Spurs

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greyghost
 
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Spurs

Postby greyghost » January 6th, 2009, 11:12 am

Talking with a friend today we talked a little on spur lengths.
 
What the main focus was and I am not to sure myself but the length of Gould's and Merriam's turkey's and why they seem shorter and not as long and developed as other species. Now I have only killed one Gould's and  a few Merriam's but, none although mature birds seemed to have that needle sharp point ( the Gould's was 7/8" on one but rounded the other one was 1/2", a little more streching the tape), a couple of the Merriam's were 3/4" give or take and broke or rounded), now I have seen others taken by hunters with nice hooks. (my luck, if it was not for bad luck, you know)
 
I thought maybe some of you who hunt these two species could give some insight.
 
We both sort of agreed, but weather genetics or terrain or what may cause it or I could be all wet and there is nothing to it.
 
Earl

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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Spurs

Postby Gobblerman » January 6th, 2009, 1:11 pm

Greyghost, you are certainly contemplating much about turkeys today!
 
I have hunted all of the five subspecies on a number of occasions each, but the Merriams is my "home turf" bird, so I have spent the better part of five decades pursuing them.  Your observations about Merriams and Goulds are accurate, based on my experience.  There is no doubt in my mind that Merriams and Goulds are genetically inclined to less-developed spurs than the other three.  And Goulds, in particular, are much less likely to have well-developed spurs than any of the others.  In fact, it is not at all unusual for Goulds gobblers to have only one poorly-developed spur, or none at all on either leg. 
 
You are correct, as well, in your comment about terrain playing a significant role in spur development.  Living in rocky terrain can impact the spurs of gobblers, regardless of subspecies.  Spurs can easily get rounded off from being bumped and rubbed against abrasive rocks.  I have even seen very old gobblers that have had the spur sheaths completely knocked off, presumably by impacts with rocks as they went about their lives.
 
Turkey hunters from different parts of the country like to compare spurs and beards from their birds.  We must be very careful in those comparisons to qualify them based on not only the subspecies taken, but also the environmental factors that effect these trophy characteristics.
 
Good topic,...keep thinking of things for us to discuss!
 
Jim
 
 

KPcalls
 
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Joined: January 2nd, 2009, 4:03 pm

RE: Spurs

Postby KPcalls » January 6th, 2009, 5:14 pm

I personally think it has more to do with the species. The long spurs of the osceola are according to most, due to the sandy soil from which they live...BS.. I've hunted eastern turkeys all over the south in sandy and soft soils and on the average the easterns can't compete with spur length of the osceola. I can understand the difference in beard length between species and origin. I hear the ice/snow of the north can breaks beards, also the osceola has longer legs therefor longer beards....

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Treerooster
 
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Location: Colorado

RE: Spurs

Postby Treerooster » January 7th, 2009, 6:19 am

Here are some Merriam spurs for ya. I think its genetics. All these birds are from mountainous type terrain and on public land. I don't hunt farmland Merriams so I don't know what their spurs look like. I do think the farmland Merriams have better beards though, from the few I have seen.
 
All these spurs are from 2 year old or older gobblers. I base this on the fact that they all had long beards and a full tail fan.
 
The 3 on the right are my best Merriam spurs. The bottom right is the biggest and is 1 1/16". Probably a 3 or maybe 4 year old. While more pointed I wouldn't call it sharp.
 
The 2 bottom ones on the left have one "spur" that is just a very small nub (see close up pic). On the bottom left set, one has the black spur that is really more typical of a jake spur.
 
The far left middle set was a boss gobbler for sure. At least of his 3 hen harem. He gave me quite a neat hunt too.
 
I have other spurs but they are just your typical 3/4" 2 year old type.


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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Spurs

Postby Gobblerman » January 7th, 2009, 12:30 pm

Excellent examples, Treerooster.  Your comments are exactly as mine would be concerning Merriams in our part of the country.  I have examined hundreds of spurs on Merriams from southern NM and the great majority of them have been from about 3/4" to a little over 1".  I have seen very rare instances of birds here with 1 1/2" spurs....two to be exact in well over forty years of hunting them (both of those birds were ambushed...but that's another story and topic for discussion).  And I have seen another couple that have had 1 3/8" spurs.  There have also been a smattering of birds with spurs in the 1 1/8" to 1 1/4" class, but there are probably twenty gobblers under 1" for every one that's over.
 
