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Stupid Turkey Question

LOW Lover

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My boys have been going out in the woods the last few days watching turkeys going to their roost. The last two nights they have seen a parade of turkeys (50 last night and 38 tonight) march within 10-15 yards of them in a single file line. They have not seen a lot of long beards so they asked me if Toms loose their beards in the winter. I said not sure boys. I thought I would do a google search, but FM is my place for information.

Forgive me for my ignorance!


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No they grow longer.

I have heard a Tom's beard can break-off if the snow is deep and the beard ices over.

I suspect this group of turkeys is mix of several broods that have decided to winter together. Thus no long beards.

I have noticed long beards often winter together and when you see one - you just may see many more.

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Brittman is on the right track. Turkeys will flock up in the winter just like deer do. The difference is that turkeys stay in groups by gender mostly. You'll see mixed flocks if the winter is getting harsh or they are sharing a larger food source.

This time of year the hens and juvenile birds are hanging out together. You will know it when you see a group of Toms. It will drive you crazy to see 8-10 longbeards walking around together and you can't do a thing about it. Mark that spot on your GPS for the spring. At least 1 of them will stay in the area.

Great job for taking an interest in your sons and they interests. I wish I knew about turkeys and turkey hunting when I was little. Its so addicting and I've only done it 2 years.

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Wow, I knew I could find answers here on FM, who needs Google or Askjeeves!! I will pass the info onto them. The one who has been going out and watching the turkeys shot his first Tom last Spring. It had a 12.5 inch beard with 1 3/8 spurs and was beat up and only weighed 18 pounds. He felt a little bad that it weighed so little until the taxadermist told him that he probably shot the dominate Tom in the area. Then he started strutting around!

Thanks guys. I have four wonderful sons who love the outdoors, fishing, and hunting with their dad. They are my treasure!!

Happy New Year and Thanks again!!


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They've steered you in the right direction; hopefully the flock of females you've been seeing stays just as large and we have an easy winter on the birds.

Your son shot a monster bird. The weight was down, most likely due to the assertions of the taxadermist, and possibly time of spring in which he shot it. As the breeding season progresses, toms will lose more and more weight, esp. if competition (i.e. many males) in the area is tough. We once took two males from a bachelor group of 7 adult toms. Both had 10"+ beards with 1 1/4" spurs.....each weighed in around 17.5 lbs. I had watched these birds run together for 3 hens all spring. Their crops were empty; amongst a field full of corn stubble, and a pasture full of clover.

I have shot heavier birds with longer spurs, but 12.5" beard beats my personal best! Tell your son congratulations from me!


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We had a bachelor group of 12 mature toms come in to us during the fall season. We watched the birds for close to 2 hours before they finally came to us. We killed two big boys out of the flock. I was lucky enough to be in position to shoot the dominate bird. 10" beard and 1 1/8" spurs. That was the first time I was able to do anything about it when I saw a bachelor group.

We'll be back in the same spot this spring looking for some of the 10 big toms that ran away that morning.

Back to the subject. It is not at all uncommon to see the HUGE flocks of hens and juveniles from fall through early spring.

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