What Kind Of Turkeys Are In Missouri?
- Dennis Hart
Jason L. Isabelle Resource Scientist Department of Conservation of the State of Missouri – Not much more than a half century ago, Missouri’s wild turkey population was in danger of vanishing from the landscape. It was predicted that there were less than 2,500 turkeys left in a total of only 14 counties in the state of Missouri by the early 1950s.
- Their recovery is seen as a shining example of the state’s remarkable achievements in the field of conservation.
- The eastern subspecies of the wild turkey, which is one of five subspecies that are indigenous to North America, may be found in Missouri.
- The number of turkeys suffered a precipitous decrease in the early 1900s over most of the eastern United States, where they had previously been prolific.
The population in Missouri was brought dangerously close to extinction as a result of unrestricted hunting and the degradation of its natural habitat, which was brought on by widespread deforestation, uncontrolled burning, and free-range grazing. An historic wildlife restoration project was not able to get off the ground until the early 1950s, when intense habitat management on many Ozark refuges and a variation of the cannon net were implemented.
- The cannon net gave the scientists the ability to catch flocks of wild turkeys in portions of the state where there was an abundance of the birds and then move them to other regions of the state that had suitable habitat for them.
- Initiated in the middle of the 1950s, Missouri’s turkey restoration operations would last more than two decades and include the translocation of more than 2,600 birds to a total of 213 locations spread across 91 counties.
In less than half a century, Missouri’s turkey population went from the brink of extirpation, or localized extinction, to an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 birds, among the greatest numbers in the nation. There are a lot of people in Missouri who own private land who are interested in establishing and preserving habitat for wild turkeys.
Are there Merriam turkeys in Missouri?
The wild turkey is one of the most extensively dispersed game animals in North America, with huntable populations in every state other than Alaska. This makes the wild turkey one of the most popular game species. There are five distinct subspecies that make up the country’s overall population of around seven million wild turkeys, according to some estimates.
- The fact that each subspecies differs in appearance, behavior, and sound should inform your strategy when you go hunting for them.
- Subspecies of the Eastern Turkey The flock size in the East is around 5.3 million, making it the most populated region for turkeys in the country.
- They can be found in every state that is east of the Missouri River, with the exception of Washington, Montana, and California, where there are transplant populations.
The average weight of an Eastern turkey is greater than 25 pounds, making it the biggest of all the turkey subspecies. They also have the largest beards and the loudest gobbles, and they compete with Osceolas for the longest spurs and the darkest feathers.
In addition, they have the loudest gobbles. Copper to bronze best describes the color of their tail fans. Traditional turkey hunters believe that the Eastern subspecies is the most challenging to hunt of all the turkey species. However, this most certainly has less to do with their level of intellect and more to do with the densely populated states in which they reside.
It’s quite unusual that you’ll discover a tom that hasn’t had run-ins with other hunters that engage in sweet-talking, which means that they have a low tolerance for lousy calling and decoys that are unrealistic. Subspecies of the Merriam’s Turkey Strongholds for Merriam’s may be found in virtually every state west of the Missouri River, making it one of the most extensively distributed dictionaries in the world.
- Their general population, on the other hand, is a great deal smaller.
- The Merriam’s flocks are dispersed over the region because there are more predators and there is less habitat.
- The Merriam’s turkey has the softest gobble of any of the turkey subspecies, as well as the shortest beards, the shortest spurs, and the lightest-colored fans (apart from the Gould’s).
Even if hybridization with Easterns has changed the appearance of certain flocks in the Great Plains, a pure Merriam’s will have tailfeathers that are a buff tint. Merriam’s are believed to be the most manageable of the subspecies to hunt due to the fact that they often inhabit more rocky locations.
- Unhunted birds in the Western United States typically respond with greater eagerness to a hunter’s call and are more likely to walk right up to their decoys.
- However, due to the harsh environments in which they choose to reside, such as the mountains of Idaho or the deserts of New Mexico, it is not always simple to find them.
Turkeys of the Rio Grande subspecies The population numbers of Rio Grande turkeys are comparable to those of Merriam’s turkeys, despite the fact that their range is much more restricted. In spite of the fact that they may be found as far west as Hawaii and as far east as North Dakota, their major range is from Kansas to Texas and from Washington to California.
