Abigail Teschendorf, 12, got the biggest thrill of her two years as a turkey hunter -- and with it the state's top bow-and-arrow kill.
Abigail Teschendorf just turned 12 and has been hunting turkeys for only two years.
But on Sunday, the Lino Lakes sixth-grader calmly bagged a record gobbler -- with a dead-on shot using a bow and arrow.
Hunting with her father, John, in Anoka County, Abigail shot a tom that strutted within 7 yards of their blind.
"It took a few hours to call it in," said Abigail, who has been shooting a bow and arrow since she was 5.
"They were about 200 yards away, and we were calling and finally four birds came in, three jakes and one tom. I just took the biggest one. It happened pretty fast. Your heart starts pumping."
The gobbler wasn't particularly huge -- it weighed 20 pounds -- but it had some impressive hardware. "When we got to it, my dad said it had a thin beard, but as we got closer, it was actually a double beard," Abigail said.
The unusual twin beards each measured 9 inches. And it had "daggers'' for spurs, John said, one measuring 1¼ inches and the other, broken, measuring 1 inch.
Using the weight and beard and spur lengths, the bird scored 81 points under the National Wild Turkey Federation's scoring system -- making it the highest-scoring Minnesota bird taken by a bow and arrow of the seven currently registered with the federation. And it's the eighth highest-scoring Minnesota gobbler overall in the NWTF's records, which includes about 200 Minnesota birds.
John Teschendorf and his daughter didn't know that at the time. They were just thrilled Abigail bagged her first tom. "There were big hugs and kisses and all of that," said John, a longtime bow hunter who has helped her hone her archery skills.
"She's my blind buddy," he said.
It was Abigail's second bird. She arrowed a jake last year during her first turkey hunt.
When John told a friend about the bird, he suggested having it scored, so John contacted Tom Glines, the regional NWTF representative who scored the bird. They learned it was a record. Abigail said she loves turkey hunting -- "It's my favorite'' -- and knows she has a tough act to follow.
"It's just fun. Last year, I got a jake, and my goal this year was to get a tom."
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