both research and time in the field have enabled me to determine the difference .
if he is strutting , i look first at the tail fan.
if he is walking in folded up , i try to judge by body size and also try to profile the beard.
if he is out of sight and gobbling , his gobble will sometimes give away his age , as a jake , though i have seen and heard jakes that sounded like older birds.
in the fall , i look for that pink face , beard , feather color , and size. if it is a fall brood flock ,,,,i'll give out a KEE KEE run gobble . i've seen it make all the jakes gobble and go into fighting.
the time spent in the woods observing flocks ; listening to them ; watching their body language and mannerism really sets the hook on the research in books and magazine articles .
''old school turkey tactics''