Each hunter has their own reason for entering the woods. For some, it’s a time to relax. For others, it’s simply to put food on the table. And, for a select group, it’s for the sport and the trophies.
If it can be hunted or fished, there’s a way to score a trophy and a way to measure it as compared to past game taken or those hunted by other sportsmen.
Since spring turkey hunting is underway in most areas, it’s a good time to explain how to properly score a turkey as set forth by the National Wild Turkey Federation.
First thing’s first: All measurements need to be taken in 1/16-inch increments and then converted into decimals. Those hunters looking to get an official score need to have those measurements verified by a current National Wild Turkey Federation member from the state where the bird was harvested.
To start, simply weigh your turkey in pounds and ounces and convert ounces to decimal form. Next, pull out the old tape measurer and get a length measurement for each spur.
To do so correctly, measure along the outside center of the spur, from the point at which the spur comes out of the leg skin to the tip of the spur. Measure the other spur and then add the measurements and multiply by 10—that’s the number of points you can chock up to the spurs alone.
Now, take your tape measurer and measure the beard length. Start from the center point of where the beard comes out of the turkey skin and record the length out to the tip and then convert it to decimals.
Take that figure and multiply it by two, and that’s the number of points you receive for the beard length. If you’ve taken a bird with multiple beards—it’s rare, but it’s known to happen—simply measure each beard, convert the fractional inches to decimals and then add the lengths of all beards together and multiply by two to get your beard score.
To get a final score on your trophy turkey, add together the weight, the points for the spurs and the beard points and you’ll have your turkey’s point total.
For those of you out there who are better at shooting turkeys than converting numbers to decimal figures, here’s an easy breakdown for your needs.
If you have a measurement that is 1/8 of an inch, the decimal figure is .1250 of an inch. That would mean 2/8 of an inch is .2500, 3/8 is .3750 and so on.
For those with a measurement of 1/16 of an inch, the decimal figure is .0625 of an inch, making 2/16 a decimal of .1250 and 3/16 a .1875 and so on.
For ounces, remember that it takes 16 ounces to make a pound and that one ounce is .0625 of a pound, thus making two ounces .1250 of a pound and three ounces .1875 of a pound and so on.
If you want to double check your scoring, simply go to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s scoring calculator and punch in your decimals by going here. There is also a complete conversion chart for inches and ounces to decimal figures on that page.
Photo: Bob MacInnes