Bearded Hen Quick Facts
According to Realtree.com, a bearded hen is rare and considered an instant trophy. Bearded hens represent roughly under 10 percent of the female wild turkey population, while some biologists say it’s as little as 2 to 4 percent. If present, those beards are usually no longer than 8 inches, and are often thin.
However, in 2016, Josh Pruitt of Reidsville, North Carolina, shot a hen with a 9 1/2-inch beard. The bearded hen scored a 29.42 under the NWTF’s scoring system.
“The function of the wild turkey beard is not well understood, but it is suspected to play a role in mate selection by the female,” according to the National Wild Turkey Federation. “A longer beard signifies an older healthier male and thus a superior mate. Surprisingly, the beard is considered a modified type of feather.”