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I consider myself average. I've hunted 16 years and killed 22 gobblers and seen about a dozen or more die at the hands of hunting partners.
So I hear people say and have read people say well that was a two year old I heard. Now sometimes I can definitely tell a Jake. Sometimes a bird sounds better and shows up with a stubby Jake beard.
I am fortunate to hunt with a call maker and he has tons of experience. Asked him same question and we debated it. He then got a call from another call maker and this guy guides in NY and Florida. He said he put a guy on a good bird. The guy says that's a Jake when he heard it. The guide knew better called it in and it had 1 3/8 spurs.
So I am suspect when people judge a bird based on it's gobble. I have been right a few times when I hear a Jake but I don't know if I could ever tell a two year old from a three or four year old. Some sound better than others but does that translate into age?
 

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i think you are spot on.... sometimes can tell a jake but no way of knowing 100 percent what it is
 

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I hear 23 jakes and a long beard daily. I will say this; I can tell the longbeards gobble from the jakes but, not every time. Many times gobbles vary in intensity. Sometimes they shout it and sometimes they gobble much softer.

Once I worked a bird for quite sometime,convinced it was a longbeard, it had thunderous gobbles and I was certain. When he showed up I thought nah that jake can't be him until he gobbled again.

We had an older bird visiting daily that had a crazy loud gobble.
 

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<span style="font-weight: bold"> Only "for sure" thing about a gobble..

It was made from a turkey....

I had 2 different jakes fool me into thinking longbeard this spring...Both had full roll gobbles and quite loud...</span>
 

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Usually you can tell the difference between a jake and an older bird. For me if I hear a group of what sounds like jakes that may have some two year olds gobbling together, I will always go after a single more mature sounding bird.
 

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I can't tell the difference all the time but then again I can't correctly age them by the beard and spur measurements like some people can!

3 years ago I played the cat and mouse game with a bird for a couple hours. Great gobble and a full fan. When I finally got him in range I saw that he had a stubby beard. I didn't care, he was more of a worthy opponent than a lot of longbeards I've shot. He turned out to be a Game commision banded jake that I was told was part of an early hatch. I was told he had enough extra time to molt his tail feathers and perfect his gobble. I don't regret shooting him at all.
 

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In general but not always, one can tell the difference between a Jake and a older gobbler. However, I could not tell the difference between 2, 3, or 4 year olds. If they have a full fan and a longbeard and is in range, then it's hammer time
 

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I can ALMOST always tell if it's a jake or a mature bird. But I have been fooled on a few occasions..........

Anybody telling you they can age a gobbler at 2 or 3 or 4 years by its gobble...........hope you have your rubber knee boots on !!
 

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I can tell the difference sounds of calls hunters are using to call turkeys,be it a glass,slate,tube, diaphragm,box, trumpet or whatever,have hunted spring turkey do to my job most every day beginning in 1968,hunted five states,called in well over a 1000 birds before during and after the season.(still cant tell the difference)
 

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Most situations, you can distinguish a jake from an old gobbler.

<span style="text-decoration: underline">Not always!</span>

I've called in several jakes during spring hunts over the years that I'd have bet were mature turkeys. I also have a bird mounted from a few years ago that I almost walked away from. He had a terrible gobble!
 

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People think they can tell the difference because they have a 50/50 chance of being right.Other than hearing a bunch together and assuming it's a band of jakes,you can't tell by the gobble itself.
 

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I'm really shocked at the number that post on here saying they can't tell the difference. Many times you can't. Some jakes sound like mature birds. But many many times, you can.

My experience with a specific jake gobble is more or less a half a gobble, or almost a high pitched sound that is hard to explain. This is very noticeable with younger jakes.
 

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Denny Gulvas lives his life studying,filming and recording turkeys.I'm sure there's few people who have called in as many or heard as many as him and he claims that he can't tell the difference.That would mean that I sure as heck can't.
 

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If a gobbler sounds young, I will still try to call it in. I assume it's an adult. I don't care what a gobbler sounds like.

I've had jakes come in without gobbling. I've had them come in with longbeards. I've had them come in giving nothing but a tentative "cluck." I've had them come in acting like mature birds. I've had longbeards come in sounding like jakes. You never know for sure, so call them all in.

Steve.
 

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Hunted Spring Gobblers for 44 years and I can always tell the difference between a young Tom and a mature gobbler.....
when he is on the ground at my feet.

I worked a great sounding gobbler this year in OH for four mornings before I got him into range to observe he was a Jake. Called in 15 Jakes this year. Now I play them all like mature birds until I can get them into sight and determine they are not big old Toms and they are not accompanied by mature gobblers.

On several occasions when I have traded calls with a group of gobblers the Jakes come in first and if there is one in the group the wise old mature bird stands back at a distance. On three occasions had the coy old gobbler sneak in behind me while the young gobblers strutted in front of me.

If I believe I am hearing a Jake but no other gobblers are sounding off, I try to keep him calling whereas, I have had mature gobblers come in to get between the Jake calling and my hen calling...sometimes the old birds call giving away their location and other times they sneak in quite.

I only shoot the mature Toms, but calling in any gobbler is an exciting experience.
 

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Other then it's a turkey gobbling that's it! I was working a "Jake" 2yrs ago and out steps the largest longbeard I've ever seen at 6 steps! Never got the gun up cause it was a "Jake" so when I tried to raise the gun as he was walking away at 20yds I didn't make out so well!!
 

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I've heard a few gobbles in my day, and the only time I can tell the difference 100% of the time is when comparing gobbler gobbles with hen gobbles. As far as I can tell, hen gobbles suck. Of course, I've only heard one hen do it, but she must have gobbled 200 times, and a lot of them were from about 25 yards and right in front of us in plain sight. She was giving it her all and seemed quite proud of the sounds she was making, but she really did suck. Jakes often suck too, but certainly not always. Some toms have unique gobbles, and I think all toms can vary their gobbling, so I never assume that I can tell what age bird is making those sounds that send tingles up my spine, just as I never assume how old the turkey is in judging him by his beard.
 

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Silverspur said:
In general but not always, one can tell the difference between a Jake and a older gobbler. However, I could not tell the difference between 2, 3, or 4 year olds. If they have a full fan and a longbeard and is in range, then it's hammer time
I'm with this. But sometimes a long beard may with that goofy sounding Jake. My buddy and I hit a hollow this spring and the only answer I got while trying to locate was a Jake. Told my buddy it sounded like a jake. I was tempted to just move on be he said you never know. Learned my lesson real quick when we closed the distance and the whole hollow filled up with gobbles and some were quite decent sounding.

I guess my rule of thumb from now on is you hear a gobble, hunt it. Than Jake may just be an indicator that there is a long beard in there two that won't talk because he is with a hen or something. What's the worse that can happen? You calm I a Jake and work him? I'll take that any day.
 
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