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Identifying female and male turkeys in the spring

To avoid misidentification, use the following features below to accurately determine the turkey’s sex.

A small proportion of female turkeys may have a beard and therefore can be legally harvested. However, their loss reduces the reproductive potential of the turkey population. To avoid misidentification, use the following features below to accurately determine the turkey’s sex.

identify male vs. female turkeys

Tom

Feature

Hen

Red, blue, or white
colors has snood
(fleshy mass over the beak)

Head

Blue-gray, no snood

Dark, brown-black

Body

Light, rusty brown

Long bristle/filament-like beard

Beard

Usually no beard

Present

Spurs

Usually absent

Gobble, drum

Calls

Yelps, clucks, cuts

Strut with tail fanned
and wings dropped

Strut

Do not strut or fan tail

Larger than hen

Size

1⁄2 to 2⁄3 size of tom

 

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