Whether you harvest your turkey in spring or fall, you may have questions about the turkey you shot. Here are some suggestions for classifying age and sex of turkeys.
Regulations require that a spring harvested turkey be bearded. In most cases, you will shoot a male in spring (though up to 10% of the hen population may have beards). Here are the National Wild Turkey Federations guidelines for estimating your male spring turkey’s age.
Aging Spring Turkeys by National Wild Turkey Federations
The fall turkey season allows for the harvest of one turkey (either sex). Here are some tips for differentiating the sex of turkeys, both adults and juveniles
Females do not have leg spurs.
Most females do not have beards (though studies have shown that up to 10% of the female population can have beards)
The most distinguishing feature of adult male and female turkeys is their breast feathers.
– Males will have black-tipped breast feathers
– Females have buff-tipped breast feathers
Young of the Year Turkeys
Determining sex of young of the year can be very difficult.
– These juveniles will not have leg spurs, so judging sex by the legs can produce flawed results.
– The breast feathers are the best way to determine a young of the year’s sex.
Brush your hand against the breast feathers to find new growth.
– Males will be black-tipped
– Females will be buff-tipped