One of the first physical details you size up when a gobbler walks into view is the beard.
Beards are often a matter of shooting a legal bird in the spring, as "bearded bird" state regulations also include bearded hens; other states are "gobblers only" and one, no jakes.
Mississippi, for instance, requires a 6-inch beard on a gobbler. (On average, gobbler beards grow 5 inches in a year, with many variations for late hatches, early hatches and so on.)
So you ask yourself . . .
Is the beard long or short? This detail can tell you if it's an adult gobbler or young one; well most of the time, but not always.
Then again, some beards break off, and the turkey might still be a long-spurred adult, and full-fanned.
Other times, a bull jake might have fair spurs (say 7/8s of an inch), but the expected irregular tail fan.
And there are many other oddities as beards go . . . including multiple examples.
Click through this blog to check out the record registered single-beard lengths with the National Wild Turkey Federation for the Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Gould's and Merriam's wild turkey subspecies.