The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Hunting & Trapping Newsletter brings news of a veteran spring turkey hunter from New York that bagged a bird with rare triple spurs
This spring, retired DEC biologist and avid turkey hunter Bill Hollister knew he had found something rare after he bagged a gobbler in Columbia County. Once he had the bird in hand, he saw that it had three spurs on each leg!
In general, most gobblers have spurs and the length of the spurs is an indication of a bird’s age. On rare occasions, a gobbler will fail to develop one or both spurs and even more rare still, is a gobbler with two spurs on a leg. A bird with triple spurs is almost unheard of.
Over the past decade, DEC staff have examined thousands of legs from turkeys killed by hunters in the fall and have seen missing spurs and double spurs, but never a triple spur.
From the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks: “Mature gobblers without spurs, or with only one spur, comprise less than two percent of the total harvest. It is more common for gobblers to be missing a spur on only one leg than to not have any spurs. Another abnormality is when gobblers have multiple spurs.
According to Lovett Williams, a renowned turkey biologist in Florida, less than two dozen gobblers with double spurs have been reported.
There are only two reports of birds with triple spurs – one of which is from Mississippi.”
A triple spur is quite the find!
For more New York hunting news, visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/.