Along with several friends and family members, Jacob Johnston of Traphill had spotted a white turkey on numerous occasions before the start of this year’s turkey season. It was always somewhat near his family’s plot of land, but he didn’t think he would be lucky enough to see it while hunting. Luckily on opening day, that’s exactly what happened.
“We had seen it several times over the past couple of months. It was usually with a small group of other gobblers, but it was the only white one. Every time we saw that bird, it was about 2 miles away from my family’s farm, so I didn’t really think I’d get the chance to shoot it,” said Johnston, a forestry student at Western Carolina University.
While scouting the evening before opening day, Johnston heard a turkey on the roost, and decided where he needed to sit the next morning.
“I had no idea it was the white turkey. I had roosted several turkeys in that same spot in the week or so leading up to the season, so I figured it was one of those,” he said.
“The hunt the next morning was a pretty textbook hunt. We got set up knowing there was a bird on the roost, we made just a couple of soft yelps to let him know where we were, did a fly-down call, and the turkey came right away. He was gobbling and we knew he was headed our way, but we couldn’t see him until he was already in range,” Johnston said.
Johnston shot the turkey at about 30 yards with a Remington 870. He said while the turkey’s body was solid white, it wasn’t a true albino.
“It had a black beard and dark eyes, so it wasn’t an albino, but the body was solid white. It looks like it has some gray in the photos, but that’s just dirt. I think it was about a 2-year-old bird. It weighed 18 pounds, had about a 9-inch beard, and 1-inch spurs,” Johnston said.
Johnston is having a full-body, half-strut mount made of the bird.
“I never thought I would get the chance to kill a turkey like that. I feel really lucky,” he said.