Moultrie Products
Trophy Turkeys
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
jims 15-Apr-18
Bou'bound 15-Apr-18
Lee 15-Apr-18
Ziek 15-Apr-18
HUNT MAN 15-Apr-18
Glunt@work 15-Apr-18
Glunt@work 15-Apr-18
drycreek 15-Apr-18
Dan Mallia 15-Apr-18
nbadger23 15-Apr-18
t-roy 15-Apr-18
writer 15-Apr-18
Ermine 15-Apr-18
Backpack Hunter 15-Apr-18
Matte 15-Apr-18
Dino 15-Apr-18
Huntcell 16-Apr-18
pav 16-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 16-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 16-Apr-18
Bogie 16-Apr-18
PECO 16-Apr-18
TrapperKayak 16-Apr-18
EmbryOklahoma 16-Apr-18
kscowboy 16-Apr-18
longbeard 16-Apr-18
Timbrhuntr 16-Apr-18
Bake 16-Apr-18
Windwalker 17-Apr-18
writer 17-Apr-18
Bake 17-Apr-18
AZBUGLER 17-Apr-18
Jaquomo 18-Apr-18
stick n string 18-Apr-18
LINK 18-Apr-18
DEC 18-Apr-18
grindersonly 18-Apr-18
White Falcon 18-Apr-18
fastflight 18-Apr-18
Lovehunt11 18-Apr-18
Killbuck 18-Apr-18
bigswivle 18-Apr-18
Duke 18-Apr-18
Hunter77 18-Apr-18
t-roy 18-Apr-18
skipmaster1 18-Apr-18
ROUGHCOUNTRY 19-Apr-18
From: jims
15-Apr-18
Any male turkey is a great trophy...especially with bow. Unfortunately turkeys don't grow horns or antlers. What would you consider a trophy? Many look at hooks and beard length? State records are kept in Kansas that add up hook and beard lengths plus weight. Kansas even has a nontypical category for toms with multiple beards.

I've harvested a few toms over the past years but still am overcome by the coloration and markings of each tom. The snow white tail feather's of merriams and the irredescent colors of rios. I'm always excited with toms with lengthy hooks and beards but am just as thrilled harvesting a mature tom with an oversized body and fan. In fact, I've gone to the extent of counting tail feathers. It seems like the largest bodied and fullest fanned toms have around 20 tail feathers....which is a trophy in itself.

With that said, I would be curious what others consider a trophy turkey! It's fairly easy to pass up bucks and bulls in search of a "trophy". Do any of you pass up jakes in search of toms..or pass up multiple toms in search of a "trophy?" It seems like the majority of turkey hunters likely shoot any legal tom and the first tom that they can harvest. Just curious what everyone thinks?

Good luck in the turkey hills this spring!

From: Bou'bound
15-Apr-18
A dead one

From: Lee
15-Apr-18
A gobbler that I call in - preferably one that is gobbling his head off! Cool thing about turkeys is you don't know if he has big Spurs til he's dead! For the most part all the adults look the same which makes them a ton of fun.

Lee

From: Ziek
15-Apr-18
I just look for a mature bird - even tail fan and reasonable length beard. Really, does anyone actually look for spur length before shooting? If so, they'd never shoot a Merriam's.

From: HUNT MAN
15-Apr-18
I thought all fans had 18 feathers.? Nwtf has always had a record keeping system. Weight +beard x2 + each spur x 10.

From: Glunt@work
15-Apr-18
I'm not picky. First Jake that commits is fine by me.

From: Glunt@work
15-Apr-18
I should add that when I get one, I can just walk to a high spot and buy another tag online.

From: drycreek
15-Apr-18
The hunt is my trophy. I just love turkey hunting. To be honest, all I've ever hunted are Rios. We have a few Easterns in ETexas, but gobs of Rios west of I 35. Ive killed them deer hunting, but that was mostly hens for the meat. The real hunt for me is the spring season, nothing else quite turns my crank as much as calling in a gobbler close enough to shoot. I killed several with a shotgun, but after I bowkilled my first one, I've never shot another with a gun. Gonna try to get it done again next week !

From: Dan Mallia
15-Apr-18
I like a good mature bird called into the decoys and then whacking them in the head with a Bullhead.

From: nbadger23
15-Apr-18
I think the only thing I'd be selective about would be a jake versus a tom and that's honestly going to depend on time and place. I don't think I'd ever choose to not shoot a tom because he wasn't quite big enough but that's just me. I'm just happy to get a shot opportunity.

I think the fact that the first bird I ever shot was likely the largest bird I'll ever shoot and it was VERY easy is the kind of demented humor/humility that turkey hunting has taught me. Silly me thought it should always be that easy.. ha!

From: t-roy
15-Apr-18
My wife refuses to shoot a bird if he’s missing any tail feathers out of his fan {8^|

From: writer
15-Apr-18
Hunt - Kansas uses the NWTF formula. I prefer not to shoot jakes, but love a pack of horny two-year-old buckets of hormones. But I’ll take spurs over beards. Always wanted to get one mounted hanging from a limb, but never did.

From: Ermine
15-Apr-18
A mature bird for me. That’s what I hope for.

