Right now, some of you have tagged out. Your season might even be over. You’re basking in the glory of the spring hunt. The post-game win stuff. Grilling turkey and telling stories. All that. Meanwhile, maybe a bud or two, is still carrying a tag where seasons are still open. They’ve got a rabid howler monkey on their backs. They just can’t seem to close the deal on a longbeard this season.

Do you think they should shoot the next jake in range? Would you in that situation? Biologists around the country are likely to tell you there’s no reason not to take a shortbeard. They’re legal in most states, good eating, and they often even gobble well, especially late in the season as pecking order continues to shift. So what’s the shame in dumping a jake?

Well, for one, we’re all primed to hunt and tag two-year-old longbeards or older. We’re programmed. The articles we read, the camp conversations, outdoor TV, and so on, all suggest you’re lame if you put the smackdown on a shortbeard. Jakes are for young hunters and newbies. Others say: “You can’t eat the beard.” These are the guys who are happy with a little ol’ spikehorn in deer camp. They’re just content to be in camp, and have some venison for the freezer. And sometimes they even kill a big buck. Or longbeard.

Where do you stand on this Strut Zoners? It’s late in the spring turkey season. Maybe the LAST day. Do you pull the trigger on a jake in range, or do you let that bird walk into adulthood, and eat that tag?