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Mature Tom with No Spurs?
I shot this tom, my first Merriam, this morning.
He's was a 20 pound bird with a 9-1/2" beard. To my surprise he had no spurs at all....nothing, not even a small bumb where they should be. I've never seen a mature tom that didn't have spurs and was wondering if this is common, or not?
Killed a Rio a few years ago, same way...Just happens sometimes I suppose!
Where's BowMe? ;-)
Damn it Ike... can't believe you beat me to this thread. I was frothing at the mouth when I saw the title. ;,)
GG, I was gonna say... ask Ike he knows all about those trannie toms. LOL!!!
Man I love all of that cream color on the Merriam's fan!!! Congrats on a great bird GG! Pete
I shot a mature marriam a few years ago with the same thing. Mine did have small bumps that looked more like a pedicle or something but no protrusion at all.
Well, judging by the responses so far, I'd say that it's fairly uncommon.
It depends on the area that he lived in. If it is real rocky they will rub them off by just walking around from day to day. Turkey in Hawaii rarely have spurs at all.
Interesting info, Elkstuffer.
But these turkeys live in soft, sandy soils with very little rock. And there was no evidence of my tom's spurs being rubbed off. It appeared as though he never grew them.
I'm going out again in the morning to do some filming. I'll try to get some close-ups of the other toms in the area to see if it's a prevailing trait, or not.
Same with mine, soft soil areas...I think it's just a freak of nature thing. Things happen!
I shot a 3 year old a few years back that barely even had bumps....pretty rare if you ask me.
It is pretty common in merriam's birds around colorado
Interesting post. My uncle shot a Tom last year in western WI that didn't have any spurs either. That was the 1st time he or I have ever seen that before. He was a 21lbs bird with 9" beard. I guess it is just something that happens like a hen with a beard.
The Merriams I killed last year in northwest NM had over a 7" beard, but only small bumps for spurs. Like others here, they didn't appear to be worn off. Just never grew. I've heard that it isn't all that uncommon in Merriams.
Welcome to the world of Merriams!
A friend of mine killed an Eastern in MO a few years ago. It had five beards from 5"-9 1/2" and it`s legs looked just like the ones in Ack`s picture.
Interesting about the Merriams...
GG, from what I have been told by the F&G turkey specialists, that bird of your's wouldn't necessarily be considered a mature Tom. See the outter black stripe around your birds fan, your's is almost missing the black on the center feather and definitely a thinner line to either side of that. Turkey bio for F&G told me a true mature Tom will be solid black outter line all the way across. Maybe that is why he had not spurs, maybe he's a younger bird than you think?
Thats just what I was told, I am by no means an expert.
His bird is at least a 2 year old. If it was going to have spurs it would have something. Sometimes they dont have spurs. A couple weeks ago while turkey hunting in FL we stopped at my buddies deer hunting camp and one of the guys had a nice osceola. It had an 11" beard, a 1 5/8 spur on one leg and not even a bumb on the other.
Ok here is my river bottom Montana bird shot two days ago. 9 1/4 inch beard...no spurs. This is my first without spurs.
I've always thought that an immature tom's tail feathers don't form a perfect half-circle....meaning the center feathers are slightly taller than those to either side.
Also, isn't a 20+ pound bird with over 9" of beard usually a mature specimen?
Like you, I'm certainly no expert when it come to turkeys.
merriams have smaller spurs than the other species
GG, yes I had always thought the same things. I have probably 4 turkey fans (all with 9-10 1/2" beards) around the house and garage from what I referred to as "mature" toms with equal length tail feathers and a couple others that I thought of as "jakes" or immature toms with the uneven length of the middle tail feathers. A F&G guy saw them and told me which ones in his "expert" opinion were "mature" toms. My description above was what he told me. I'm not trying to be a jackass here and correct you at all, I was just offering a different theory of why your bird may have not had spurs is all. Yours is a beautiful bird by the way. Congrats.
I have taken several with no spurs over the years. Even jakes have small bumps and mature toms with spurs broken off will have s scar where they were, but these toms had nothing. Steve
I shot a tom in MO that had no spurs - definitely a mature bird. He came sneaking in with 4 jakes and never made a peep - I figured he couldn't fight! I did a little research on the subject as I was very curious and read that around 1% of Tom's will not have spurs - very uncommon indeed. Great looking bird by the way!
Crusty, thats a beautfiful bird. Looks like you very careful with him carrying him out and all that.
It is a genetic thing, again like a bearded hen.
Ike & Blaze....Thanks for the props on my bird. It's my biggest Merriam to date.....But I have to say...he was only 300 yards from the truck so I didn't even put him inthe pouch of my vest. I just pulled out some orange and walked out with him over my shoulder.
I killed a eastern here in Bama two years ago that didn't have any. It is fairly rare, but not as rare as you would think.
I've shot ~6 Merriam's and only 2 had spurs. They were all "mature" by definition that all tail feathers were the same length and full body size, but 4 birds only had small nubs.
The two w/ spurs were rounded and only ~1/2" long, not sharp like I've seen on other's birds.
I had heard the same rumor that they wear down in rocky soil, but I don't buy it - the spurs are so high on a bird's leg that they wouldn't touch the ground unless he was crawling?
Some of us are just "endowed" more than others.
My son lives in Montana and killed a mature gobbler 21lbs full tail fan with no spurs what so ever. It had a messed up beard too. Then the next day called in another mature gobbler, 3 year old most likely with a full tail fan 9" beard with no spurs either. Both on the same mountain I think. He saw other gobblers afterwards that had spurs. I guess it must happen every now and then. I knew of a big mature whitetail in TN that didn't have any antlers. He was the boss buck too. He had the pedicle and that was it. He never grew anything I could see or my neighbor in the 3 years I saw him. Idk what ever happened to him.
I listen to a biologist who said spurs are no indication of a age. Some mature birds can have long spurs..some can have no spurs.
I wonder if he self identified as a hen.
My son shot a big Eastern two years ago where one side had an 1 1/2 spur and the other side was perfectly smooth.
My first turkey ever was a tom with a 8" beard and no spurs. This was an Eastern in MN.
My Son's first bird (a Rio), had a 9 inch beard, with a one inch spur on only one side...just a small bump on the other side.
Nice bird, Matt, Congrats!
Wow. Old thread! :)
Here's a two spurred bird
Very common... I’ve watched And killed a few birds that reached 4-5 years old
rubbing the spurs off is laughable.Even if it was a jake you can clearly see bumps where the spurs are located.Even if a bird breaks a spur off fighting there is still a knub.I shot a bird with 1 spur the other was as smooth and clean as a hen he was born without it,yes its possible Ive heard it before.