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  • Turkey Hunt Triple Play

    Bishopville's Kyle McCutchen is an avid turkey hunter, but what he loves most about the sport is calling turkeys in for other hunters. Most of the turkeys he has harvested have been while more than one gobbler shows up while he's calling for a friend or family member that he wants to double up with. He has doubled with his dad on several occasions, but never with his granddad, who had yet to kill his first turkey. That changed this past weekend as Dickie McCutchen of Bishopville killed a 19-pound tom with a 10-inch beard and 1-1/4 inch spurs.

    While scouting before opening day this year, McCutchen located three big toms together, and decided a triple with his dad and granddad would be a great way to start the season. Heavy rain and wind that day kept things from going as planned. With fears that other people educated those three birds during opening week, McCutchen decided to call in a turkey--any turkey--for his granddad this past weekend.

    'I know where five jakes are roosting, so I'm taking Poppa there to get his first bird,' McCutchen said early that morning at the McCutchen Hunt Club while other club members discussed where to hunt. At 74-years old and in a family of renowned turkey hunters, Dickie McCutchen wasn't picky. Things went better than planned this time.

    'It was still dark, and I had Poppa set up on the ground. I was setting up the decoys and I heard a gobble about 150 yards away, followed by several other gobbles in nearby trees. I knew I was either busted, or this was going to be a quick hunt,' said McCutchen.

    McCutchen sat next to his granddad and let things settle down before calling. When he did call, he was answered immediately. 'Every time I called I was answered by multiple turkeys. I had observed 5 jakes there over the past week, and I didn't think there was a longbeard in the area, but I started thinking otherwise because one call was so distinct from the others,' said McCutchen. 'Just before it got light, that one double gobbled, and I knew he was coming once he flew down.'

    McCutchen flapped his hat around on the ground and the bushes to simulate a fly-down, and that was the last straw for the big gobbler in the tree. 'Before I got my hat back on my head, that gobbler clucked and flew down. I saw him in a full strut and told Poppa it was a big tom, then I called again, and that's when he came running,' said McCutchen, who had a better view of it all than his granddad. 'I had to keep telling him to get his gun up because that turkey was coming fast,' he said. Five jakes ran in close behind the longbeard.

    'The tom ran straight past the hen decoy to face off with the jake decoy, and that's when Poppa pulled the trigger and the longbeard dropped. The jakes immediately gobbled at the shot, and that's when I decided to double up with Poppa, so I laid one of the jakes down, and before I knew it, Poppa shot another jake,' McCutchen said. 'I think he would have kept shooting if I hadn't told him to stop!'

    Brian Cope
    SC Sportsman Field Reporter