The couple kept counting the beards over and over again thinking maybe they counted some beards twice. However, after several times of counting, they knew for sure they killed an 11-bearded turkey.
The beard sizes were in this order: 4 3/4 inches, 10 inches, 7 inches, 5 1/2 inches, 7 inches, 5 3/4 inches, 5 1/2 inches, 4 1/4 inches, 4 3/4 inches, 4 3/4 inches, and 1 1/2 inches.
The total length of the beards equaled out to 60 inches long. Mark and Jordan scored the bird at 155 but said they’re going to have it officially scored by a local chapter board member of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation.