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  • Would you shoot a Bearded Hen?

    For the last 2 evenings I have seen a Bearded Hen and her 4 Jakes companions where i'm hunting. She has about a 7 or 8 inch pencil Beard. I would assume that she is nesting and she is a legal Bird. I have always heard that a bearded hen falls in the catagory of a Non-Typical Buck (Only 10 to 20 percent of Hens will Grow Beards)...My friend has 1 mounted...I told a few friends and they say 'Shoot Her' Thats a Trophy!!! But what do you guys think? 1 of the Jakes about got his self killed because I have a moto....'Gobble like a Big Bird---Take a dirt Nap like a Big Bird' I had the safety off and decided not to shoot even though he had a long Snood and A Good Gobble but he was still a Jake with a incomplete Fan...If he hadn't went into strut i would have shot him for a mature bird with beard-rot....Man i'm glad i didn't...Be a Nice 2 year old next year...If i don't take the bearded Hen, I hope she makes it as well.
    its a true trophy...
    i watched a bearded hen at the front of our property for 2 seasons and had 2 or 3 chances to shoot her and didn't. and honestly i wish i would have now. its unltimately up to you, like you and I both know, they all eat the same. but if you wanting that big tom then wait him out! i shot a jake 3 years ago that was doing the same thing you spoke of. he was gobbling his head off and strutting the whole time. he was 52 yards away across a power line and i only realized he was a jake when i walked up on him. funny how some of them are so eager to act like the boss. off the subject i realized something else the other week hunting with my dad. the young bird i killed had a full fan like a tom but only had about a 6 inch beard. the bird my father killed had a 9 inch beard and 1 inch spurrs. the surprising thing i noticed when comparing the two birds was the younger bird i shot had bigger feet. i always think when i see a huge track in the dirt man thats a nice mature tom. but i learned that looks are decieving. the older bird had smaller feet. was wondering if you have ever noticed this? good luck with the hunting, sounds like your still in the birds and shoot the hen if you want! i say if its got a beard its legal.
    Your Choice
    First bird my wife ever took was a bearded hen with a 9' beard. We later found out that the genetics of a bearded hen contributes to her offspring having multiple beards or other bearded hens. This started to make sense seeing how she harvested a seven bearded turkey and I harvested a double beard from the same farm. Would never trade that first bird for anything, but hope she left a lot of genes around our farm so we can keep on with the multi bearded birds. It is truely a trophy that does not come around often and not taking her is like leaving a breeding buck on a farm for the future. I don't think anyone would give you crap about it, so kinda up to you.
    I have never seen a bearded hen before, so I'm not sure about what one looks like in the field. I would probably hold my fire and digest the experience, appreciating that I had seen something new to me in the natural world.
    She came back
    Pic for Jeff D +....Seen her again today with the same Thunder Throat Jake...Had her walk by at 12 yards with 3 Jakes...Didn't shoot her but my brother said hes going to in the morning if he sees her LOL. (fnf)...A bearded Hen for a first Bird is awesome...She must have a horseshoe LOL...Like i said my buddy has 1 mounted and he said it's his favorite trophy so i don't know what i'd do if she gets in range again...(Mac86)...Man the Bird you shot could be a mature Gobbler...Stress will cause Beard-Rot and so will it dragging the ground and get mites in it...Also it dragging on a Frost covered ground will kill the ends...Me and a friend doubled up 1 year and when he approached his bird (His second ever) he said 'Dang it, i shot another Jake'...I said 'No Way'...He said 'look at his beard'....Well my Gobbler weighed 21lbs+ and his 'Jake' Weighed 24 1/2 Lbs LOL.As far as the Feet...I have also always thought BIg Foot- Gobbler...Small Foot-Hen so thats kinda strange to me but i never get tired of learning something New about Wild Turkeys... I'm going after the 1 i been chasing for 2 weeks in the morning...I gave him a few days to get lonely so who knows?....Good Luck to you guys and Thanks for the comments on the Bearded Hen.

    Oh and Jeff D...Heres a picture of a bearded hen for ya...The beards on hens usually look like this...Thin Pencil shape and the 1 that fnfs wife killed (9 inches) and the 1 that i been seeing (about 7 or 8) are TRUE Trophys.
    Just Alike
    That pic looks just like the one my wife got several years ago. As far as the horseshoe, you are dead on with that, see holds the household record on about everything that involves the outdoors for instance:

    1. Largest Buck-9pt 17 1/2' wide
    2. Largest Typical Turkey-12 1/4' beard
    3. Largest Atypical Turkey-7 beards
    4. Only person known in NC to catch TWO Bluefin
    Tuna on same rod at same time(one on hook
    one tail wraped) one 72' one 74'
    5. First one to catch billfish (sail)
    6. Largest Wahoo 64lbs

    The list could go on and on. I do have one claim to fame 'I taught her everything she knows about hunting and fishing'. It is never a bad thing to have the student surpass the teacher. Now you see why I brag on her so much.
    Now thats a resume fnf LOL...Great job