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.


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


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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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More Fascinating Facts About Wild Turkeys!

Turkeys of a Feather

Are you aware that young jakes have longer primary feathers in the center of their fan-shaped

Jakes Have Longer Tail Feathers in the Center of the Main Fan; All the Tail Feathers of a Mature Tom are the Same Length.


In fact that is a way to tell a mature tom from a young jake. Keep in mind that the only time you will see those longer tail feathers is when a jake struts!

Feather Colors

At a distance, hen feathers look dark brown while a tom’s appear black.

Each of the 5 subspecies of wild turkeys has unique characteristics.  For an in-depth explanation (with photos), refer to these earlier articles:

Head Colors

Perhaps the reason Ben Franklin wanted to name the turkey as the symbol of the US (instead of the bald eagle), is because a male gobbler’s head color is red, white and blue!

In contrast, a hen’s head color is a rather dull blue-gray.

Caruncle Considerations!

Also known as wattles, caruncles are the fleshy growths that hang from the turkey’s head and neck.  According to Wikipedia, “The wattle is often an ornament for courting potential mates. A large wattle is correlated with high testosterone levels, good nutrition ….” *

An adult gobbler’s caruncle will turn bright red when he is sexually excited. In contrast, a hen has a smaller wattle that is pink. An excited jake will have a wattle  that is more pink than red.

FYI for Hunters

In the latter days of the mating season, it may be easier for a hunter to take a tom.  He’s still interested in sex but there are fewer hens available for breeding.  

As more hens start nesting, gobblers may resort to more strident calling for females. Since he’s more stressed (looking for the few hens remaining to breed), he’s more likely to make a mistake — and move into the crosshairs of a hunter’s gun.


*  Wikipedia, from the page — “Wattle (anatomy)”


Thanks for stopping by; come again!


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

Published in: on April 29, 2011 at 7:21 am  Comments Off on More Fascinating Facts About Wild Turkeys!  
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The Fascinating Osceola and Gould’s Wild Turkeys

Osceola Wild Turkeys

These Beauties Hang Out with Alligators, Water Moccasins, Mosquitoes and Diamondback Rattlers!

Of all the subspecies  these are thought to be 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.

Gould’s Wild Turkey

We know little about this subspecies other than it is the same species as our

Efforts to Introduce Gould's into Arid Areas of the US Have Been Hampered for 3 Reasons!

domestic turkey. Although the largest of 5 turkey types, Gould’s have the smallest numbers.

What Makes the Gould’s Unique

These turkeys live mostly in the dry Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.  A few are found in extreme southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.

Biologists tell us that Gould’s habits are more like Merriam’s than any of the others.  Because of where they live, Gould’s are viewed as  more wild and secretive.

Moving Gould’s Into the US

Because the US has large tracts of land too arid for Merriam’s, they have worked with the Mexican government to move more Gould’s into the US.  However, this plan has been slow, at best.

First, Gould’s thrive in extremely remote regions of Mexican mountains.  Second, there’s the age-old problem of 2 governments working together.

The US requires a quarantine of these birds and captured wild birds do not respond well to quarantine.

Finally, the US government wants to introduce these birds to areas free of other subspecies, so the Gould’s can grow a “pure” population.


* Dangerous — Osceola’s live amongst alligators, water moccasins, mosquitoes and diamondback rattlers!  Under certain conditions, all 4 can be lethal.  😉


Next Time: More on the 5 Turkey Subspecies


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

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 6:04 am  Comments (1)  
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Talkin’ Turkey: Which Turkeys Are Where?

The Next Few Articles

Today’s article will tell which subspecies of  gobblers are in each state.  Next, I’ll share info on each subspecies — including the differences between them.

After that, I’ll discuss some mating and roosting behaviors.  Finally, I’ll share what I know about shotguns and computing the density of your shot.

These Turkeys are Thinkin' 'bout Spring!

The Eastern Wild Turkey

If you remember the pictures of turkeys plastered on school room windows in the first grade, then you know what the eastern gobbler looks like.  This is the largest group of wild turkey in America.