Rios might be seen as as a form of transitional language between Easterns and Merriam’s. They have spurs and beards that are about the same size, and their tail feathers are a brown color. The environment that they call home is somewhere in the center as well, and it can be any of these things: dry plains, scrub land, cottonwood bottoms, or large-scale agriculture.
Rios are known to have a wandering lifestyle, much like Merriam’s. There is a good chance that you won’t find them at the roosting area in the late morning, afternoon, or nighttime. Their hangouts are, on the other hand, more predictable. Because Rio country’s food sources and roosting locations are typically easy to spot, you should have little trouble determining where the birds spend the most of their time throughout the day.
- Subspecies of the Gould’s Turkey Arizona and New Mexico are the only places in the United States where Gould’s turkeys may be found, but their natural habitat extends all the way into Mexico and almost all the way into Central America.
- The Gould’s turkey has the longest legs and the biggest feet of all of the subspecies of turkey.
Their tailfeathers are nearly as white as snow, and their fans are a light tint overall, making them quite easy to recognize. As is the case with Merriam’s, the most challenging aspect of killing a Gould’s is actually approaching them. They are most likely to be found in hilly places, which may be challenging to reach and hazardous to travel through.
- Gould’s are the least hunted subspecies in the country.
- Osceola Turkey Subpecies Osceola turkeys are exclusively found in Florida.
- It is believed that there are around 90,000 birds in the population, with the majority of flocks residing in the interior of the state.
- They have the longest limb-hangers of any turkey subspecies, which more than makes up for the fact that they are lighter and have shorter beards than other turkey subspecies.
Similar to an Easterns, Osceola turkeys have bronze-colored fans and thunderous gobbles, Cracker region is home to a huge population of these birds, who spend their days with cattle in open pastures, palmetto hammocks, and pine wood stands. Their level of experience with previous hunting pressure is a major factor in determining whether or not they will approach a decoy arrangement.
Are there Rio turkeys in Missouri?
Large flocks of larger Rio Grande turkeys may be found in the state of Missouri’s agricultural districts. These turkeys are very well recognized among the state’s population. In addition to a solitary Rio Grande turkey, this region in northern Missouri has the extra benefit of being able to explore the area with binoculars as well as the opportunity to work a roost.
What are the 5 types of turkeys?
The majority of hunters just refer to a bird as “a turkey.” The males have spurs and a beard, and they are the ones that gobble. When compared to gobblers, hens are much smaller, and the feathers on their heads are not as colorful. They may all be heard yelping, clucking, cuttling, and puttling.
- That pretty well sums it up, but did you know that there are five distinct subspecies of turkeys found in North America? According to information provided on the website of the National Wild Turkey Federation, there are two species of turkeys: the North American and the ocellated.
- There are five subspecies of the North American species, and they are called the Eastern, the Florida (Osceola), the Rio Grande, and the Merriam’s and Gould’s.
Within the United States, each subspecies can be found in a distinct geographic location. The ocellated turkey is a distinct species that may be found in Mexico, northern Belize, and northern Guatamala. Its habitat spans an area that is 50,000 square miles.
Billy Yargus is a world-renowned turkey caller who has experienced the thrill of hunting all five subspecies of the bird. When he was 13 years old, he went on his first turkey hunt, and in 1982, he began hunting turkeys with a bow. His love for going turkey hunting eventually prompted him to compete in bird calling contests.
Yargus has triumphed in a variety of tournaments, garnering victories in the NWTF Grand Nationals, world championships, Missouri state championships, the United States Open, and a number of other, more localized events. He explained, “I didn’t have any intentions for any of it, but I loved it so much that I just kept going.” “When I started getting more possibilities, I began hunting in a variety of states.
I wasn’t trying to compete in a world slam by any means (all North American subspecies and the ocellated turkey). I just just had the opportunity to go hunting for a variety of turkeys in a number of different locations. It was a (fantastic) adventure to have. It is a highly fulfilling experience to travel to a location that is at least a twenty-four hour journey away from one’s home in order to kill a different sort of bird that behaves and seems differently.” Now, in addition to working a regular job during the day, Yargus creates turkey calls for Woodhaven Custom Calls and is in charge of the company.
Because he is appreciative of his experiences as a turkey caller and hunter, he has agreed to share his knowledge with Bowhunting 360 in the hope that it may assist novices in distinguishing between the unique traits of each of the five North American subspecies.
We bombarded him with questions and asked him to rate the species in the following order: Which of these subspecies do you have the greatest experience with? “since I am now residing in Missouri. Eastern Following the Osceola would be the Rio, then Merriam’s, then Gould’s, and finally the Rio again. After that, the Osceola would be in second place “he claimed.
Which one do you enjoy hunting the most and why? “Eastern. There is something about a turkey walking through the forest and gobbling loudly as it does so that causes the sound to reverberate through the woods. I would say that Gould’s is my second favorite restaurant overall.” Which of the species’ subspecies is the most challenging to hunt? “Once again toward the east If you are able to hunt them and kill them on a regular basis, I believe you will be able to hunt any of the other subspecies with great success no matter where you go.” Because the Eastern subspecies is found across three-quarters of the United States, the questions and their responses are both fascinating and motivating.
How many wild turkey are in Missouri?
On Turkey Ridge Trail in St. Louis County, a dense carpet of fallen leaves totally covered the hikers’ feet. According to Ed Leutwiler, a lifelong volunteer with the Missouri Department of Conservation, a forest that has lost its leaves is an excellent location during this time of year for observing Missouri’s biggest bird, the wild turkey.
But sadly, the loud crunching sounds of Leutwiler’s party of seven hopeful turkey watchers on a Nov.18 stroll at Rockwood Reservation were not ideal. As he went on to explain that wild turkeys have exceptional hearing, he stated things like “they hear us approaching, and they run.” Leutwiler has been leading turkey-watching hikes for more than ten years, and he has done so several other times during the year as well.
The walk takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving. But he’s only seen a turkey once. According to Leutwiler, in the past, there were so many wild turkeys in the state of Missouri that residents could have just strolled out their back doors and slaughtered one for dinner.
- However, by the 1930s, there were only a few thousand people living there, and this was due to the fact that more and more of the land was being used for agriculture and development.
- Beginning in 1950, the work of the Missouri Department of Conservation helped to restore the wild turkey population, which reached its highest point in 2004 with around 600,000 individuals.
But now the numbers are on a steady fall, with the current level little over 400,000. The problem isn’t the overhunting of mature turkeys, conservationists argue. It’s because the chicks, or poults, aren’t surviving at the rates they previously were, says the department’s turkey specialist Reina Tyl.
During a webinar held in June to discuss the reasons why people in Missouri are observing a decline in the number of wild turkeys, Tyl stated that “the amount of turkeys we observe is determined mostly by production, not survival or harvest of adult turkeys.” According to her, the wetter springs that have occurred in the state of Missouri have made it more difficult for chickens to successfully nest.
It’s possible that there aren’t as many of the protein-rich insects and invertebrates that young turkeys find so irresistible. This indicates that it takes poults a longer amount of time to develop stronger, which leaves them susceptible to predators for a longer period of time.
Tyl has spent the past year collaborating with researchers at the University of Missouri to investigate the factors that contribute to the healthiest and most productive nesting environments for hens and their offspring. They are in the process of assessing their initial collection of data right now.
According to Tyl, “a good habitat will supply everything a hen and her brood needs, including food and water, as well as refuge from bad weather and predators.”
Can you shoot a turkey vulture in Missouri?
A depredation permission for black vultures was secured from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service by the Missouri Farm Bureau. This authorization allows livestock producers in Missouri to kill the protected bird. Credit goes to the Missouri Department of Conservation for this image.
- According to the officials, the incursion of black vultures into Missouri has resulted in horrific and perhaps lethal difficulties for the state’s farmers.
- According to an article in the Joplin Globe from 2013, Charlie Besher said that black vultures were responsible for the deaths of four calves and a cow on his property west of Cape Girardeau.
The first time it happened, he saw a dead calf with its eyes pecked out and scared off the birds as they began assaulting a cow. According to the newspaper, the cow died later from septic internal injuries after the birds had attacked her. Besher was quoted in the Joplin Globe at that time as saying, “It’s going to do nothing except keep getting worse, I’m afraid.” Despite the fact that black vultures are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a program will soon make it possible for owners of cattle to kill these birds.
Through a trial program run by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Missouri Farm Bureau was able to get a statewide depredation permit. This grant gives the Farm Bureau the authority to issue sub-permits to livestock owners who are “having issues with black vultures.” According to the Missouri Farm Bureau, the sub-permits make it possible to kill black vultures that threaten cattle.