Of special note in this discussion is the fact that we will regularly take gobblers which I am certain are three years old and older that have 7/8" to 1" spurs that are well-developed, sharp (at least for our Merriams), and slightly hooked.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is a genetic trait typical of the Merriams in this part of the country.
 
Having said that, I think it is interesting to note, as well, that from what I have heard and seen, the Merriams up in the northern states are more likely to have longer and better spurs.  I suspect it could be related to habitat, but I would not be surprised if there are genetic differences in subspecies sub-populations, too.
 
Jim

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turkeydoghunter
 
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RE: Spurs

Postby turkeydoghunter » January 7th, 2009, 1:24 pm

here are the top spurs for both Longest Spur Gould's
Find your name in this list





 
Hunter's Name
Longest Spur
Harvested
Method
Typical

1
LEW TEALE, JR. (M)
OH (Image details)
1.8750"
Apr 19, 2004
YECORA, SN, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


2
KATHLEEN NEAULT (F)
CO (Image details)
1.6250"
Apr 14, 2006
CHIHUAHUA, SN, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


3
KATHLEEN NEAULT (F)
CO (Image details)
1.5625"
May 7, 2004
CHIHUAHUA, SN, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


4
J. FRANK HARRISON, III (M)
NC (Image details)
1.5000"
May 5, 2003
SN, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


5
DORIS SHYDA (F)
PA (Image details)
1.3750"
Apr 26, 2002
CH, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


6
LOUIS HAUBNER, JR. (M)
FL (Image details)
1.3125"
Apr 21, 2001
CM, MEX
M Loader
ATYPICAL


[hr]


7
GUY BROWN (M)
NV (Image details)
1.2500"
Apr 22, 2006
SN, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
JAMIE BULGER (M)
AL (Image details)
1.2500"
Apr 23, 1989
MADERA, CH, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
JAMES A. DAVIS (M)
PA (Image details)
1.2500"
May 9, 2007
CASAS GRANDES, CH, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
RUSTY HAYES (M)
GA (Image details)
1.2500"
Apr 29, 2006
DU, MEX
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
FRANK LAMBERTI (M)
NY (Image details)
1.2500"
May 1, 2000
CH, MEXsub species.......Longest Spur Merriam's
Find your name in this list





 
Hunter's Name
Longest Spur
Harvested
Method
Typical

1
RICHARD G. BROOKS (M)
SD (Image details)
2.2500"
Apr 1, 1988
MEADE, SD, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


2
DARRELL MADDEN (M)
NC (Image details)
2.1250"
Apr 27, 1997
NORTHWEST, NE, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


3
KATHLEEN NEAULT (F)
CO (Image details)
1.9375"
Apr 17, 2004
GARFIELD, CO, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
NORMAN PULLIAM (M)
SC (Image details)
1.9375"
Apr 10, 2007
GU, GUA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


4
BRUCE W. BOLICK (M)
NC (Image details)
1.8750"
Apr 25, 1989
SIOUX, NE, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
RANDY GASKINS (M)
SD (Image details)
1.8750"
Oct 26, 1991
MEADE, SD, USA
M Loader
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
RICHARD KIRBY (M)
NY (Image details)
1.8750"
Apr 9, 2005
CUSTER, SD, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
DARRELL MADDEN (M)
NC (Image details)
1.8750"
Apr 27, 2000
SHERIDAN, NE, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
BRADLEY REMMICH (M)
SD (Image details)
1.8750"
May 5, 2002
ZEBACH, SD, USA
M Firearm
TYPICAL


[hr]


 
JEFFREY J. THORNBURG (M)
NE (Image details)
1.8750"
Apr 20, 1994

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Gobblerman
 
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RE: Spurs

Postby Gobblerman » January 7th, 2009, 1:58 pm

Good point, tdh, the NWTF records are a good source of information on this and can be readily accessed on their website, for those that might not already be aware of it.

The Merriams listing, in particular, authenticates the theory that both genetics and location/habitat strongly determine spur length (and other traits).  Notice that almost every one of the Merriams listed under spur length is either from Nebraska or South Dakota.  I would bet if you took a map and marked the locations of those kills in relation to the overall Merriams populations in the country, you would find that they are statistically very close together.  I would also bet that the habitat type is also very similar, and probably not rocky like much of the Merriams habitat in both Colorado and New Mexico.
 
And another point....I believe the Merriams populations in both Nebraska and South Dakota are from transplanted birds (not native).  I would not be at all surprised to find out that both populations originated from the same trapping location, and hence carry the same genetic propensity for better spur development. 

Jim


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