SACRAMENTO — The general spring turkey season ended with plenty of birds being harvested all week long, and some real monsters finally showed up, too.
Bill Gaines, president of California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) managed a big gobbler with an 11.5-inch beard, and WON Field Reporter Vince Crudele shot his biggest tom of the season, a gobbler with a 10-inch beard and 1-1/8-inch spurs.
Father and son team Colton Lomanto and his Dad, Chris Lomanto got their first spring wild turkey on May 1 while hunting at a private Sonoma County ranch with guide Jon Watson. The Rio had a 6-inch beard and weighed about 18 pounds. Colton was shooting a Youth Model 870 Remington .20 gauge pump and Chris, a Benelli Vinci .12 gauge semi-auto. Two toms arrived within 20 yards and the strutter got walloped by Team Lomanto.
Ben Gibson of Santa Rosa whacked his Rio at 29 yards with a single shot using his .12 gauge Remington 870 pump with a 3-inch Remington Nitro Turkey No.4 shot at a private Sonoma County ranch in the a.m. of April 29. Ben's gobbler had a 9-inch beard, 1-inch spurs, and weighed about 22 pounds. The longbeard was lured in by a Zink High-Profile Hen decoy by guide Jon Watson, calling with a Quaker Boy box call and a K&H Ghost Hen diaphragm.
Brad Graham was hunting a private ranch in Healdsburg with his cousin, Chris Bertoli on April 30 and nailed a longbeard with a single shot from a Remington Model 870 .20 gauge at 32 yards. Chris lured the tom in with a "Billy White" box call and a "Preston Pittman" diaphragm. Brad's Rio had a 9.75-inch beard, 1-inch spurs, and weighed about 22 pounds.
Sean "Kool Whip" Jones was hunting a private Healdsburg ranch on Cinco de Mayo and nailed his gobbler at 30 yards with a single shot from his Benelli Nova .12 gauge with Kent No. 4 shot. Sean's Rio had a 10-inch beard, one ¾-inch spur (the other spur was broken off, probably from fighting), and weighed about 22 pounds. Chris Bertoli did the calling and lured the longbeard in to range.
Guide George Kammerer took Ross Peabody of West Sacrament out for his first turkey in the Yolo County flatlands. He got the nice fat jake with one shot in the lower neck from his classic 12 gauge Remington Model 58 at 20 yards. The impact of the full pattern was so dramatic the bird had two broken thigh bones when picked up with no apparent pellet wounds in either leg.
"Lightening Hands" Ed Cornelius shot his first wild turkey....a beautiful 9½-inch bearded dominant tom which strutted all the way in to a hen decoy at 39 yards on a private ranch in Solano County at 7:30 a.m. sharp on April 6. Ed dumped the big boss w a single 3-inch No. 4 blackcloud 12 gauge load just as the top of the bird's head was melting below the ridgeline after it spotted the hunters.
Turkey hunting continues until May 20 for junior licensed hunters and for those using archery gear.
YOLO TURKEY — Ross Peabody of West Sac shot his first turkey in the Yolo County flatlands with one shot in the lower neck from his classic 12-gauge Remington Model 58 at 20 yards. He was hunting with guide George Kammerer of On The Fly Guide Service.