How Do You Score Your Gobbler?
The Department does not maintain a database of turkey records but provides the following information as a courtesy to interested turkey hunters. Wild turkeys are scored using a combination of their weight, beard length, and length of each spur. Multipliers are applied to each of these measurements to calculate a total score. The weight is multiplied by one, the beard length is multiplied by 2, and the length of each spur is multiplied by 10. Before adding all of the measurements together, each measurement is converted to a decimal. For example, a bird that weighed 20 pounds and 2 ounces would be converted to a weight score of 20.125. Birds with multiple beards are classified as atypical and are included in a separate records category. In the case of multiple beards, the length of each beard is multiplied by 2, and all beards are added into the total score.
The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) maintains a national database where users can compare their bird to others taken in Virginia, in other states, and among other subspecies. The NWTF Scoring website provides a scoring calculator, instructions on submitting a turkey to their database, and a “Turkey Record Search” feature that allows users to search for record weight, beard length, and spur length for typical and atypical categories as well as birds with multiple spurs. A current NWTF member or another licensed hunter from the state where the bird was harvested must verify all measurements for birds submitted to the NWTF Records. Other contests or competitions may require birds to be weighed or measured different than the NWTF Records. Be sure to check the rules of such competitions to determine appropriate measuring techniques.
As of mid-May 2015, the national record beard length is 22.5 inches from a bird killed in Texas, the national record spur length is 2.25″ from a bird killed in Indiana, the national record weight comes from a bird killed in Kentucky that weighed 37.6 pounds, and the overall or total record can be claimed by a bird killed in South Carolina that scored 118 total points.