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franklin county times

Record Book Gobbler Tops in the Nation?

By By Otha Barham / outdoors editor
July 19, 202
Former Meridianite Paul T. Brown of Brandon bagged a trophy wild turkey this past season. It currently is the highest scoring bird destined for the National Wild Turkey Federation's World Record Book that was taken in 2002. Brown called the bird into range in Texas County, Missouri in the south central part of that state.
Ironically, Brown shoots only a small percentage of wild turkey gobblers that he calls in. He is a nationally known wildlife photographer and outdoor writer, admired as one of the top photographers in Mississippi. Most birds he encounters are photographed as an integral part of his business, True Exposures Publishing, Inc., that publishes books of photography among other works.
Early action
Several hens flew down nearby and walked right into Brown's lap, so close that he could not continue calling to the gobbler. When they finally walked away, he resumed calling. The tom came close several times, but eventually moved out to 200 yards, probably lured by the many hens in the area.
After working the tom an hour and a half, Brown decided to go to the bird to the north that was still gobbling. He almost got too close when he topped a ridge and the bird gobbled just 40 yards away, fortunately behind a large cedar that looked like a giant Christmas tree. "I could hear him drumming I was so close," said Brown. "I slithered to the ground and called, expecting him to move to the opening on my right." Instead the bird walked left and moved away, gobbling intermittently. Brown got aggressive with cutts and loud yelps, but the bird kept going.
Return engagement
All was silent for 15 minutes and suddenly the old bird gobbled from right behind the Christmas tree. "I picked up a stick and raked the leaves, and then I clucked and purred," related Brown. No answer came. But shortly, the huge bird stepped to the right and clear of the tree. Because Brown likes to take only birds older than 2 years, he waited to get a good look at this tom's beard. Moments passed and finally the bird took another step that revealed a heavy, long beard and Brown made the shot.
With a composite score of 60 and one-sixteenth, Browns gobbler is likely to soon be declared the highest scoring bird taken in the country this year, number four in Missouri's all time record book and number nine or ten in the world record book.

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