When a Moose Calf Grows Up

This article is the second 1/2 of the Life Cycle of a Moose.  The first part was:  ‘And Another Thing about Moose Cows & Calves‘ *

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Moose are magnificent animals that live in the colder regions of Alaska, Canada and northern-most US states.

Mother Moose is constantly teaching her babies during that first winter.   If the calf does not learn enough, it will die in the first year of life.

Nature also has a hand in the life of a moose calf.  Depending on the region and food available, calves may die in the first year for other reasons:  accidents, disease, malnutrition, drowning and being attacked by predators.

A Confusing Spring

If the moose mother gets pregnant in the fall after his birth, the calf will face a staggering shock in early spring.  After being constant companions for many months, the calf’s mother will suddenly chase him away!

The calf cannot understand the change.  He may try to follow her for days … or even weeks. Those yearlings born with a sibling are the lucky ones; they have a traveling companion.

Singleton yearlings may try to join an adult bull.  The adult may allow this for a while.  However, at rutting time, he will not want the competition and will drive him away.

If a yearling tries to join a different mother moose and her calf, she will not tolerate it.

Occasionally, a mother moose does not become pregnant during the next rutting season.  In this case, the yearling gets to stay with his mother for a while. 

During the next mating season, either the mother or the bull will drive him away, fearing he is a sexual rival.

Moose Socialization

There are only 2 events of moose socialization:  the close relationship between a cow and her calf and the short period of mating.  The rest of the time, moose are solitary wanderers.

Moose Facts 

  • Moose reach their prime between ages 5 and 10.
  • Moose grow new antlers from scratch each year!
  • Moose antlers in velvet are still sensitive; by the time the velvet falls off, the antlers are hard bone.
  • Moose grow their antlers just for the rut!

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* The original article in this Moose series is:  ‘Moose: Giants of the North

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Coming Soon:  Moose Mating!

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October Moose‘ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 12:04 am  Comments Off on When a Moose Calf Grows Up  
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And Another Thing about Moose Cows & Calves …

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Enemies of the Moose include: Black, Brown and Grizzly Bears, Wolves and Coyotes. However, man is the moose's greatest enemy: We keep encroaching on his habitat.

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Fascinating Facts about Moose Cows & Calves

After the fall mating season for the moose, the cows search for a secure spot to have their young.  She usually looks for a place that offers three things:  security, food and water.

Typically, the cow chooses an island or peninsula near a pond, river or lake.  The gestation period is about 240 days (or 8 months) and the calf or calves are born in May or June.

The New Calf

After a labor of about 1 hour, the cow has her offspring lying down.  She immediately starts to bond with her baby by licking the calf and nuzzling against the babes.

Mother provides milk soon after the birth, while both are still lying down.  After a few days, the calf can easily reach it’s standing mother to nurse.  Within a week of birth, the babe can easily outrun any human who wants to run along!

Calves and Danger

Unlike some of her cousins, moose moms take their children wherever they go.  This is different from deer, that tend to hide their babies while seeking food.

Moose moms feel assured that they can defend their calves from any predators.  In fact, they are some of the most protective parents in the wild kingdom!

Mothers who have lost their youngsters are some of the most dangerous animals on earth!  They will stop at nothing to get their babes back.

Don’t ever get between a moose mom and her calf/calves.  It’s just not a very healthy place to be!

As the Calf Grows

At birth, the calf is about 3 feet long and 3 feet tall, and weighs 25 – 30 lbs.  During the first month, the calf gains about 2 lbs. per day!  Calves start foraging full-time and stop taking its mother’s milk at about 5 months of age.

Mother Moose is constantly teaching her babies during that first winter.   If the calf does not learn enough, it will die in the first year of life.

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Soon:  As soon as the Moose Mom is ready to have a new calf, something fascinating and awful happens.  Find out what … next time!

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 ‘Northwoods Moose’ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 7, 2011 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)  
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Moose: Giants of the North

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Despite their looks, Moose are usually rather timid. The 2 exceptions are: a rutting bull and a mother Moose with her calf.

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Moose are the Largest Members of the Cervid Family

Other Cervids include:  axis deer, the North American elk, whitetail deer, caribou, reindeer and mule deer.

