Scoring a Wild Turkey: What You Need To Know


The wild turkey is a gamebird found in North America. It is the heaviest member of the genus Meleagris and is considered the same species as the domestic turkey. The wild turkey is a large bird that is hunted for its meat. The meat is dark and flavorful. When harvested, the wild turkey can be scored. This is done to provide an estimate of the age and condition of the bird.

If you’re new to turkey hunting, you may wonder how to score a turkey. Scoring a turkey is important if you want to enter your bird into a hunting competition or if you want to keep track of your hunting successes. The NWTF has been keeping records since 1982. In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to score a turkey and what equipment you need to do so.

Largest Turkey Scored In the USA By the NWTF

The size of turkeys varies greatly depending on their habitat and diet. The largest wild turkey ever harvested in the US was 48 pounds. This was before records were kept. In 1982 The National Wild Turkey Federation set up a scoring system.

NWTF Records are as follows:

  • Heaviest Weight: 37.6 lbs From my state, Kentucky, in Lyon County
  • Longest Beard: 22.5″
  • Longest Spur: 2.5625″
  • Highest Overall Score: 195.5
  • Most beards: 13

Species Of Wild Turkey In North America

There are five different species of wild turkey in North America. The most abundant species is the Eastern Wild Turkey. This is the species most commonly hunted for sport and for its meat. The other four species are the Rio Grande, Merriam’s, Osceola, and Gould’s Wild Turkeys. The Gould’s is the largest species, with a record score of 27¼ inches, while the other species average around 24-25 inches. The Rio Grande is the smallest and lightest turkey species, with a record score of 19¼ inches. Whichever species of turkey you’re looking to score, make sure you’re familiar with the individual scoring system of that species.

What Equipment Do You Need to Score Your Turkey?

Measuring the size of your gobbler is easy when you have the right tools. You’ll need a few pieces of equipment to score a wild turkey accurately. These include a field ruler or measuring tape, a scale, and a calculator to accurately assess whether or not your bird qualifies as a winner. You will use the measuring tape to measure the size of the breast and neck and the length of the turkey’s wings.

What Do I Need To Do Before I Score My Turkey?

Want to register your bird with Wild Turkey Records? All you need is an NWTF Wild Turkey Records Registration Form. When registering, the hunter and primary witness must be current members of the NWTF, while the secondary witness does not need to be. You can take care of it online or download a registration form, email it (with supporting attachments), or mail it in – all directions are listed on the form.

Ensure to gather information, including the hunter’s name and contact info, harvest county, harvest date, and measurements such as weight, spur lengths (both), and beard length(s). If any measurements exceed special requirements (#1.5-inch spurs or over 12-inch beard), additional information will be necessary; these details can be found on the registration form. NWTF Registration Form

How To Score Your Turkey

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary equipment, you can begin scoring your turkey. 

  1. To get an accurate weight, you must use a certified scale and weigh your bird in pounds and ounces. It’s essential to convert the ounces to decimal form. For best results, it is recommended that the bird be weighed soon after it is killed not to lose fluids or dry out over time.
  2. You should measure the spurs on each leg along the outside center. Measurement should be made to the nearest 1/16 inch, and you should add both spur lengths and multiply it by 10. This yields a higher score because longer spurs typically mean that the gobbler has been through several hunting seasons, which makes them more valuable.
  3. Calculate the length of your turkey’s beard (measured from the center point of its protrusion to the tip) and convert it into a decimal form. Multiply the beard length twice; this is the total number of points for that part. If multiple beards exist, do this measurement individually and add their results together before multiplying. Take into account varying bristle lengths when measuring each beard.
  4.  Add up your score with the weight, spurs, and beards: This is your overall score for your turkey. For ease of use, you can also utilize our NWTF Scoring Calculator to come up with a high-scoring bird quickly!

How Can You Use a Scoring System To Improve Your Hunting Success?

A scoring system can be a great tool to help turkey hunters increase their success. By getting familiar with the different scoring systems and referring to them frequently, hunters can learn to identify turkeys of a specific size and target them more effectively.

Additionally, hunters can use a scoring system to identify areas where the turkeys are most likely to be found. For instance, if a hunter notices that the place they are hunting has a high ratio of turkeys with a certain score, they can focus their efforts on that region. This can help improve their chances of success and land them a trophy-sized bird.

Why Scoring a Wild Turkey Matters

Scoring a wild turkey is vital because it provides an estimate of the age and condition of the bird. Hunters can use this score to compare the size and weight of the turkey they harvested to other turkeys in their area. The score can also help hunters adjust their hunting strategies, particularly in areas with limited bag limits or strict regulations.

For example, in some states, hunters must adhere to a minimum size restriction for the turkeys they take. Using a score to determine the size of the turkey can help you adhere to these regulations.

Scoring a Turkey Is An Intergral Part Of Managing Your Hunting Area

The score of a turkey can also be an essential tool for managing hunting areas. Before turkey season opens, hunters can use the scores of wild turkeys in their area to make educated guesses about population sizes and trends. You can then use this information to adjust hunting regulations to ensure the sustainability of the population. By scoring turkeys, hunters can also assess the population’s overall health, identify areas with higher or lower populations, and decide where to hunt.


Scoring a turkey is a great way to track the progress of your hunting season. It’s also an important tool for managing hunting areas and ensuring the sustainability of wild turkey populations. By gathering the necessary equipment, carefully measuring the length and width of the bird, and totaling up the measurements, you can accurately score your turkey. Whether you’re looking to enter your bird in a competition or want to know how successful your 2024 hunting season has been, scoring a turkey is the best way to keep track of the birds in your area. offers quality turkey hunting supplies for the outdoorsman. Our products are designed to help you take down your turkey with ease.

We know that turkey hunting can be a challenging and rewarding experience. That’s why we offer only the best products in the industry. With our gear, you’ll be able to score your turkey soon. Order Online today and see for yourself what sets us apart from the competition. You won’t be disappointed!

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