A young Kentucky man has just shot the world record Eastern Wild Turkey at just 22 years old. The 37.6-pound gobbler fell to David Cody Guess' Stoeger M2000 semi-auto shotgun on what he describes as a "blue-sky perfect April morning any turkey hunter would love."
Guess was just four days into the 2015 spring season on his family's Lyon County farm, hunting when he called the gargantuan gobbler in close and dispatched him with one shot from just 8 yards away. "I'd heard some high-pitched calls that morning but I usually just go after the deep gobbles so I wasn't that confident," remembers Guess. "But I got up on a ridge and when I yelped a couple of times, he answered right away and then I heard him scratching. He came in fast right at me, like he was on a string-he never knew I was there when I shot him."
Guess spoke quickly as he replayed the 7 a.m. record-breaking moment, the excitement still in his voice as he described walking up on the gobbler after it was down. "I didn't really think about it being a world record-I just knew he was huge!" Guess's trophy was a veteran; with a thick, short 9-¾-inch beard, the old bird had some obvious beard rot, and the 1-¼ inch spurs were beaten up and dulled from fighting and sparring.
The shotgun Guess used to take his giant tom has also seen plenty of action since he purchased it at age 16; in fact, the M2000 is no longer manufactured and has since been replaced by the M3000. For Guess, thousands of shells and many days of duck, dove and turkey hunting have given occasion for some parts replacements over the years, "but 'Old Faithful' has never failed me yet," Guess says reverently. "I set it up with Carlson turkey choke tubes shooting Winchester Longbeard™ XR #6's and patterned it. I got 96 pellets in the target's head at 40 yards and 79 pellets at 60 yards. I don't use any special optics-that gun really gets the job done," said Guess, paying homage to the Stoeger brand's "works as hard as you do" moniker.
Guess enjoys a lifestyle that lends itself to the outdoors. He shoots, hunts and fishes at every opportunity, and his folks own and run the family farm where he took his trophy tom. Cody's mother works at Shooter's Supply of Eddyvile, an outdoor retail and gun store, which also owns Paducah Shooter's Supply where he bought his Stoeger. Guess says he's been hunting since age three when he remembers sitting in his mother's lap on the deer stand, but that April day will be just as memorable.
"Having this opportunity, and the opportunity to hunt and enjoy the outdoors all my life, is a gift I appreciate and thank the good Lord for-he just put me in the right place at the right time." As an electrician with an extremely tolerant employer, he manages to squeeze in plenty of time hunting turkey, waterfowl, doves and deer every year-enough to literally wear the Realtree Max-4™ camo right off his "Old Faithful" Stoeger. His largest previous turkey was much a smaller bird, although at 28 pounds no hunter would likely scoff at that benchmark.