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Curl your toes

A great friend of mine, Wayne Hensley, of Bedford, Va., harvested this Eastern wild turkey. Check out the twisted, long toenails. Have you ever seen anything like this or know what would cause these nails not to wear down?

— Gary Arrington, via email

NWTF:That’s one gobbler in need of a serious pedicure! I bet the rest of his flock is glad he is gone. He must have been tough to fight with those booger hooks flinging around like jousting sticks.

I have seen a few turkey feet with toenails that twist like the ones in the photo. If you look closely at the pad closest to the toenail, you will see there is less wear than on the other pads on each foot. I suspect the bird had a center toe deformity that angled the toe upward. Instead of the center toe digging in as he moved forward or scratched, the outer toes did the most of the work. Normal wear on the center toenail did not take place, allowing it to grow excessively. The spurs indicate he was probably a 2-year-old gobbler. The toenails may have looked like corkscrews if he had lived longer.



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