States with ONLY the Eastern Variety:  *

  • Alabama,
  • Arkansas,
  • Connecticut,
  • Georgia,
  • Illinois,
  • Indiana,
  • Iowa,
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana,
  • Maine,
  • Maryland,
  • Massachusetts,
  • Michigan,
  • Minnesota,
  • Mississippi,
  • Missouri,
  • New Hampshire,
  • New Jersey,
  • New York,
  • North Carolina,
  • Ohio,
  • Pennsylvania,
  • Rhode Island,
  • South Carolina,
  • Tennessee,
  • Vermont,
  • Virginia,
  • West Virginia, and
  • Ontario, Canada

States with Eastern Plus Other Turkeys

Eastern & Osceola: Florida

Eastern & Rio Grande Turkeys: Kansas, Texas

Eastern, Rio Grande & Merriam’s Turkeys: Oklahoma

Rio Grande Gobblers

Rios are slightly smaller than the Eastern species, but have larger, thicker feet than the Easterners. The are fewer Rios than Eastern toms, but more than the Merriam’s or Osceola’s.

States with ONLY Rios (this is not a misprint!):  Hawaii

States w Rios & Merriam’s Turkey: California, Nebraska and Oregon

The Merriam’s Wild Turkey

These are often called the Rocky Mountain turkeys because, oddly enough, most live in states around the Rocky Mountains.

States With  ONLY Merriam’s:

  • Arizona,
  • Colorado,
  • Idaho,
  • Montana,
  • New Mexico,
  • North & South Dakota,
  • Utah,
  • Washington,
  • Wyoming

Next time, I’ll spend time on the Osceola and Gould’s Wild Turkey!

Turkey Hunting Season(s) by State

Here are the open turkey seasons by state.

Only Spring Turkey Season:

  • Georgia,
  • Idaho,
  • Louisiana,
  • Maine,
  • New Jersey,
  • North & South Carolina,
  • Ohio,
  • Rhode Island,
  • Utah
  • Ontario, Canada

According to the info I have, all remaining states offer turkey hunting in the spring AND the fall! **


* and ** The info I’ve shared here may have changed.  Biologists are trying to move wild turkeys into new areas all the time.  If you have new info about subspecies moving into your state, please let me know so I can correct this.

Likewise, states change hunting seasons for a variety of reasons.  If you have different info about turkey season in your state, please let me know:  marylouise at GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


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

Let’s Talk Turkey — Hunting the Wild Ones!

Wild Turkey!

One Wild Turkey! *

This has been such a beautiful day, can spring be far behind?’ Today, I’m going to begin a series on hunting turkey. However, I’d like to  share a few words about the remarkable restoration of the turkey in the US.

Turkey 101

In 1959, the total turkey estimate (in the US) was: 465,809.  By 1990, the number of these graceful birds had risen to 3.5 million! According to Wikipedia, current turkey totals are over 7 million!

This revitalization of the wild turkey has come about because of hunters! Through their licenses, fees and excise taxes, turkeys have been trapped and released to new areas by state wildlife departments.

Turkeys are available for hunting in every state except Alaska!  These beautiful fowl are available in at least 10 new states – places they did not originally live.

The Skinny on Turkeys

The Latin name is ‘Meleagris gallopavo’ and they have been in North America for thousands of years.  The turkey has learned to thrive in a variety of habitats.

Originally, they lived out their lives in and around timber regions. However, they have learned to adapt to agricultural and even plains areas.

There are 5 Subspecies

Eastern turkey – has the largest numbers.  They are available along the eastern coast from Maine to northern Florida, and as far west as Oklahoma.

Merriams –  live in the western US.

Osceola – live only in Florida.

Rio Grande – reside mostly in Texas, but range as far north as Kansas and as far south as Mexico.

Gould’s Wild Turkey – lives mostly in central Mexico and some reside in New Mexico. BTW, each has unique characteristics that call for specific hunting techniques.


* Photo from Wikipedia!


Turkey Behavior You Need to Understand; Preseason Ideas for the Turkey Hunter; and more!


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Published in: on January 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm  Comments Off on Let’s Talk Turkey — Hunting the Wild Ones!  
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