A typical example of a Canadian moose is over 7 feet at the shoulders, weighs around 1400 lbs.,  is 10 feet from nose to tail and has about a 40 inch long leg!   However, the Alaskan moose is larger!

Where the Moose Are

Almost 1 million moose range over a huge territory:

  • most of Alaska
  • most of Canada outside of the Arctic
  • upstate New York and much of northern New England
  • Northeastern Minnesota
  • Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
  • upper Rocky Mountains
  • mountain regions of Utah and Colorado
  • as far west as the Blue Mountains of Oregon

Dining Habits of the Moose

As ruminants, moose chew their cud, like domestic cows.  They eat leaves and twig ends of many trees, fibrous forbs (like: bunchberry), plus seeds of grasses and sedge, ferns and fungi.

During warm weather, they eat about 50 lbs. of matter each day; in winter, they  average about 35 lbs. each day.

Moose During Rutting Season

During the mating season, the bull moose is at his most ornery and difficult to anticipate.

If you are following bulls too closely, you may need to climb a tree to get out of his way!  It’s best to give bulls plenty of room.

You will know you are in trouble if the bull moose lowers his head, showing off his full rack of antlers.  Then it is likely that he will swing his antlers to-and-fro, so you get the message — that he’s not kidding.

If he’s really aggravated, he may pitch his head up into a bugling posture (similar to his cousin, the elk).  When he wants to “up the ante” in his challenge of another bull (or people), he grunts.

Are Moose Really Dangerous?

It’s surprising how few interactions  between people and moose there are, considering their numbers.  Other than traffic accidents, there have been only a few incidents between humans and moose.

In 2 separate incidents, moose have stomped 2 people to death!  Oddly enough, these occurred in suburban regions of Alaska — not in the wilds of our largest state!

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Showdown‘ Moose Graphic is used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics

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More Moose Moments:  coming soon!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  
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Sunday Special: Hunter & Paintball Ghillie Wear

Just what should a Hunting Fashionista wear while chasing game or other paintballers?  The first half of our name should give you a hint:  Great Ghillies And Graphics!

Because we have so many items, they are split into 2 categories — Ghillies:  Suits & Accessories and Ghillies:  Jackets & Pants.

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From the Ghillies:  Jackets & Pants Category 

This Ultra-Light Jacket is available in different sizes: ML, XL-2XL and ML Long. This item is more comfortable for warm weather hunting.

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This Ultra-Light Weight Sniper Jacket and Pants is also useful in an area of warm weather hunting. Woodland Pattern (as shown) is "all season."

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An outer shell of 3/4" netting on this Ghillie Jacket allows the user to insert vegetation or any additional material to alter coloration and pattern of camouflage.

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This Stalker Ghillie Poncho is great for crawling. Your back is completely covered. Colors available: woodland, mossy, desert, winter white and leafy green.

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From the Ghillies:  Suits and Accessories Category 

Kid's Ghillie Suits are very popular -- especially around Christmas! Three suits are available.

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This specialty product is perfect for the Bow Hunter. The shooting arm and chest areas are left without jute/burlap material, so it does not interfere with the hunter's bow-string action!

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These Blind Covers are extremely versatile and some come with their own carrying bag. Colors available: desert (shown), woodland, mossy and leafy green.

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Tomorrow: Come Back for more Fishing & Hunting Info! 

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

More on Hunting Javelina and Wild Hogs

Javelinas weigh between 30 and 50 lbs., while feral hogs average about 130 lbs. Some feral hogs have weighed as much as 465 lbs!

Yesterday’s story about hunting javelina and wild hogs ran too long.  So today, I’m finishing the tips on hunting the collared peccary and feral pigs.

Successful Hunters Know the Animal’s Habits

The wild swine have well-developed senses, while the javelina has poor eyesight, average hearing and an excellent sense of smell.

Neither of these animal groups have quiet table manners.

Use These Facts While Hunting

You will be able to hear the collared peccary while they are dining.  Coupled with their pungent smell, it’s rather easy to find them.

If you are using a handgun, muzzle loader or archery equipment, you will need to get close to the javelina … which is usually not much of a problem because of their poor eyesight.

Never forget, however, that these are wild animals with a poor sense of humor.  If injured instead of killed outright, these beasts are potentially very dangerous!

