Georgia Gobbler One In A Million

GON and several WRD biologists have never seen another gobbler like this.

Brad Gill | June 6, 2022

Donnie Findley recently sent GON a picture we’ve never seen before: a gobbler with side-by-side double beards. Although multi-bearded turkeys are fairly common, the beards have always run down the breast, not across. 

 “I got the turkey April 22 in Wilkes County,” said Donnie. “I think the beards are rather unique, they are both 11 inches arranged side by side. I have never seen this. Every other multiple-bearded turkey I have seen the beards were all vertical on the breast, not horizontal. He weighed 19 pounds, and the spurs were 5/8 inches.”

We asked WRD’s  State Wild Turkey Coordinator Emily Rushton if she had ever seen two beards side by side.

“No, I have never seen that before,” said Emily. “I asked some of our other biologists, and they haven’t ever seen it either. So I would say that is truly unique!

“Multiple beards are just a genetic anomaly; turkeys grow beards from a bump on the skin called a papilla, and multiple beards occur when there are multiple papillae present. I think this is just a rare occurrence of the papillae occurring next to each other rather than vertically.”

Donnie’s unique gobbler helped make his season a success, but he added that he had three coyotes come in to his calling during the spring gobbler season, and he killed two of them. However, he also saw two broken and eaten turkey eggs in a logging road. 

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