I get excited for beards thou. I’ve killed a lot of mature mountain birds that are missing spurs or worn down

15-Apr-18
A long beard, and an even tail fan work for me. I've always liked the coloring of the Merriams best, but mostly hunt Easterns.

From: Matte
15-Apr-18
The calling....

From: Dino
15-Apr-18
My first bow kill...been trying for a long time!!! We have a 10 yr wait for a tag in Alberta...so I have to venture out of province.

From: Huntcell
16-Apr-18
Spread the fan to half a circle , measure accross the feather tip to tip , 30 plus inches accross is your trophy class bird .

From: pav
16-Apr-18
I'm happy with any full fan longbeard that gives me a shot opportunity. *IF* I cared about the "trophy" aspect, spur length would definitely be my criteria. Around here, just about any two year old tom will have a full fan, 10"+ beard and typically weigh in north of 20lbs. He is not, however, going to be sporting 1-1/2" hooks.

I have one full body mount turkey in my house....my first bowkill. Planned to have the first bowkill mounted all along, but got lucky and killed a really nice older bird. Killed more than a dozen birds since with my bow....with only one being heavier, but none with longer spurs.

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
This Nebraska mature 3 yr old tom turned out to be a "trophy" tom for me as his spears were longer than usual
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
This Nebraska mature 3 yr old tom turned out to be a "trophy" tom for me as his spears were longer than usual
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo

From: Paul@thefort
16-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
but this tom, the previous year, had sharper and long hooks
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
but this tom, the previous year, had sharper and long hooks
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
1 and 1/14 in long and sharp
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
1 and 1/14 in long and sharp
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and was the very first "limb hanger" I had killed from over 50 toms. I classified this tom as a trophy. But as other have stated, a mature tom, full tail, nice beard, = stew pot.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and was the very first "limb hanger" I had killed from over 50 toms. I classified this tom as a trophy. But as other have stated, a mature tom, full tail, nice beard, = stew pot.

From: Bogie
16-Apr-18
Thank God they cannot smell... If they could we wouldn't never get a shot opportunity! Its the whole thing First gobble sending the hairs on you neck to stand up .. the answer to your call and set up ... to the strutting show.... the whole experience its magical and fine eats also. Memories are the Trophies whether you harvest a bird or not

From: PECO
16-Apr-18
A dead one.

From: TrapperKayak
16-Apr-18

TrapperKayak's embedded Photo
TrapperKayak's embedded Photo
Any stick bow killed turkey is a trophy in my book. Even a jake.

16-Apr-18

EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
EmbryOklahoma's embedded Photo
Participation turkey trophy. :)

From: kscowboy
16-Apr-18
Spurs all the way. Beards don't get much more than 11" (talking Easterns and Rios). I've shot plenty of 2 year olds with 10" beards. Spurs are the best way to age them. Young birds aren't walking around with 1.5" spurs.

As writer told me years ago, it's like scratching a lottery ticket when you go to your bird and see spurs. I try to make an effort with my 10x binos to look at spurs but seldom get a good peek.

Best tom I ever shot was strutting in a hedgerow and I belly-crawled up to him in street clothes and shot without seeing his beard or anything (shot gun). We were leaving the farm after getting our butts kicked that morning and did a final lap around the property to make sure fences, etc. were all in order when we spotted him strutting. One spur measured 1 and 13/16". I don't usually do anything special with turkeys but this one got a fan, beard, and spur mount on a nice oak piece. I've found most Easterns and Rios by age 3 will "limb hang."

From: longbeard
16-Apr-18
None of you guys are wrong. It’s all about what turns your crank at the time. Personally I believe spur length are the true measures of a trophy bird. One time I actually did see a turkeys 1.5 inch spurs through my spotting scope, so I did target him specifically. That was a fun chess match as it played out!!

From: Timbrhuntr
16-Apr-18
If I am travelling I go for any bird with a full fan but at home if I am able to target a certain bird I do. I have several cams out year round and some at feeders. I usually get good pics of birds and can usually see if a bird has big spurs. If it has some other distinguishing feature and has been around all year I will target it. I love limbhangers !

From: Bake
16-Apr-18

Bake's embedded Photo
Bake's embedded Photo
Spurs!! Most of our 2 year olds will have 10 inch beards. Sometimes really nice ones. Sometimes even multiples. I know, because I'm hell on 2 year olds!

One of my best spurred birds had a really wispy 9 inch beard. But he had the hooks!

One bird I killed had double hooks. As shown above.

I'll kill about anything when the mood strikes me. I've killed a few jakes, but generally wait for a swinging beard. Course, I also only shotgun hunt, and there's a lot of birds where I live.

From: Windwalker
17-Apr-18

Windwalker's embedded Photo
Windwalker's embedded Photo
To me any turkey shot with a bow is a trophy. I had this one mounted because of his beard(s) and 1.25 inch spurs.

From: writer
17-Apr-18
Bake, never feel any thing but happiness for killing last year’s jake. Ol’ man in Mississippi told me, “God’s three greatest gifts to a man are - beautiful women, smooth sippin’ whiskey and two-year-old turkeys.”

