Realtree Pro Staffer Anthony Virga Kills No. 2 All-Time New Jersey Turkey

Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Realtree Pro Staffer Anthony Virga Kills No. 2 All-Time New Jersey Turkey

Posted 2017-05-21T15:35:00Z

Read the Story of a Special Spring Longbeard

Like all hunters, we spring gobbler chasers text each other during the season, often on a daily (and nightly) basis.

My phone has been lighting up with messages since early March. One of the most recent, received last Friday, May 19, included this note from Realtree pro staffer Anthony Virga:

"As of right now I may have the No. 2 bird in New Jersey (typical). . . ."

Anthony Virga's No. 2 All-Time New Jersey Gobbler (c) Pat Cutter photo

The gobbler was taken the day before on May 18. Paperwork will be processed by the National Wild Turkey Federation, and can take up to six weeks. After this routine procedure, his gobbler will officially become the No. 2 all-time (typical wild turkey) in New Jersey.

And by three points, Virga said.

Virga had Joe Garris, a New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife biologist, score the turkey, and Lesa McGuinness, NWTF Skylands Chapter president, as the second witness. Check out the photo below for the spur and beard lengths, as well as the trophy bird's weight.

The paperwork. (c) Pat Cutter photo

Left spur: 1 12/16 inches (1.75). Right spur: 1 10/16 inches (1.625). Beard: 11 and 1/8 inches (11.125). Weight: 25 pounds.

The Hunt Story

I texted Virga, knowing how hot it had been in the Northeast last week: "Did you get him in the cool of the early morning or a bit later?"

He replied, "8:30 a.m. Was about 80 degrees. He was in a swamp, cooler area. Responded well to the call."

The bird left the field after an hour of strutting. They, he and his good friend Craig Meyer, saw two coyotes and got "a little nervous," Virga told me. Anthony made some excited hen yelps and the turkey gobbled pretty good. He called the longbeard right in to 30 yards. No decoy.

As Virga enthused, "End-of-season hunts have always been a favorite of mine! I've taken some good ol' mature gobblers late in the season."

And this one is pretty special.

"I love last weeks for old birds. But never imagined this!"

Bonus Read: Top 10 Turkey Hunting Mistakes (with Anthony Virga)

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