[Citation needed] According to a statement made by Kelly Smith, senior director of marketing and commodities for the Missouri Farm Bureau, who was interviewed by St. Louis Public Radio, “the birds have basically been murdering baby calves as they are being born.” Scores will be given to applicants based on prior losses of livestock, the number of animals kept in the agricultural operation, the number of black vultures and nests in the area, and the applicant’s county’s position within the state’s ranking of livestock.
- Applicants that are successful will be granted permission to kill up to three birds, with the exact number depending on their score.
- According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, black vultures have been expanding their territory in the southern half of the state, despite the fact that turkey vultures make up a larger percentage of the state’s population.
Both species consume carrion, which can include dead animals found on the road, but black vultures also hunt opossums, skunks, and other small animals, which can include cattle. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, before to the turn of the century, they were highly valued in the southeastern United States for their work as “slaughterhouse cleaners.” According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, “then, erroneous worries of them transmitting illness prompted people to shoot them, capture them, and poison them into the 1970s.” According to the state wildlife officials, their numbers and range are expanding as a result of the rising availability of nesting sites, the changing temperature, and the abundance of roadkill.
Tom Cooper, a migratory bird program coordinator for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, stated in a press release that “This program balances the requirement to manage black vultures causing harm together with the aim to maintain sustainable populations across their range.” The first version of this story was posted online at 6:08 PM on March 29, 2021.
Chacour Koop is a reporter for Real Time who works out of the Kansas City bureau. His previous employers include the Galveston County Daily News, the Associated Press, and the Daily Herald in Chicago.
What is the hardest turkey to hunt?
For some of you, the spring turkey hunting season in 2010 has already begun. The preparations for Hawaii’s island Rios are under underway (March 1-31). The season in Florida for Osceolas opened on Saturday, March 6 (South Zone: March 6-April 11), and will soon open for both Osceolas and panhandle “intergrade” birds, including Easterns (Central/North Zones: March 20-April 25).
- The season for Osceolas in Florida began on Saturday, March 6 (South Zone: March 6-April 11).
- Others will start in just a few short weeks.
- In your experience, which subspecies of turkey is the most challenging to raise? What about the hardest-fighting bird you’ve ever taken down? An old friend from the south who is part of the large network of turkey hunters that I retain commented, with a drawl typical of Texans, that the Rio Grande gobbler “had to be the toughest of ’em all.” “Perhaps,” I mused to myself.
“But not in comparison to some of the Easterns that were unkillable when I went after them throughout the years.” Let me be clear: I adore every single one of them. I travel the nation looking for them throughout each hunting season. But how do I determine the order of difficulty for the four key events that make up the Grand Slam? First among Easterns: Because of the pressure from hunters and the confinement of its habitat, this subspecies is the most difficult to find anywhere in the country.
- Turkey hunters may be found in the Eastern states in greater numbers than in any other region.
- It’s possible that a three-year-old Alabama Eastern longbeard is the most challenging type of turkey there is.
- From my own experience, I can tell you that there are situations when birds that might not gobble first would nonetheless spit and drum right on top of you.
I once put forth a solid effort to hunt in Alabama for five days, both in the mornings and in the afternoons, but I was unsuccessful in bagging the sole strutting shutmouthed gobbler that came into range. We are interested in getting that one back. Bearded-bird-only hunting seasons in Florida in the fall lead to a large number of hens remaining in the area in springtime.
Hens that will take your gobbler even as it responds to your calls and attempts to eat it. Every year, those looking to complete the Grand Slam put pressure on these turkeys from the Sunshine State. They are able to remain stealthy and watchful like Alabama birds, roosting over gator-infested swamps, flying to dry ground, and wandering like ghosts all day until they fly back to the trees where they roost.
The most recent Oscie that I brought within shooting range demanded that I first empty my call vest at him. Tough. No.3 Merriam’s: In Merriam’s territory, such as Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, getting to the birds may be challenging, whether you get there by truck, ATV, hiking in, or doing all three of those things.
- This certainly adds a degree of complexity to the endeavor.
- Also occurs during the springtime.
- Many individuals get together to form a flock, which results in an elevated level of vigilance.
- Yes, certain turkeys feel less pressure in wilderness regions, and they may respond more readily to your calls if you make them there.
I really doubt that others do. After all that hiking up steep mountains, I’d be happy to take it easy for a while. No.4: Rio Grandes: Roosting habitat can be difficult to find and can range from live oak trees to man-made buildings. Gobblers had to take the fourth spot on my list despite the fact that it is often much simpler to locate them and find a place for them to roost in Rio country.
- There are around 600,000 turkeys in Texas, of which some may be found in the eastern section of the state and are referred to as Eastern turkeys.
- In areas like Maine, where there are roughly 50,000 turkeys and only about half of them are gobblers, doing that is a simpler task than trying to kill one of the birds.
There is one particular reason why I adore Texas Rios. If you manage to screw up your plan with one gobbler, there is probably another one nearby that you can con. I’ve already aced the Big Four, but I haven’t even bothered to look at Gould’s and ocellated yet.
How can you tell the difference between an eastern Turkey and a Rio Grande turkey?
Characteristics of the Eastern Wild Turkey Hen in Terms of Her Body It is estimated that wild turkeys have between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers covering their body. Insulation, lift during flying, the feeling of touch, and adornment are all functions that these feathers fulfill.
- During its lifespan, a wild turkey will go through five different stages of feather replacement known as molts.
- These stages are known as natal, juvenile, first basic, alternative (first winter), and basic (adult plumage).
- Toms have body feathers that are iridescent copper, bronze, red, green, and gold in hue, each with its own unique color pattern.
Even though hens have the same colors as their male counterparts, those hues are greatly subdued and dimmed, giving the impression that the female is brown. Beards on gobblers are made up of a cluster of long follicles that grow in the middle of their chest and may be anywhere from one inch to ten inches long.
- The beard of an eastern does not change in appearance throughout the course of its existence, in contrast to the remainder of the body feathers, which go through five molts.
- It starts to become noticeable when the turkey is about 6 and 7 months old, and it will continue to develop throughout its whole life.
Beard of the Turkey It is possible for hens to grow beards, although this is a rare occurrence, and when it does happen, the beards are significantly shorter than those of toms. Both hens and toms have heads that are covered in feathers to a far lesser extent than their legs and feet, which are naked and range in color from pink to red.
Toms develop a spur on the bottom third of their leg during the course of their lives. This spur begins as a spherical bump but eventually develops into a point that is around 2 inches long. The Tom spur. Hens, like roosters, have a spur, however their spurs are much smaller and more rounded. Gobblers may grow to a height of 40 inches and weigh between 17 and 21 pounds.
Hens weigh between 8 and 11 pounds and stand at a height of 30 inches. Poults are just 2 ounces in weight when they are first hatched, making them rather little. Both the tips of the tail feathers and the top tail coverts of Rio Grande wild turkeys are colored differently than those of Eastern wild turkeys, allowing for easy differentiation between the two species (feathers of the lower back, covering the base of the tail feathers).
What are the 4 types of turkeys?
All About Birds is responsible for this photograph. You may educate yourself on the many subspecies of turkeys that are found in your region now that you have decided what type of terrain you will hunt turkeys on. When it comes to the physical look of the bird and the level of aggression in its calls, each subspecies has its own unique set of features.
- There are six subspecies of wild turkeys: the Eastern wild turkey, the Osceola wild turkey, the Gould’s wild turkey, the Merriam’s wild turkey, and the Rio Grande wild turkey.
- The Ocellated wild turkey is the smallest of the wild turkey subspecies.
- Turkeys, in general, eat a wide variety of foods and like to live in areas of land that have both wooded and open areas.
As a result of the fact that they do, in fact, differ in both their outward look and the way that they eat, we will now examine those disparities.
What states have Goulds turkeys?
LOCATION – Gould’s may be found in prolific populations in the mountains of northern Mexico in the states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, Zacatecas, Nayarit, Jalisco, and Coahuila. These states are in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range.
What is the best type of turkey to eat?
Unfortunately, the Best Turkey Roast is now sold out. Rastelli’s is a butcher store that specializes in providing sustainably raised beef, pork, poultry, and seafood. We fell in love with Rastelli’s after sampling their famous round hot dogs for the first time (which are delish, BTW).
Now that we have two reasons to support them, we stan them even more. As an illustration, have a look at this magnificent turkey breast roast that just has to be thawed before it can be cooked. For families that enjoy white meat the most, turkey breast roasts (and turkey breasts with the bone in) are the greatest option.
This turkey roast is injected with a solution consisting of water, salt, and sugar to add moisture, and then it is rubbed with a savory Tuscan-style seasoning. All that is left to do is place the roast in a bag and place it in the oven for a few hours, at which point it will be fully cooked.
Unanimous acclaim: “Nice flavor and very high quality turkey; cooking time required was around 2 hours and 40 minutes; however, the temperature needs to be monitored often during the last 10 minutes of cooking because it can spike rather rapidly in the bag due to the hot steam (and ideally target about 155 degrees to take it out of the oven and not overcook).
Be careful of the steam and hot liquid when you remove the turkey from the bag; nonetheless, it ended up being really juicy and delicious.” Harry & David
What type of turkey do we eat?
The turkeys that we eat – Although we do consume both hen (female) and tom (male) turkeys, the hens are the ones that are often served at dinner. Tom turkeys are typically served as a side dish. If you have a large family that has to be fed, the ideal choice for a huge bird would be a tom turkey. Toms from Winter’s Turkeys may reach a maximum weight of 15 kilos when fully grown.
What breed of turkey do we eat?
A domestic turkey that is kept as a pet is known as a turkey breed.
- As a result of the fact that the Broad Breasted White is the commercial turkey of choice for large-scale industrial turkey farms, it is also the type of turkey that is consumed the most. The “presidential pardon” is a tradition in the United States, and the turkey that is granted it is often a Broad Breasted White.
- The Broad Breasted Bronze is yet another type of table fowl that has been produced for commercial purposes.
- The Standard Bronze is quite similar in appearance to the Broad Breasted Bronze
- however, it only has one breast and is capable of having natural offspring.
- The Bourbon Red turkey is a non-commercial breed of turkey that is smaller and has feathers that are a dark reddish color with white patterns.
- Slate, often known as Blue Slate, turkeys are an extremely unusual breed with feathers that have a grayish-blue color.
- The Black, also known as the Spanish Black and the Norfolk Black, has very black feathers that have a bluish-green sheen.
- The Narragansett Turkey is a well-known heritage breed of turkey that was given its name after Narragansett Bay, which is located in New England.
- The Chocolate is an uncommon heritage breed of cat with markings that are similar to those of a Black Spanish, but the coat is a light chocolate hue rather than black. Before the start of the Civil War, this practice was widespread in France and the southern United States.
- The Beltsville Tiny White is a heritage breed of chicken that was first developed in 1934. They are a small breed. The breed was not recognized by the APA Standard until 1951, having been initially shown in 1941. Although it is significantly larger and wider than the Midget White, both of them are frequently given the wrong name.
- The Midget White is a heritage breed that is on the smaller side.
What state has the most wild turkey?
1. Missouri – Hunters took 47,603 Eastern turkeys from this region, which is home to more than 317,000 of the birds. Despite the fact that hunting is prohibited after 1 pm every day, this state has managed to harvest more animals than any other state. There is a restriction of two birds, and the season runs from the middle of April through the beginning of May.
How many turkeys can you shoot in Missouri?
Limits. During the season, you are permitted to capture two male turkeys or birds with a visible beard; nevertheless, there are several limits on this activity: During the first week, you are only allowed to consume one turkey. In the event that you do not take a turkey during the first week, you are permitted to take a total of two birds during weeks two and three.
What states have Merriam turkeys?
The Merriam’s Wild Turkey If the Rio Grande Wild Turkey is the turkey of the plains and prairies, then the Merriam’s Wild Turkey is the turkey of the mountains. Although it is thought that its original range was what is now the states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, their current and introduced range covers a total of 15 states and four provinces in Canada.
These include the states of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Texas, and Nevada, as well as the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Merriam’s Wild Turkey is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of a size that is considered to be of The nearly white tips of the Merriam’s toms’ tail feathers are the primary characteristic that set them apart from the other primary subspecies of this species.
The sight of a Merriam’s tom strutting down a Ponderosa pine ridge while the morning sun casts a backlight on him is one that won’t be easily forgotten by anyone who has witnessed it. It looks like the whole bird is glowing! It is believed that there are less than 400,000 Merriam’s subspecies birds across their range; however, because they frequently interbreed with Easterns and Rios in areas where their ranges overlap, the number of hybrids is likely to be far greater.
Where do Merriam turkeys live?
A Marriam’s tom is shown here with the author. The Merriam’s wild turkey, commonly known as the mountain turkey, and the Rio Grande wild turkey, which may be found predominantly in eastern Colorado, are the two subspecies of wild turkey that can be found in Colorado.
- The Merriam’s are nomadic birds that are often seen in ponderosa pine woodlands.
- Cottonwood trees are the river’s favorite throughout the riparian sections of the Rio Grande.
- According to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW), Rio Grande turkeys are bigger and simpler to spot than Merriam’s turkeys.
- As a result, hunting Rio Grande turkeys is often not as challenging.
Historically, you might find Merriam’s turkeys in the mountain woods of Colorado, New Mexico, and northern Arizona. They have been planted in the pine forests of Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
- These states are all home to pine forests.
- In elevations ranging from 3,500 to 10,000 feet, the Merriam’s can be found not just in ponderosa pine forests but also in other types of flora.
- With kind permission from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).
- The Merriam’s turkey is a different hue than the Eastern turkey, despite the fact that the two species are almost the same size.
It is dark in color and has reflections of blue, purple, and copper. The Merriam’s turkey may be distinguished from other subspecies of turkey by the presence of white feathers on the lower back and at the edges of the tail feathers. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) estimates that Merriam’s turkeys currently occupy roughly 19,000 square miles of forest area in the state of Colorado.
According to Stan Baker, a regional biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), who specializes in western turkey hunting, “Colorado is in the top two or three states when it comes to turkey hunting.” According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, the counties of Mesa, Garfield, Delta, Archuleta, and Yuma are the top five turkey-producing counties in the state.
With kind permission from the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). In the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, where David Petersen, the founder of Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, guided me on my first hunt for mountain Merriam’s, I was successful.
Where is the best place to hunt Merriam turkeys?
Acquaint yourself with the Merriam’s wild turkey – Let’s begin with the following: No matter where it is discovered, a wild turkey will always be considered a wild turkey. The only “actual” distinction between the many subspecies of feathers is the nuanced differences in appearance, and this is the only factor that matters.
The remaining differences are all behavioral, and simply represent adaptations to the unique environment that each bird calls home. According to Merriam-Webster, the countryside refers to the mountainous western region. In spite of the fact that these birds are capable of living (and frequently do dwell) on actual mountains, the foothills are where they are most commonly seen.
In spite of this, river bottoms are home to a large number of Merriam’s, as they are frequently abundant with riverfront wood as well as lush hay and grain fields, not to mention the nearby benchlands. In regions where agriculture in the form of grain is not easily accessible, Merriam’s turkeys do not grow to be as large, on average, as Eastern turkeys do.
The most of Merriam’s gobblers I’ve shot weigh an average of about 17 or 18 pounds, but Eastern gobblers often weigh 20 (and occasionally significantly more, depending on the state and location) pounds on average. The typical Merriam’s tailfan, which is completely pointed and ornamented with stark white, is something that many hunters seek.
They are beautiful, but not all gobblers have the gene that causes them to have white tips, and in many areas (especially in areas where Merriam’s and Rios and sometimes even Easterns have been mixed via stockings, and the birds do freely interbreed), birds with cream- to bronze-tipped feathers can be found.
A buddy of mine once turned on an excellent opportunity to take a shot at a Merriam’s gobbler because the bird did not have the stereotypical white-tipped and fringed tailfan. What have you been up to? I asked. Oh well, I guess it’s up to the individual. The scenery that you’ll be drawn to in order to hunt Merriam’s turkeys is another (and in my opinion, more important) reason to do so.
Originally, the bird was only found in Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Colorado, but due to stocking, it may now be found throughout most of the United States. They are currently known as the Turkey of the West (that’s a phrase I made up, but it’s real), with the states of Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska all having Merriam’s birds in their respective states.
The Black Hills of South Dakota are a traditional location for Merriam’s stag hunting, but in my opinion, Montana is an even better state for the hunt. I have also taken several in Nebraska and out on the plains in South Dakota, and I have Colorado, which is in the heart of the Merriam’s natural habitat, on my list of states to visit.
An additional draw of the Merriam’s is that hunting for these turkeys on public land in the vast open regions of the Western United States may range from good to excellent. Finding the birds can be a difficulty, but there are difficulties associated with every species, and we will discuss those difficulties in the next section.