The South Carolina Quail Project (SCQP) held the inaugural Savannah River turkey Invitational on April 1 to raise funds for quail habitat projects in the palmetto state. Tall Timbers Research Station biologist Jerald Sholar is the face of the SCQP and he produced a perpetual trophy for competitors to vie for in 2011 and in the future. Sholar also arranged for three custom box calls to be made by Champion calls of Acworth, Ga. to go to the hunters that bag the gobbler with the longest beard, heaviest weight and longest spurs. SCDNR's Jay Cantrell and Ted Rainwater used the NWTF scoring system to determine which bird came out on top in the entire competition. The winner also gets a free mount of their bird from Soggy Bottom taxidermy from Guyton, Georgia. Twelve two-man teams went out hunting and five teams brought back a gobbler to weigh in at Groton Plantation while other hunters report the toms being too henned up. Hunter Billy Exley took home the longest beard box call for the 10.5-inch beard his tom sported. Bob Wright took home the heaviest bird custom box call for his 19.5-pound gobbler. Canada Smith took home the longest spur custom box call for the 1.25-inch hooks on his tom.
PhotosByJeffDennis: Canada Smith's BIG gobbler won the scoring competition and hunting partner Stan Wells layed claim to the perpetual trophy for their team which was sponsored by John Carswell; the three custom turkey calls were made from different woods; Smith's 3-year old bird posed next to the perpetual trophy; SCDNR scorers kept a close eye on the scales