Kentucky Man Harvests World-record Wild Turkey

Video biggest turkey beard ever killed

It happened within the 2015 wild turkey hunting season. It was a day when a young man who is an avid hunter was able to harvest what is now the largest wild turkey recorded by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

“It was on one of those picture perfect mornings,” said Cody Guess of Lyon County, Ky. “Sunny, and very little wind. I killed the bird on our family farm…”

It wasn’t just any bird. It was not just any turkey harvested during a spring Kentucky turkey season. This was a turkey that made it into the record books as being the world record.

On April 21, Guess harvested a turkey that tipped the scales at 37.6 pounds. Now that’s a bird close to double the size of those we put on our Thanksgiving table. The average weight of an adult male turkey is said to be about 17 pounds.

The bird had spurs 1-1/4 inches long, making it a real ‘tree hanger,’ meaning that they are so big you can hang the bird from its spurs on a tree branch.

It also had a 9-3/4-inch beard. Guess explained, “It was very thick. Most seem to think it had been worn off or frozen off.”

Many turkey hunters will pride themselves with getting a bird with a longer beard or getting a bird with multiple beards. The 9-inch-plus beard is average.

“I got the bird that was gobbling off of the roost. And finally got him to break off around 7 a.m. and that’s when he came my way,” Guess said. “Luckily I was well hidden and was fortunate to let the turkey get to 8 yards before taking the shot.”

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Turkey hunting requires camo clothing and being hidden so that the bird sees no movement. You can’t take a chance of using a box or slate call to get a reaction from the bird. They have good sight and will spook and run if they see something they don’t like.

Sometimes they’ll be somewhat hidden in high grass. Too, as they walk around, they’ll have their heads and necks tucked close to their chest. Shooting into the breast normally isn’t a kill shot. Head shots work. Hunters sometimes will give one final yelp of a hen to get the tom to stretch his neck out and look around to see calling hen. This gives the hunter the perfect shot.

What kind of call does Guess use? “I was using Dead End game call’s Batwing 3 diaphragm call.” This allowed him to have his hands free to hold his gun, aim and take the shot without scaring the bird.

Guess submitted the information on his monster turkey to the National Wild Turkey Federation. Current records with the NWTF show that the previous largest turkey harvested on record is 37.125 pounds, taken by Jacob Braught in Linn, Ore., on April 15, 2002.

About a week after Guess registered his bird it was confirmed by the National Wild Turkey Federation that his in fact is the world’s largest wild turkey ever harvested. It was taken in the State of Kentucky in Lyon County. Its official weight was 37.61 pounds.

Lyon County is located in the northwestern part of the state between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, near Eddyville, right across the lake from the Kentucky Dam Village State Park and Resort. That’s where I was staying when I learned about Guess getting the bird.

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“I owe it all to the Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior,” Guess said when he contacted me with the news. He continued by saying, “You never know what good things can come your way with a little hard work, dedication and patience.”

I agree with Guess completely.

To be a successful hunter you must put in the effort to succeed. Scouting is important. This takes dedication to the sport, and with patience you’re able to wait it out for the right time to take the shot. It’s evident that living a good, Christian life will be rewarding.

Guess has been hunting since he was three years old and would hunt with his mother. He harvested his first turkey at age five. He’s an avid hunter now and says he’ll hunt just about anything possible.

“If it’s edible and legal, we will try it.”

Outside of hunting season, Guess still uses a bow. He’s into bowfishing and is a member of the Bottomlands Bowfishing team.

Congratulations goes out to Cody Guess on his achievement of getting into the record books and having harvested the world’s largest wild turkey.

Visit Don’s blog at

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>