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Question by wallofsam. Uploaded on April 07, 2009
Most longbeards are 2 years old. Birds over 2 are pretty scarce. Out of 58 Turkeys shot only about a dozen was 3 or over. According to the NWTF Spur length is the best way to age a bird but even that's not infallable. Most old birds have spurs over 1 long. Very old birds have long spurs with a change in coloration near the tip. I have collected only a handfull of those.
they average 3 years to 4 years with out predator and hunting factors
If he is lucky he might make it to 3 or 4 years of age. As Del said most don't make it much past 2 years old. Spur length is the most accurate practical method to age a gobbler. A cross section of thigh bone will reveal growth rings similar to a tree. Not very practical unless you have a microscope and a bone saw.
That said the typical 2 year old will have spurs about 3/4 to 7/8 inch and some what blunt in my neck of the woods. At three they will be slightly sharp and usually 1 to 1 1/8 inches long. At 4 years 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches is about right and the spurs will be needle sharp and typically have a pronounced hook. They can grow faster than this and if you live in rocky terrain they will wear them down pretty quickly. I have killed a bunch of turkeys over the years and I have only killed one bird with spurs over 1 1/2 inches. He was thigh bone aged at 5 years old. As Del said, I've only killed a hand full over 1 1/4
Agreed with Del in KS answer above and A + 1 for you sir!!!
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