Hunting Methods

Because most javelina are shot while hunting for deer, the most common method of hunting is stand hunting.  However, wild swine and peccaries are also hunted by:

  • stalking,
  • hog drives,
  • still hunting,
  • safari-style hunting and
  • calling
  • setting out corn and other foodstuffs,
  • using “hog dogs.”

Differences in Habitat

Feral hogs are, unfortunately, all over Texas.  These wild animals were once domesticated pigs that reverted to the wild;  this process may have occurred as far back as when the Spaniards brought them to the New World!

Where the Wild Things Are! 

As I mentioned in a previous article, Texas has more than 2 million of these wild  hogs — and their numbers are increasing!  There is no season on these wild hogs — and no upper limit to the number available in a year.

On the other side of the coin, the javelina is a game animal in Texas and there is a limit of 2/year.  The collared peccary lives in 2 large zoned areas.

This year, the season for the Northern Zone (43 counties, roughly the arid counties around San Antonio) is between October 1, 2011 and February 26, 2012.

The 50 counties of the Southern Zone, are the south and southwestern Texas counties along the Rio Grande River (the natural border between Texas and Mexico).  Their season is from September 1, 2010-August 31, 2011!

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FYI:   For the Next Few Days, I’m Traveling to a Reunion & Doing Some Genealogy Work in Their Local Library!

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Come Back for Saturday’s Joke and Sunday’s Special Graphics! 

(They’re already written and scheduled for distribution)

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on More on Hunting Javelina and Wild Hogs  
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What Does it Take to Hunt Javelina & Wild Hogs?

Hunting Season of Javelina vs. Wild Hogs

As mentioned in an earlier blog, javelina live in 3 states:  Arizona, New Mexico

Feral Pigs & Javelinas Can Do Incredible Damage to Suburban Yards When Other Food is Scarce!

and Texas.*  If you are interested in hunting javelina here, there are 2 zones in Texas, with a 2 animal/year limit.

In Texas, there is no season for feral hogs – there is no annual limit, nor is hunting limited to certain days or months. **

Hunting the Javelina & Wild Hog in Texas 

Most youngsters have their first experience with a javelina while hunting for whitetail deer.  The seasons often overlap and even in areas with few deer, there are often plenty of javelina.

Things to Worry About When Hunting These Pigs 

Even if you’ve read my 2 previous articles *** about the collared peccary (javelina), you are NOT ready to hunt wild pigs or javelinas.  I only talked about their sweet side.  

Before you start to aim your center-fire rifle, muzzleloaders or archery equipment, we need to talk about their “not-so-cute-and-cuddly” side.

Although not usually aggressive, they are wary, challenging and quite intelligent.

When cornered, wounded or protecting their piglings (or piglets), they can turn ugly.  Actually, they were born ugly; they can become dangerous!

Oh, and the Other Thing I Didn’t Mention … 

These animals come with razor-sharp tusks.  If wounded, they are going to be looking for someone to share their unhappiness with …. Don’t let it be you!

Successful Hunters Know the Animal’s Habits

Both the collared peccary and the feral pig are omnivores, eating cacti, grasses, roots and tubers.

The wild swine have well-developed senses, while the javelina has poor eyesight, average hearing and an excellent sense of smell.

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Come Back Tomorrow:  For The Rest of this Article!

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* Javelina have migrated from their original habitat in South America.  Thus, they are also available in South & Central America, as well as Mexico.  For this discussion, I’m only discussing hunting these animals – javelina and feral hogs — in the US.

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** In fact, if you recall a previous article I wrote about the problem we are having with feral pigs in Texas, you know we are actively inviting hunters to help us cut the numbers of these nuisance animals in our state!

See:  Feral Pigs in Texas — 2 Million Strong and Increasing

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*** The 2 earlier articles are:

Hold Your Nose … We’re After Some Javelina!  and

Javelina: You Don’t See ‘Em, But You Sure Can Smell ‘Em

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Javelina: You Don’t See ‘Em, But You Sure Can Smell ‘Em

Let’s talk a bit more about the skunk’s stiffest competition:  the javelina.

What Makes the Peccary Smell So Bad?

While describing the javelina yesterday, I didn’t mention the musk gland of these

Note the raised hairs on the back of this javelina!

creatures.  Located on the lower back (above the tail), the peccary uses the scent in various ways.

