Nowadays the word "jake" can unfortunately be a term of derision. That's a shame. It's true even if the shortbeard gave you a good hunt, gobbled hard, then later provided a memorable meal for the camp crew.
Some hunters think killing a longbeard is a measure of ego boosting, when in fact that two-year-old kamikaze tom may have run in and strutted to barely marginal hen yelping from a diaphragm call.
Because he was crazy to breed what he thought was a hen, the tom got shot.
Me? I think they're all good. Jakes. Toms. Legal fall hens.
When You Shouldn't
Shooting a jake is not legal in Mississippi, for instance, as the state has a 6-inch beard rule, and most juvenile gobblers have beards 5 inches or less.
Be sure to check your state's regulations, too.
And hey, maybe you don't want to, even if they're legal. That's cool, too.
Ever shoot a young gobbler? Never take one? It's all good.
Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.