Take a look at your turkey's beard. If you are looking for an easy way to age your turkey kill, the beard is a good place to examine. Turkey beards grow at an average rate of four to five inches a year, so this can be a good factor to study if you are interested in dating your turkey's age. Also helpful is the fact that a turkey's beard never stops growing. Turkey beards also grow thicker and wider as a gobbler ages, which can also be helpful in giving an age to your turkey kill. There are certain factors that you can take in order to determine the turkey kill's age by observing its beard growth. One general rule of thumb is that a turkey with a beard of less than five inches of growth is approximately one year old.
More Guidelines for Determining Age through Beard Growth
There are certain guidelines that you can use to determine your turkey kill's age according to beard growth. Although this is a readily acknowledged way to date the typical turkey kill, there are many important factors to keep in mind. For instance, some mature birds can lose most or all of their beards for many reasons, so sometimes it can be tricky to date your turkey kill. Here are some tips for examining the turkey's beard for age.
Consider the Turkey's Natural Habitat
When using the turkey kill's beard for aging purposes, consider the turkey's natural habitat. There are some areas that have softer ground than others. This can often cause less beard tip wear. In some places, where the turkey lives in an area with hard ground, their beard may appear shorter because of environmental wear. Keep this in mind when using the beard in order to age the turkey kill. Another thing to consider is leg length. Some birds have longer leg lengths than others. Those with longer leg lengths will typically experience less wear of the beard. Another thing to keep in mind is the type of climate that you are hunting in. For instance, Northern birds will tend to lose the tips of their beards if ice builds on them. You should not automatically assume that your turkey kill is young because of a short beard.
Other Factors to Consider When Examining Your Turkey's Beard Length
Another important factor to keep in mind is growth rate. Some turkey's beards simply grow at a faster rate than others. Many turkeys that experience fast beard growth may have beards capable of growing fast enough to overcome the wear factor. Keep this in mind when using the beard to determine age. Another factor that can help you calculate your turkey kill's age according to beard is the filament strength. Some turkeys are known to have stronger individual filaments. This will cause the beard to not wear as quickly. Another physical factor to consider is the beard's thickness. When examining your turkey kill's beard, consider its thickness when calculating the age. Beards with lots of filament, overall thickness and a large circumference will not wear nearly as fast as a thinner beard. What about the bird's diet? There are certain foods in the area that can cause your turkey kill's beard more wear resistant.
Consider Disease When Dating Your Kill's Beard
Finally, you should consider the incidence of disease when examining your turkey kill's beard growth for dating purposes. Some turkeys may experience melanin deficiency in their beard. Melanin is the pigment that makes the turkey's beard black. When melanin production is stopped during the growing period of the beard, the beard will turn light or blonde in color.