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Kyle Allen, a Virginia state law enforcement officer, and Capt. Jacob Johnson, Marine Corps Systems Command, pose with a 20-pound turkey Johnson shot during a hunt aboard Quantico Apr. 29. The hunt was sponsored by Quantico National Resources and Environmental Activities and supported by the Quantico Injured Military Sportsmen Association.

Photo by Adele Uphaus-Conner

Turkey hunting season passes aboard MCBQ, but hunters don’t leave it behind disappointed

20 May 2016 | Adele Uphaus-Conner Marine Corps Base Quantico

“Turkey hunting is exciting because turkeys are very vocal when they’re coming towards you,” said Capt. Jacob Johnson, a Marine with Systems Command who attended his first turkey hunt aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico April 29-30. “Their vision is 10 times better than ours,” explained his hunting partner Kyle Allen, a Virginia state law enforcement officer. “So you’re fully camouflaged, sitting up against a tree, and trying to get them to come to you.” Allen and Johnson were two of six hunters who attended the hunt, which was sponsored by Quantico National Resources and Environmental Activities (NREA) and the Quantico Injured Military Sportsmens Association (QIMSA). The 2016 turkey hunting season aboard MCBQ began April 9 and ended May 14. “The turkey population here is thriving,” Johnson said. “The biologists are doing a good job managing the population.” Lissa Grimes, a conservation law enforcement officer with NREA, said that 43 birds have been harvested aboard base as of the end of April. Last year’s hunting season set records for the number of birds shot. This is Allen’s second year hunting aboard MCBQ. He and Johnson met at the Quantico Game Check Station and formed a friendship based on their love of turkey hunting. “It’s a bromance story,” Allen joked. At the April 29 hunt, Allen acted as Johnson’s caller, using different types of calls—diaphragm calls, friction calls, box calls—to lure male turkeys to their location. Only male, or bearded, turkeys can be bagged during spring hunting season. “This is their breeding season,” Allen said. “Usually, male turkeys gobble so females know where they are and the females go to them. We’re trying to reproduce a female hen call to get the males to come to us. It’s a reversal of nature.” It was a successful hunt for Johnson, who bagged a 20-pound turkey using a 12 gauge shotgun. The bird had a ten-and-a-quarter-inch beard (the stiff cluster of long feathers sprouting from a male turkey’s chest) and 1 and 5/16-inch spurs. “This is a pretty big bird. It’s the biggest turkey I’ve harvested,” Johnson said. “He’s at least three to four years old.” He pointed out that the turkey’s tail feathers were worn down from all the strutting he’d been doing. Male turkeys strut—walk upright with heads held high, chests sticking out, feathers fluffed and tail fanned—to attract females or as a show of dominance to other male turkeys. Johnson said he planned to marinate his bird for 12 hours and then smoke it for six hours. He said his wife was already looking forward to eating smoked turkey sandwiches for lunch. Writer:
Marine Corps Base Quantico