From: Bake
17-Apr-18
Writer. . . For sure. I love a hard gobbling two year old.

I roosted 14 gobblers tonight (just what I could identify, may have been a couple more), along a 200 yard stretch of creek, and I’d say most of them are two year olds. I’m taking a cousin in the morning, and I’ll shoot the second bird in, whether it’s a 2 year old or not. Just hope I don’t mess it up ;)

From: AZBUGLER
17-Apr-18
I never pass up a mature bird because of beard or spur length. I do typically pass on jakes. Any mature gobbler is a trophy in my opinion.

From: Jaquomo
18-Apr-18
Always seemed like a "scoring system" for turkeys was sort of a n-WTF? They're birds.. Then again we had the NY xbow guy scoring hunting women, so....

My trophy is a mature Tom I call in with the cedar box call my friend made from scratch from a tree on his ranch. More than just the bird.

18-Apr-18
Lol Jaq

From: LINK
18-Apr-18
Face it Jaquomo, there are a lot more trophy turkeys in the NE mainly New York than there are in Colorado. It’s a numbers thing, more turkeys more trophy birds. ;)

You guys that think bagging any bird is a trophy need to get in tough with reality and adopt a scoring system. Lol

From: DEC
18-Apr-18
Any long beard that I call into the decoys and head chop on video. I don't even weigh or measure birds anymore. I keep the spurs and the beard, both just get thrown on top of a glass case that I have a full body mount in from about 15 years ago. I've lost count and the pile just keeps growing. I don't even keep the tail fans for easterns anymore, as I have killed so many, what is the point. I still keep Rio and Merriam ones if they the colors are nice. I have piles of fan tails and just grab one when I need one for the strutter decoy. My trophy these days is in the video footage which I enjoy editing and sharing with others. The trophy is the feeling of the rush that the hunt brings, that adrenaline pumping, and the weight of carrying a bird out of the field.

From: grindersonly
18-Apr-18
Any tom is a trophy in my book. But if I have to pick I am a spurs man. Ive seen lots of 2 yr olds with 10+ inch thick beards, but only a mature bird is going to have those long sharp hooks!!

From: White Falcon
18-Apr-18

White Falcon's embedded Photo
White Falcon's embedded Photo
All the Turkeys I have shot are trophy's!

From: fastflight
18-Apr-18
I had never heard of a scoring system for turkeys until mentioned earlier in this thread. I have always recorded weight, beard, and spurs on all my turkeys so I calculated a few of them. Only had one reach 70. My son has one at 72. Both nice birds but have no idea if those numbers are good. I shoot whatever gives me the first shot though. Even Jakes.

18-Apr-18
I have been Turkey contest on Archery talk for couple years. I have fun with team contest

From: Killbuck
18-Apr-18
Trophy turkeys are just luck. Who's going to let a 10" beard walk by? Nobody knows if they will "measure up" until they're dead.

From: bigswivle
18-Apr-18
I guided a kid this year to an old turkey with matching 1&3/4"spurs but he only had an eight inch beard. Go figure

From: Duke
18-Apr-18

Duke's embedded Photo
Duke's embedded Photo
I don’t know much about trophy turkeys, but this bird showed up this morning...

From: Hunter77
18-Apr-18
That's funny!

From: t-roy
18-Apr-18
That bird is in serious need of some birdscaping!

Duke... that pic reminded me of something I did probably 30 years ago! I knew a guy that was one of those “chit, that ain’t nuthin!” Guys. No matter what the story was, he could always top it. I thought I would get him, but good.

We played on the same slow pitch team, and I knew he would see it. I cut some hair from a horse’s tail and fashioned it into about a 16” turkey beard and laid it on the dash of my pickup. It looked exactly like a turkey’s beard. During the course of the ball game, I mentioned that I had killed a really good bird that morning. Of course, he walked by my truck and saw it. To this day, he’s the only guy that saw it, that doesn’t know the truth.

From: skipmaster1
18-Apr-18
Years ago I switched to only using a trad bow for turkeys. I kill a couple every year and pass Jake's. Basically any tom I can call into range and knock down with my stick bow is a trophy to me.

From: ROUGHCOUNTRY
19-Apr-18
I killed my first archery turkey out of a tree stand in Kansas during the fall with about a 10 inch beard and had to rotate around the tree and stay motionless for a half hour while the group of Toms worked into 35 yards.......

My dad shot a mature Tom that weighed 23 pounds and full tail feathers but didn't grow spurs and didn't have a beard either???

My dad and I had struck out all morning and called once more around 11:00 not far from the truck as 2 toms gobbled and strutted all the way in. We said, "You take the left one and I'll take the right one on the count of 3". Doubled up on big long beards.

I took a photo of a big Merriam before the season and shot him opening day a couple weeks later in the same spot.

I shot a big long beard at 6 yards while it was sliding off the DSD decoy making plastic noises with my first Centaur long bow and it was like a pillow exploded.

My best turkey had the thickest two-tone paint brush beard just under 11 inches and 1 3/4 inch spurs that were translucent on the tips but only weighed 19 1/2 pounds......go figure

  • Sitka Gear