Wife Warns Other Women Not To Go Hunting With Their Husbands After She Has To Go To Court For Shooting A Turkey

"It came in, gobbling its head off; my adrenaline was pumping."

woman hunting Scharfsinn / Shutterstock

A married couple from Alabama had a run-in with the law, all due to a romantic hunting date, a dead turkey, and a photograph of a bald eagle.

Phil Ward took his wife, Stacey, hunting one weekend, only to end up on the wrong side of the Department of Hunting and Fishing after a few honest mistakes got them charged with hunting illegally.

The wife warned other women not to hunt with their husbands after she went to court for shooting a turkey.

While sitting in their car outside the courthouse, Phil told the story of how he took Stacey hunting during turkey season. 


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“She got a turkey, first one ever, great bird,” he said, and that's the moment when their trouble began.

“We forgot to check it in on the app,” he said, then corrected himself. “I forgot to check it in on the app.”

“I didn’t know that was a thing,” Stacey clarified.

Hunting regulations in Alabama are clearly defined, including the need for hunters to complete a hunter education course. 

There are specific native and non-native birds and animals in Alabama that are designated as game and, therefore, legal to hunt. Resident species of game birds include the bobwhite quail, the ruffed grouse, and the wild turkey.

turkey Chris F / Pexels


Phil explained that he has a lifetime hunting license, which means he doesn’t have to buy a new one each year, while Stacey doesn’t have a license at all.

She went hunting with Phil so they could spend some quality time together but wasn’t legally allowed to actually hunt, which they both forgot when the bird “came in hammering.”

“I let her shoot it,” Phil said. “Didn’t even think about her not having a hunting license.”

They posted their spoils on social media “because we had nothing to hide and got popped by the Game Warden, and now we’re at court.”

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Phil took ownership of the hunting mistake, saying he knew he’d done something wrong and tried to fix it immediately.

He explained that he bought Stacey a hunting license, “Which I know doesn’t make it right, but I was trying to make it as right as possible, and immediately checked her bird in, which again, doesn’t make it right but as right as possible.”

Stacey chimed in, wondering if they should tell the world how they found out about the illegality of their hunting trip.

“We have to be honest,” she said.

Phil shared exactly how the Game Warden found them out, saying, “I made an April Fool’s post on a hunting Facebook page. It had a bald eagle lying next to a turkey decoy, a picture I got off Google. It was a joke.”


Yet strangers on the internet thought he’d actually hunted an endangered species and called the Department of Fish and Game on him.

“They thought I killed a bald eagle,” he said incredulously. “Not just killed a bald eagle, posted it on Facebook.”

American bald eagle Adam Lu / Shutterstock

“So, the Game Warden came to my daughter’s ball game and read me my Miranda rights and that’s how I found out I was being charged with something,” Stacey interjected. “I was told I have to plead my case to the judge."


“That’s why we’re here in court, to explain to the judge that I had absolutely no idea that I could be charged with anything for hunting with him,” Stacey continued. “Not saying that I was not in the wrong, I just did not realize that, and see what happens from here.”

The couple told the conclusion of their story after their court appearance — Phil pleaded guilty, leading to a $50 fine and court costs.

Stacey reported that she pleaded not guilty, and her case got thrown out, so she was set to pay court costs, but “Everything [was] good.”

She shared the lesson she learned from her hunting mishap in a warning to other wives, saying, “Ladies, if you hunt with your husbands, get your hunting license, ‘cause it can come back to bite you.”

According to Alabama regulations, hunters have to check in on an app if they’ve killed a deer or a turkey. To report a turkey, a hunter has to record the date and county of harvest, the type of land, and the turkey’s age, beard length, and spur length, which is a claw used for protection and fighting.


Phil and Stacey made a follow-up post, answering questions people had for them and offering a little more context on their hunting debacle. Phil noted that checking in birds is a rule that’s been around for about 4 years, and because he forgot to do so, he pleaded guilty in court.

“I got a lot of people saying ignorance of the law is no excuse,” he said. “We know.”

“We weren’t trying to get out of it by saying we didn’t know; we just telling the story of how it went,” he continued. “I did know. I know the law. I know exactly the law, she did not. She’s not a hunter like I am. I knew the law, we just let the heat of the moment get the best of us.”


Stacey revealed that she joined Phil hunting “to rekindle the marriage,” noting, “This really worked out, I feel like we’re closer than ever now.”

It’s not common for people to stand up and openly admit when they’ve done something wrong, which is exactly what Phil and Stacey did. There’s no shame in making a mistake, and there’s valor in owning up to it when you do.

It does seem like the Great Turkey Debacle of 2024 brought Phil and Stacey closer, which in the end, is all any husband and wife can ask for. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture and all things to do with the entertainment industry.