Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Longbeard or Jake?

Longbeards give us all bragging rights, but jakes can help fill tags too—and they sure taste good.

By Steve Hickoff 

You’ve had a tough spring turkey hunting season so far. And then you get an opportunity—sort of. 

A jake—one of those come-to-any-call juvenile male turkeys—rushes in the way they sometimes do, as a monster longbeard struts well out of range. You want the mature gobbler even though the 12-pounder is trying to get onto the barbecue grill and shape-shift into delicious turkey strips.

You spend so much time thinking about the turkey breast recipe, and the mature gobbler’s beard, spurs and fan you’d put on your wall, they both walk off.

Later in the week, after hearing a few shots in the area while scouting on your Yamaha ATV or Side-by-Side, the same shortbeard runs to your calls. The longbeard is nowhere to be seen. 

Do you shoot the jake reasoning the big boy is dead? Do you hold off thinking he’s breeding some hens and you’ll chance at killing him later in the season? 

What if the jake runs in on the last day of the season without the longbeard? Do you fill your tag on the adolescent shortbeard or let the turkey walk into summer and possibly into next spring as a two-year-old—even if he’s miles away by then? 

Jake or longbeard? Let us know what you’d do on the Yamaha Outdoors Facebook page.