When excited or alarmed, the javelina raises the dark hairs on his back and squirts his musk scent. The gland looks rather like a nipple — and the liquid is oily and a dark yellow.

The peccary can squirt the fluid several inches. When the pigling *is born, he has a fully functioning scent gland.

The Social System of the Javelina

After telling you how awful it smells, you may be surprised to hear that these

The Javelina roamed freely in South America before gradually moving northward.

animals use the scent for anything other than to ward off enemies.

But first, I need to share a bit more about the social life of a peccary. The javelina is a social animal that travels in mixed family groups (male and females of various ages).

Herds may be as small as 3 – 4 or as large as 20.  It is rare to see a solitary peccary unless he is old, ill or injured.

Peace and harmony are encouraged in the herd by regular physical contact between the members.

Javelinas pair off and stand nose-to-tail and rub their heads over the scent gland of the other animal!

They share their personal scent with the other members of the herd, essentially creating a “herd scent.”

The Peccary’s 2 Main Senses

The javelina is extremely nearsighted.  Because his eyesight is so poor, he relies on smell and sound to navigate in his habitat.

Thus, recognizing the herd’s scent helps him stay with his own group, even if he’s surrounded by many other animals.

Dietary Delights of the Javelina

These animals aren’t real picky about what they eat.  Although they delight in prickly cactus and other succulent plants, they are not above sinking their teeth into rotting carrion on the roadside or carelessly covered garbage.

As their habitat shrinks due to human development, more javelina than ever are interacting with man … and the results are not very pretty!

*   FYI: javelina babies = piglings; swine babies = piglets

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Tomorrow:  How Sharp is Your Fishing Hook? 

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Soon:  When Humans Try to Domesticate the Peccary

Plus

Hunting Javelina and Wild Hogs

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Photo and Map used through Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on May 26, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Hold Your Nose … We’re After Some Javelina!

This is an example of Ugly, Smelly and Hairy all meeting in one animal!

A Little History

Although pigs and javelina are in the same order of mammals, they diverged

Newborns are 1 lb. bundles of red-brown or tan hair, with a dark strip down the back.

“about 38 million years ago:  pigs evolved in the Old World, peccaries in the New World.” *

Believe it or not, the collared peccary (or javelina – pronounced have-ah-LEE-nah) comes from South America.

Over thousands of years, they worked their way northward into North America.

Eventually, they settled in the warmer areas of North America.  Why?  Because they cannot survive cold!

It wasn’t until the 1700’s that javelinas showed up in the records — of Arizona.

All the Attributes Nobody Wants!

Unfortunately for these little piglings, after 3 months as a “cute” child, they emerge as an ugly mini-adult stinker.

Here’s a description of this strange animal:  He has a large head, skinny, short legs with rather small feet.  His hair is wiry, like a hairbrush’s bristles.

At birth, he is born with a mane of dark hairs (that grow to about 6″) that starts between his ears and runs along the spine to the tail.

When frightened or startled, the peccary’s mane stands on end and he looks fearsome!

Staying Cool During Seasonal Changes

The collared peccary is a fashionista — always changing into a new and better coat.  From November to almost March, the adults wear their dark coat.

In the spring, they shed that fur coat — some even go bald on their hips and hind-ends.  They are pale and blend in with their surroundings – usually very hot summers in parched regions.  However, the dark mane always stays on the animal.

By September, the javelina is growing a thicker winter coat; however, he has no undercoat.  Because he cannot survive a harsh winter, he does not venture into cold climates.  Most javelina live in the dry areas of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Pigling Births

Peccary births can happen throughout the year, however most occur in the summer and fall, when there is plenty to eat.

One or two piglings are born after a 5 month pregnancy.  This is in sharp contrast to the large litter of piglets born to swine.

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* Quote from:  Javelinas, by Lauray Yule, 2004, Rio Nuevo Publishers, p. 7.

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Next Time:  Well, I haven’t even gotten to their stink glands, what they eat, their lives in the herd, or hunting tips! Bummer!  

Come back for more exciting adventures with these stinky little beasts!

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Photo used through the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License of Wikipedia

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments (1)  
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On the Trail of a Osceola Wild Turkey

If you are hoping to get a crack at hunting all five of the subspecies of wild turkey, plan to hunt in Florida for the Osceola.

