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Old 01-24-2008, 02:40 PM
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bullmoose38 bullmoose38 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pine Grove, PA
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Originally Posted by Great White Hunter View Post
I found this for you at the Georgia Fish and Game website and the Realtree website. This should be pretty clear for you. The different species look pretty similar but telling the difference between a tom, a jake, and a hen are pretty simple following all the tips in this thread. Enjoy:

Identification of the sexes is important because only male turkeys may be legally harvested in Georgia. Gobblers, on average, weigh 17-21 pounds and posses black-tipped breast feathers giving the bird a dark, polished appearance. The tom's featherless head is white-crowned with varying amounts of blue and red coloration dependent on sexual excitement. Male turkey droppings are straighter and have a larger diameter than hen's and are J-shaped. Gobblers have a projection of hair-like bristles, termed a beard, on their breast and spurs on their lower legs. Beards grow continuously, about 3-5 inches per year, throughout the life of a tom, but the excess is worn off by abrasion when it drags the ground. On the other hand, spurs can obtain a maximum length of over 2 inches. Toms can have multiple beards and most have spurs. Spur length and beard length are somewhat related to age.

Adult males can be distinguished from juvenile males by several physical attributes. Beards on adult males are usually longer than 6 inches, whereas on juvenile males they are less than 6 inches (see photo to right). Jakes have rounded, blunt-pointed spurs less than 0.5 inch long and adults have curved, sharp-pointed spurs greater than 0.5 inch. Legs on adult males are usually pink in color and on juvenile males are usually grayish brown in color (see photo to left).

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The best way to distinguish gobblers from jakes is to simply observe the tail feathers when the bird is strutting. An adult's tail feathers are equal in length and form a smooth, rounded edge when fanned (photo below left). In contrast, the 4-6 central feathers on a jake's tail fan will be longer that the others forming an uneven edge when fanned (photo below right). Using all these criteria in combination can aid a turkey hunter in the decision to harvest a mature tom.

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Hens usually weigh 8-11 pounds, about half the size of gobblers, and possess rounded, buff-tipped breast feathers giving them a brown or tan coloration. The female turkey's head lacks the white crown of the gobbler and is a dull gray-blue with feathers extending up the neck and back of head. Hen droppings are smaller than those of toms and are spiral or loop-shaped. Female turkeys can possess beards, usually less than 7 inches, but this only occurs in less than 30 percent of the population. Unlike toms, hens usually do not have spurs.

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GWH Great post!!
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