The first thing that popped into Cord Maddox’s mind when he saw a male gobbler on the morning of April 10 was that it was the biggest turkey he’d ever seen.
The second thing Maddox thought was that he couldn’t shoot the big bird.
Maddox, 23, of Huntingdon was hunting with his buddy Travis Ward and it was Ward’s time to shoot. They alternate when they hunt — one calls and the other shoots.
Ward had called in the last turkey on their previous hunt the week before and Maddox shot it.
This time, however, the turkey came in at an angle that wasn’t good for Ward.
“With the way Travis was sitting, a tree was blocking his view of the bird,” Maddox said. “So somehow, the good Lord above I guess, let me get the shot on him.”
Maddox felt blessed because the turkey could be the biggest ever bagged in Tennessee.
After shooting the gobbler in Henry County from about 30 yards, Maddox asked Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer Greg Barker to score it using a method developed by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Maddox’s pending score of 89.56 beat the previous state record of 89.50.
Weight: 25.37 pounds
Beard length: 12 7/16 inches
Right spur: 2 1/16 inches
Left spur: 1 7/8 inches
Total score: 89.5625
“We ended up measuring it three times, so I’m pretty confident it’s going to be certified,” Maddox said.
Maddox submitted the measurements along with multiple photos of the turkey to the NWTF.
NWTF officials told Maddox this was their busiest time of the year and it would take six to eight weeks before they could confirm his score.
The current record turkey was killed on April 8, 2016, in Campbell County by Bruce Shelton.
“When we first saw the bird after I shot it and got a look at its spurs, we said, ‘Wow,’ we hadn’t ever seen any spurs like that,” Maddox said. “Then we got to talking about it could be something special. I called Officer Parker and we thought it was going to be really close. After he scored it, we just barely beat it.”
The turkey was the third Maddox has killed this season. He bagged his season limit of four bearded birds over the weekend.
Maddox is having the bird mounted at Birds Only Taxidermy in Dickson.
The spring turkey hunting season began April 1 and lasts through May 14.
Reach Mike Organ at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-259-8021 and on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.