Actually, in some areas of Florida, you will find both the Eastern and the Osceola wild turkeys, sharing the same habitat.

The Skinny on the Osceola 

Of all the subspecies these are considered the most beautiful. They have

Most Biologists Consider the Osceola to be the Most Beautiful of the 5 Subspecies of Wild Turkeys.

more golden and green body feathers.

Perhaps because Osceola’s call the Florida swamps ‘home,’ their legs, spurs, tails and beards are longer than average.

‘Pure’ Osceola’s only live in southern Florida.  Because Eastern wild turkeys also live in Florida, some biologists consider all the turkeys as hybrids and refer to them as “the Florida subspecies.”

What Makes the Osceola Unique

These birds prefer to roost over water in cypress trees. Their habitat includes hardwood swamps, palmetto grass lands and live oaks.

When gobblers want to strut their stuff, they fly to dry land near their roosts.

Because of the difficult habitat of Osceola’s, non-natives find hunting these beautiful birds difficult, dangerous * and expensive.

Hunting the Osceola 

By the time you factor in out-of-state licenses, lodging and land (on which to hunt the Osceola), the price of a domestic turkey in the supermarket is an amazing bargain!

Hunting the Osceola isn’t much different from hunting the Eastern turkey except for the handicapping factor of having to maneuver in swampy conditions.

One helpful factor is that the Osceola roost in the same areas each day — unless they are spooked or over-hunted.

Land Options

It can get rather crowded hunting the Osceola on public lands.  Remember to call less – because of the added pressure of so many hunters.

Hunting on private land can be quite expensive.  Before putting your hard-earned dollars on the table, make inquiries about guided hunts, as well as public and private land hunting prices and conditions.

You want the hunt to be memorable for the enjoyment you had and not the staggering price you paid!

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* The Osceola hang out with some heavy-hitters:  alligators, water moccasins, mosquitoes and diamondback rattlers!

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Come Back Saturday:  for our Joke of the Day

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Come Back Sunday: for our Wildest of the Wild Rear Window Graphics

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Thanks for stopping by!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on May 19, 2011 at 6:51 am  Comments Off on On the Trail of a Osceola Wild Turkey  
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On the Trail of a Gould’s Wild Turkey

Before you get too excited, let me say that the Gould’s Turkeys range over

Although this Gould's feathers are not fanned out, you can see the end feathers are very white!

Mexico, with some scattered  in southern New Mexico.   Chances are that you will travel to Mexico to hunt for this subspecies.

Description of a Gould’s

This is the largest of the subspecies of turkeys — weighing in at over 20 lbs.  Because of the rough terrain they call home, the Gould’s spurs are usually shorter than the Eastern turkey’s through wear.

  They resemble the Merriam’s turkey because of their white tail feathers.  

Look at the Merriam’s below and perhaps you can see that their feathers are not as white.

This Merriam's turkey has his feathers fanned out. They do not have as much white on their feathers, nor is the color as white as the Gould's!

Distinctive Sounds of Gould’s

Folks who have hunted this subspecies mention that the Gould’s has a “lazy gobble.”

As John Trout, Jr., mentions:   “It’s not thunderous like the gobble of the Eastern wild turkey but is slowly drawn out, lasting longer than the gobble of any other subspecies.” *

 Hunting Tips for the Gould’s

Hunters who have “hunted them all” (taken wild turkeys of all 5 subspecies), say that hunting for the Gould’s is an adventure.

Because most of them are in northern and central Mexico, they are not as easy to hunt as the others.

Be ready for lots of walking to get within range of the Gould’s.   The terrain is rough and mountainous.

You will need patience to be successful.  Remember that sounds carry over the mountains and their responding gobble to yours may be coming from a great distance.

It may take the gobbler 30 minutes or more to get to you.  Don’t move around to a new location — be patient.

With the Gould’s, a higher pitched seems to work best. Experienced hunters prefer the two-reed mouth call with this species because of its high pitch.

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* John Trout, Jr., The Complete Book of Wild Turkey Hunting, publ. 2000 by Lyons Press, Canada.

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

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Published in: on May 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm  Comments Off on On the Trail of a Gould’s Wild Turkey  
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