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Turkey Hunting

North Carolina Teen Bags Rare Six-Spurred Turkey

Thomas Beaman, a thirteen-year-old hunter from North Carolina, made an extraordinary achievement during the state's opening day of youth season. Beaman, a JAKES member and long-time turkey hunter, harvested a turkey with triple spurs on each leg, a remarkable feat for any hunter.

May 7, 20242 min read
Thomas Beaman with his triple spurred turkey
Photo courtesy of Matt Beaman

“The most common spur abnormality is when a wild turkey is missing one spur,” said Mark Hatfield, NWTF national director of science and planning. “It is very rare to see multiple spurs on a tom and extremely rare to see three spurs. I only know of a few birds that have been harvested with three spurs. Lovett Williams, renowned turkey biologist, talked about the rarity of three spurred turkeys and had only known of a few across his career.”

Accompanied by his father, Beaman arrived before first light, brimming with excitement for the day ahead. As the sun illuminated the landscape, the sounds of gobblers echoed through the woods. Initially encountering a group of jakes and hens, Beaman patiently awaited the arrival of a tom. Soon, his patience paid off as a singular gobbler made his way into view.

Moments later, two more hens appeared, accompanied by two gobblers approximately 100 yards away. With precision, Beaman readied himself for the impending shot as the hens led the trio of gobblers closer and closer. Then, amidst the commotion of the two gobblers fighting with his decoy, Beaman seized the opportune moment and successfully took down the lone gobbler that lingered further from the flock.

Upon closer inspection of his harvested turkey, Beaman was met with an astonishing feature—six spurs in total.

Photo courtesy of Matt Beaman
Photo courtesy of Matt Beaman

"I really didn’t know what it was at the time,” Beaman said. “I was confused and thought, ‘what is this, I’ve never seen this in my whole life’.”  

Recognizing the rarity of his feat, Beaman's amazement only intensified. "I’d only seen articles of birds with two extras," he added.

“The incidence of multiple spurs in wild turkey gobblers is pretty low,” said Bob Eriksen, A.K.A “Dr. Tom”, retired wildlife biologist. “Looking at some of my banding records from when I trapped wild turkeys, in a sample of about 900 gobblers, only about one percent of those birds had multiple spurs.”

Photo courtesy of Matt Beaman
Photo courtesy of Matt Beaman

In commemoration of this special turkey, Beaman plans to preserve the memory by having a fan mount created, showcasing the six spurs alongside a photograph of him and his family with the bird.

Filed Under:
  • Healthy Harvests
  • Hunting Heritage
  • Spring Turkey Season