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Bearded Hens


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#1 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 08:42 PM

Has anyone else ever seen a bearded hen if so did you shoot it?
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#2 Leo

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 10:38 PM

I've seen five. One year I saw three.

I asked the landowner if I could shoot one and get it stuffed as a decoy. He thought that was a great idea.

I haven't seen one since!
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#3 Whitetiger

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 11:08 PM

your rep as a turkey slayer precedes you Leo....

#4 vcross

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 07:01 AM

I have seen them a few times - we can only shoot gobblers and beard or not a hen is not a gobbler so I wouldn't shoot one in GA unless it was with a camera.

#5 Leo

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:05 AM

We are actually allowed to kill bearded hens in SC. This is in fact the only way you can legally harvest a hen in this state. However, many landowners don't like it if you do. So it's a good idea to ask what their stance is on this before you hunt.

All the hen beards I've seen are wispy and thin. They also aren't very long. A seven inch hen beard is a whopper. Sometimes it's just a clump of bristles about 2 inchs long. It's thin, wispy and hard to see.
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#6 Monk

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 01:25 PM

I've seen a few, not with a gun though so I can't say... A bearded hen can be legally taken here.

Edited by Monk, 03 March 2008 - 01:26 PM.

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#7 Charles

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 07:39 PM

Seen um. Seen um strut too. Didn't shoot it (out'a season, but I'm sure it was a season somewhere????). Now, if one of them steps out in front of me during legal shooting hours she's done. Plain and simple. We buy hen Turkeys at the store. Can't see a reason not to take a hen even without the beard. Have about 40 of those girls come through your yard sometime and we'll discuss what they leave behind afterward, lol.

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Edited by Charles, 03 March 2008 - 07:46 PM.

5-November-2008 - Today is the first day of the down fall of American as we know it.

#8 PA RIDGE RUNNER

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:38 PM

Some of you may recall I shot a hen in Kansas in 2006. In both Kansas and PA in the spring the reg reads that it must be a bearded bird. So in both places a bearded hen is legal. My son in law has shot 2 and I was completely fooled by this one as it looked like a tom in both the head and had a 9 1/2 inch beard. As Leo mentioned the beard was on the thin side. I watched this bird chase a house cat at about 100 yds and several times it went into strut. With my binos I could clearly see the beard. I had seen a bearded hen about a half hour earlier but she was typical hen looking but with about a 4 inch beard and I let her go. Now I thinking this was a longbeard called to it and it started my way. Several time on it way in it went into half strut further convincing me it was a male bird. I could see the red wattles so when it got to 25 yds I fired and it went down. When I got to it I was amazed that it had no spurs. I spread the tail and it was even all way around but when I picked it up it was rather light for a 2 yr old tom. When I got back to the house my son-in-law looked it over and said he could only say it was a hen with most of the atributes of a tom. Now I felt bad I had shot a hen in the spring when they were nesting.

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I asked a turkey specialist about bearded hens and he said that a bearded hen most likely will not nest especially with all the attributes mine had. He said that a number of bearded hens were examined and none had any eggs in them while several normal hens road killed were examined and they did contain eggs. So I guess that killing a bearded hen does not let a clutch of eggs in the woods which was my biggest concern.
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#9 Coalman

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:54 AM

Maine's first Fall Wild Turkey Season with a shotgun 2007 and my bearded hen

I took a week off and hunted ME and NH for turkey with a shotgun. Here is an excerpt from my diary.

This morning was the first hard frost I have seen this fall. Turkeystalker and I made it to our blinds at our pre planned time. We each had a decoy. Things were slow for the first hour and a half. No moose calling or roost gobbling today. I watched the sun rise and paint the mountains red and orange.
The Mustang Blind.
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About 0800 I heard a sharp cluck from the top corner of the field.
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A hen came out. Following her were over thirty turkeys. They stayed at the top of the field and scolded my decoy. They said in no uncertain terms that this lone hen belonged with the flock.
I called only a little and very softly. After about 15 minutes one big hen started down the field toward the decoy.
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The big group started down the field. The lead hen was very big. But it was the bird behind her with a pencil thin swinging beard that caught my eye. A bearded hen. She was second in line. The birds passed the last bush that blocked my view. The big hen came out first. I cocked the hammer and got ready. The second bird out was another adult hen. Had to look twice for the beard. Notta. The third bird was the charm. I laid the hammer down.
Thinking of my hunting partner who watched the whole thing from a quarter mile away I flushed the flock. They went everywhere. Turkeystalker came up in double time. We tagged the bird took some pictures and got back down to business. We heard birds in every direction. And this is where I hand the torch to Turkeystalker to fill you in on the rest of our day.
I will tell you this. I called in at least twenty more birds today from the initial flush. I counted at least seven TS called in himself.
The action got hot after I filled my tag.

Adult hen turkey.
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6.75 " beard
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RIP
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I'll end with this. I watched those birds at least 15 minutes before they came. When they were coming single file and ready to commit I had everything under control. Breathing was good. I wasn't shaking. But one thing I did notice was my heart was pumping out of my chest.
I love turkey hunting. :D
Next stop NH with mmkunk and Ziggy. It ain't over yet. ;)
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#10 Leo

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 10:56 AM

Congrats Coalman and PA,

Those brown tipped breast feathers are a dead giveaway those birds are both hens. Really neat. I'm surprised they didn't have eggs. I seen them but never shot one. I do know in domestic turkeys it's usually only the oldest hens that sprout whiskers. So maybe these have dried up. Don't honestly know.

Thank you Charles for the picture. That bird is pretty typical of what I've seen around here. Seems like every flock around here has at least one like that, or is "starting".

Sometimes I see a gobbler I call a "slick". Sometimes these are lone birds or sometimes they have "slick" buddies. Gobbler feathers, gobbler beard, waddles, white cap and no spurs whatsoever. They are definitely not hens but every one I've seen has been a major "fatboy", very heavy. In general, "Slicks" are goofballs. They don't respond to calls, don't decoy, don't gobble or strut. They are just there. Most of them get killed by "accident". IE. someone just happens on one: it wanders uninterested past your setup or someone gets a lucky shot off on a flushed tom. If you have "slicks" IME they will stay in a bachelor group through the entire season and not participate in breeding. IMO, they are truly oddballs so take one if you get a chance.
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#11 Spirithawk

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:36 PM

I saw one once but since we can't shoot hens I just gave her a razor and asked her to shave. :rolleyes: ;) :lol:

Edited by Spirithawk, 04 March 2008 - 06:37 PM.





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