Some turkey hunters shoot jakes, others don't. That leads to conversations about "The Great Jake Debate" and whether shortbeards should ever, never or sometimes be killed.
No biological reason exists on whether or not hunters should kill a jake. If a jake is taken legally, no biological backlash comes from harvesting that bird, other than reducing the potential of 2 year olds that could be in the area the following year (which can be a lot of fun to hunt).
Pulling the trigger on a shortbeard, or not, comes down to personal preference.
Young or old, every hunter can have a different concept of what is a trophy turkey. Many veteran turkey hunters might have no jake rules for themselves, but not for the people they take hunting, especially children or novice hunters.
Other hunters shoot jakes for different reasons; maybe because the bird put on a good show and the harvest will top off a hunt or maybe because it’s getting late in the season and Thanksgiving dinner depends on it.
Regardless of the reason, if a jake is taken and the hunter is appreciative of the harvest, many believe it is a good take. Besides, the best way to gain the knowledge of how to kill a turkey is to kill one.
Some landowners and states have rules against shooting jakes however, so know the limitations of your location before making the personal decision to unload your gun on one.