1. Look for a bare, red head; hen heads are blue-gray with feathers up the back of the neck.
2. Check for iridescent, black-tipped breast feathers; hen breast feathers are more dull, and brown-tipped.
3. Observe the beard thickness. Hen beards are usually thinner than gobbler beards.
4. Pay attention to the bird’s behavior. If it looks like a hen and acts like a hen, it’s probably a hen, despite the beard.
Spring hunting regulations in Pennsylvania allow for the harvest of ANY bearded turkey. However, sparing a few more hens in the spring (and adult hens in the fall) equates to more gobblers to hunt in years to come.
By: Rex Everett & Mary Jo Casalena
Pennsylvania Game Commission, Wild Turkey Program