‘Stillhunter’ and Neems win turkey photo and video contest
Rhyan Thompson chose this light-colored rock to display his gobbler
Readers had a month to enter and three days to vote for their favorites. Thompson’s photo of a big gobbler on a boulder was voted the top photo, while Neems’ video of two toms being harvested was the most-shared and viewed video.
Each won a year’s subscription to North Carolina Sportsman and a $25 coupon to the Sportsman Outdoor Store.
Thompson had been going to the farm that he hunts in Rockingham County on Saturdays leading up to turkey season to scout for gobblers.
“I determined which ridge he was hanging around on, and then I used a Bushnell Trail Cam to document just when he liked to be at a certain spot,” said Thompson, who tried to roost the bird the night before Opening Day but heard no gobbles in a steady rain.
The morning the season opened was foggy and damp, and the boss gobbler sounded off at 6:15 a.m., roughly 125 yards away from Thompson in hilly terrain.
“I called to him with a Cane Creek mouth call, and at 6:30 he flew down and gobbled again,” Thompson said. “I gave another soft yelp (and) he gobbled again, but I could not see him at all because of a knoll between us. So I quit calling, and that’s when the bird came on in.”
The first thing Thompson saw was the fan of the 21-pound turkey in full strut as it crested the knoll. When the gobblers’ red wattles came into view, Thompson fired from 45 yards, killing the gobbler cleanly. Thompson’s father was with him and assisted in making the winning photo, which shows off the turkey’s 11-1/4-inch beard and 1-1/4-inch spurs on a rocky outcrop where they were hunting. Click here to view the full turkey contest photo gallery.
Neems and buddy Trent Frazier were hunting together when they made their “Double Trouble” entry for the video contest, shot using an I-Cam Extreme glasses video camera. They had been hunting in Orange County on a Monday morning without success until they set up in a new spot at 11 a.m. Two toms answered their Cody slate calls. Luckily the turkeys died shortly before the camera batteries did!
“There was two toms coming in, and I shot first, laying out my bird from 40 yards away,” Neems said. “The second bird jumped straight up and started to leave when I hit it with some yelping just using my mouth, and I could hear Trent saying ‘Sit still! Sit still!’ – even though I was running on pure adrenaline at that point. Then Trent shot his bird about 45 yards away, and we celebrated.”
Neems considers the hunt to be a true twin-killing since the turkeys were killed on the same set-up and not at two separate times. He had killed two with two gunners once before, five years ago while hunting with his brother, and he was beginning to wonder if that scenario would ever happen again. Now he has another grand turkey hunting memory to try to top.
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