Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Stearns County gobbler sets new state record


Richmond, Minn. A Stearns County gobbler has set new records in
two categories for Minnesota wild turkeys.

On Saturday, May 17, John Kuhl, of Richmond, Minn., shot a
gobbler that officially registered as the top typical wild turkey
ever taken in Minnesota under the National Wild Turkey Federation’s
overall scoring system. It also occupies the top spot for spur

The NWTF divides its scoring into typical (birds with one beard)
and nontypical (birds with multiple beards). Kuhl’s bird posted an
overall score of 84.5625, up substantially from the previous top
overall Minnesota score of 82.24. Overall scoring combines beard
length, spur length, and the total weight of the bird.

The bird’s remarkable long spurs helped it post the fine overall
tally. The spurs measured 1.8125 inches, up from the previous
record of 1.75.

Karen Cavender, records coordinator for the NWTF in Edgefield,
S.C., registered the bird and confirmed the measurements via photos
that Kuhl submitted. She called the spur length “very impressive.”
The national record for spur length is 2.25 inches on a Kentucky
bird taken in 2000.

Hunting the second to last season, rookie turkey chaser Kuhl,
41, was on a private parcel of land near Farming, north of Richmond
off County Road 23. It was the second day of his five-day hunt, and
he’d heard gobblers inside a parcel of woods. After setting up his
decoy, he commenced calling on a box call.

At about 6:30 a.m., a respectable gobbler came in, but Kuhl shot
over the top of his head. The bird split, fast. Chalk that up to
inexperience, he said.

“I was pretty discouraged, figuring that was my only chance,” he
said. “But I thought, what the heck,’ and started calling

Pretty soon he found himself conversing with another gobbler via
his call. The bird took its time coming to him, and when Kuhl saw a
hen following, he stopped calling. Twenty yards from the decoy, the
gobbler presented Kuhl with a shot, which he took. When the bird
looked like it might get up, Kuhl shot it again.

Kuhl had the bird registered at Don’s I-94 in Albany and called
friend Ron Welle to check out the bird. Welle, of nearby Melrose,
had taught Kuhl how to work the box call and had hunted with him a
bit the previous day. It later dawned on Welle, who’s on the
Minnesota state board of the NWTF (and signed up Kuhl as a new
member a year ago), that the remarkable spurs could be a potential
state record.

“I had the bird frozen because I’m planning to have it mounted,”
Kuhl said. “I knew it was nice, but being my first bird, it didn’t
dawn on me that it could be a record.

“Ron looked into it, called me a couple of weeks ago, and told
me I needed to get it registered.”

Kuhl, who manages Haffley’s Bar in Richmond, said his wife and
stepson are both impressed with a gobbler he knows will be tough to

“They’re not into hunting, but anyone can tell this was a big
bird,” he said.

The bird’s final measurements were as follows: weight 25 pounds,
1 ounce; beard 115/8 inches; and spurs 113/16 inches.

For more information on the National Wild Turkey Federation’s
records program, check out the Minnesota NWTF web site at

Share on Social


Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles