I follow your work on turkeys closely and have a question about these great game birds. How would you rank taking a wild turkey with a bow in comparison to other game in North America?
Editor: Thanks for following what I am doing with turkeys. You will love what’s coming with turkeys beginning in the March issue.
In my opinion taking a turkey with a bow is one of the greatest accomplishments a bowhunter can seek out. Turkeys are wary and have incredible vision and hearing. Being able to draw back on a turkey is extremely challenging. The only way to do it with any consistency is in shoot-through ground blinds.
It must be said that taking a Rio Grand gobbler on a private ranch that have rarely been shot at and are coming to a feeder is radically different than taking an eastern turkey for example on public land. They can both be challenging, but pressure, public land turkeys are next-level challenging. Any turkey hunt is awesome though no matter where.
My goal in the next five years is to get the Grand Slam (Rio Grande, Eastern, Osceola, Merriam’s) by bow. It should be an exciting quest.
ARE THERE any Gould’s turkeys on far west Texas?
Editor: A few years back I was at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas and noticed some brochures about wild turkey management on a particular gentleman’s table and as soon as he noticed the Texas Fish & Game logo on my shirt, he took a look around and said something that quite frankly shocked me.
“You know there are Gould’s turkeys out in extreme West Texas,” he said.
“Gould’s?” I asked.
“Yes sir, I saw them on a hunt last year. We were literally standing yards away from Mexico, but there were Gould’s out pretty close to El Paso,” he said.
When pressed for more info he had little to say other than he was blown away by the sighting. He had been traveling from a lodge in Texas to hunt Gould’s in Mexico.
The Gould’s turkey is hunted in Mexico and is known to have isolated pockets in New Mexico and Arizona, but this was the first I heard of Gould’s in Texas.
If anyone has information, photos or videos of these majestic birds that are part of the Royal Slam of turkeys (Eastern, Osceola or Florida, Rio Grande and Merriam’s, along with Gould’s) please send to [email protected]
I have investigated some studies done in New Mexico and there is a pocket of Gould’s fairly close to Texas, but so far, we have no conclusive proof. Although this Mexican bird’s status is controversial, very few Texas hunters know that there is also a population of Merriam’s turkey in the state.
According to Texas Turkey Talk, a treatise on native birds compiled by Ralph Suarez, the Merriam’s turkey, is the least common subspecies of turkey in Texas and is located in a few isolated mountainous areas of West Texas.
“The historic range of the Merriam’s turkey occurs throughout the western coniferous forest mountain regions of the United States including the states of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. Populations exist in the Guadalupe and possibly Franklin Mountains of Texas.”
It is likely that the sighting was actually a similar looking Merriam’s turkey but in the world of wildlife you just never know.
I JUST wanted to give a big thank you to Texas Fish & Game for publishing articles that are a cut above other publications and going deep into issues of wildlife conservation.
I know it would be easier for you to toe the industry line and publish only fluff pieces but you don’t and that’s admirable.
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