West Bend man arrows a record atypical tom [Photo]
West Bend, Wis. — When it comes to trophy records, turkeys get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment compared with deer – even if it’s a state record bird. If a record buck is entered in Boone and Crockett, Pope and Young, or the Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club, it makes headlines.
News of a record turkey kill usually flies under the radar.
Last year, Robert Ulickey, of West Bend, arrowed a new state record gobbler. Until now, only his friends and family knew about the accomplishment. The gobbler Ulickey shot had five beards, weighed 20.375 pounds, and had spurs that measured 1.50 and 1.375 inches. The total score was 125.625.
The longest beard measured 10.5 inches, and the total length for all beards was 38.25 inches.
The National Wild Turkey Federation keeps track of turkey records in the United States. Ulickey’s turkey is listed in the category of “Best Overall Eastern” shot with a bow, typical or atypical. Atypical turkeys have multiple beards and/or multiple spurs on a leg. Ulickey’s gobbler ranks seventh overall in the United States. The top-ranked gobbler in the bow category scored 149.6875. That bird was shot by Todd Pringnitz in Iowa on April 13, 2010.
Records are kept for all turkey subspecies. Wisconsin has the Eastern subspecies. The main categories are for typical, atypical, and best overall (listed as typical and atypical). Subcategories include modern firearm, bow, crossbow, muzzleloader, and “any.” Records also are differentiated by gender of hunter, beard length, spur length, and weight.
The Wisconsin record for Best Overall Eastern by any means was shot with a firearm by John E. Fryatt on April 19, 1989, in Richland County. It weighed 22.25 pounds, had eight beards, and spurs that measured 1.50 inches each. It scored 194 and is ranked fourth overall in the United States.
Scores for typical gobblers are much lower than atypical birds because beard lengths make up such a big part of the overall score. The top typical turkey from Wisconsin in the Best Overall category was shot with a firearm in St. Croix County,
April 10, 2002, by Scott Cernohous. It scored 87 with an 11.25-inch beard, spurs that measured 1.5 inches each, and a weight of 34.50 pounds. It ranks No. 23 for a typical overall in the United States.
Scoring a turkey is easier than scoring a deer’s rack. With antlers there is subjective judgment to determine if a rack is typical or nontypical. Tines that are used to calculate the gross score may or may not become deductions based on the judgment of the official scorer.
With turkeys, scoring is pretty simple. The sum of the combined length of all spurs is multiplied by 10 and added to the weight of the bird in pounds and ounces. That number is then added to double the length of the beard or beards for the final score. Anyone with a scale and a tape measure can score a turkey.
The NWTF website has a calculator where weights and lengths can by inputted to determine the score.
The requirements to have a turkey listed in the records are not as stringent as requirements for a buck to be listed in the record books. The major deer record keepers require scoring by a certified individual, but there is no similar requirement for turkeys.
For Easterns that weigh more than 22 pounds, the NWTF requires the bird to be weighed on a certified scale. Beards more than 12 inches long or spurs more than 1.50 inches long must include a photograph next to a ruler. Turkeys entered with multiple beards must have a clear picture showing all of the beards. For the above circumstances, two witnesses must verify the results. Submissions for birds with lesser statistics only require one witness.
To be entered in the records, the NWTF requires that the hunter and primary witness are either members of the federation or become members before submitting the entry. There is a fee of $15 per entry.
Ulickey’s trophy almost got butchered before it was entered.
Ulickey arrowed the turkey May 4. His son, Josh, was with him. The elder Ulickey was about to field-dress the gobbler when Josh intervened because he wondered how unique it was for a turkey to have five beards.
A call was made to Jeff Knapp, of Bucky’s Taxidermy in Grafton. Knapp told the Ulickeys to bring the gobbler in. Knapp weighed the bird and measured the beards and spurs.
“You’ve probably got yourself a new state record,” Knapp said.
Bob Ulickey had a full-body mount made of his trophy. He joked that he hopes he doesn’t shoot another one like it because it will be too expensive to get another mount.
Bob and Josh Ulickey have hunted deer and turkeys with archery gear since Josh was 12 and his dad gave him a bow.
“He took that to a whole different level,” Bob Ulickey said. “One day he tells me, ‘Dad, anybody can shoot ’em with a gun.’ ”
On the day Ulickey shot the record turkey, he and his son were set up in a pop-up blind in Zone 2 on private land near Cedarburg in Ozaukee County. They were close to a creek near a snowmobile bridge where several walking trails converged.
“We could hear birds in front of us and behind us,” Bob Ulickey said. “We put out a full-grown tom decoy, a jake, and two hens.”
The hunters’ enthusiasm quickly waned when the turkeys went silent. After 45 minutes of waiting they were getting ready to leave when a distant gobbler answered Bob Ulickey’s call. He called a minute later and the gobbler was closer.
“I hit it a third time and he was coming,” Bob Ulickey said.
Soon, two gobblers made a beeline to the decoys, but they stopped out of range. They eventually crossed the creek and walked down one of the paths before stopping 15 yards from the blind.
“It was a chip shot,” Bob Ulickey said.
The gobbler ran a short way before it fell over.
“It died with its feet up,” Bob Ulickey said. “The other bird stood there for five minutes looking at it.”
The mount is now in his son’s room, along with a full-body mount of a gobbler Josh arrowed a few years ago.