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