4 Tips for Harvesting a Gobbler and Not a Bearded Hen

Bearded Hen Photo: Rex Everett

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

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