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Q:
What is the difference between the different species of turkey in North America. Also, what is the hardest to hunt, biggest, and most popular turkeys to hunt, and what states can they be hunted in?

Question by NyBigGameHunter. Uploaded on May 06, 2010

Answers (9)

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from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I can tell you one thing, my box call doesn't work worth a flip here is Arkansas. But in Cloudcroft New Mexico area? You better be ready to shoot that Thunder Rooster for self protection NO JOKE!

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from Treestand wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

In the early 1930's, this grand bird was on the verge of extinction, but thanks to hunters and the wildlife restoration programs, the turkey is in abundance and is thriving in most all of its homeland, the USA.
There are 5 kinds of turkey, Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Merriams, and the Gould. The Eastern is the most common and can be found in most all of the eastern US. The Gould is the least common being only in parts of Mexico, New Mexico, and Arizona. As far as the differents, it is mostly the color patterns of the feathers, each verity has its own coloring, the size of each of the verities very from 5.5 lbs to 25.5 lbs. You can hunt turkey in every state, thats have turkey. You would have to check with each state to find out the season and regulations to hunt them. As far as the hardest to hunt, I have heard that the Rio is the hardest to call in, but I would say that the Gould would be the hardest to find.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

You have the Eastern found mainly east of the Mississippi River and the Osceola in Florida basically from Gainesville south. The Eastern is found west of the Big Muddy in several states including Del's Kansas. They have also been transplanted as far west a coastal Washington State. Recent genetic testing has shown no difference "genetically" in the Eastern and Osceola. Physically the only real difference are the Osceola's darker wings resulting from incomplete and more narrow white wing barring. Osceola birds also tend to be a bit more leggy with some really nice spurs. Both birds typically have chestnut colored fan tips as well as secondary tail feathers.

There is the Rio Grande a bird mainly found in Texas, Oklahoma, Western Kansas and parts of New Mexico. these birds have more of a tan to off white color to thier fan tips and secondary tail feathers. In my experience they also have a bit different sounding gobble. More high pitched than the others I've hunted.

The Merriam is a bird of the Rockies and has also been transplanted into eastern parts of Montana and Wyoming and into the Dakotas and Nebraska. They are typfied by their white to very light cream colored fan tips and secondary tail feathers.

In extreme southern Arizona and New Mexico the Gould's subspecies occurrs. It looks much like the Merriam but has been proven to be genetically different.

Any where two species meet there will be intergrades that can show various traits of each bird.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Oh... I've hunted the Eastern, Merriam, Osceola and Rio Grande. The Eastern and Osceola are by far the most fickle to lure to a call. I've called in Merriam Gobblers from over a mile away and they came on dead run. Rio's are in the middle ground as far as I'm concerned. On a bad day any of them will drive you nuts!

As far as weight goes the big corn fed Eastern's in eastern Kansas, Missouri and Iowa maybe even Ohio get to be some of the biggest Tom's around. On an avarage diet in an avarage year any mature tom will range from 17 to 21 pounds for any of the subspecies. Those corn fed boys will typically bust 24-25 pounds...

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

About all I can add is they have Rios in Hawaii. The birds we have here are mostly mixed. You can see it in the lighter colored feathers. Last year I took a bird that was pretty dark like a pure Eastern.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Del,

That one you are holding looks pretty Eastern to me. He's as "dark" as any bird around here and mine are not hybrids. I think the birds around Eastern Kansas are very Eastern from what I've seen. Not doubt when you get to the Flint Hills they are well blended...

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from squirrelgirl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

what about california? I have to admit I don't know what type we have runnign around out here. It would be interesting to make a line up of the different varieties.

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from Treestand wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Squirrelgirl check your local game laws,or on line?

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Most of the birds in Cali are hybrids from what I understand. Rio, Merriams and Easterns have been introduced to the state.

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from Treestand wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

In the early 1930's, this grand bird was on the verge of extinction, but thanks to hunters and the wildlife restoration programs, the turkey is in abundance and is thriving in most all of its homeland, the USA.
There are 5 kinds of turkey, Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Merriams, and the Gould. The Eastern is the most common and can be found in most all of the eastern US. The Gould is the least common being only in parts of Mexico, New Mexico, and Arizona. As far as the differents, it is mostly the color patterns of the feathers, each verity has its own coloring, the size of each of the verities very from 5.5 lbs to 25.5 lbs. You can hunt turkey in every state, thats have turkey. You would have to check with each state to find out the season and regulations to hunt them. As far as the hardest to hunt, I have heard that the Rio is the hardest to call in, but I would say that the Gould would be the hardest to find.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

You have the Eastern found mainly east of the Mississippi River and the Osceola in Florida basically from Gainesville south. The Eastern is found west of the Big Muddy in several states including Del's Kansas. They have also been transplanted as far west a coastal Washington State. Recent genetic testing has shown no difference "genetically" in the Eastern and Osceola. Physically the only real difference are the Osceola's darker wings resulting from incomplete and more narrow white wing barring. Osceola birds also tend to be a bit more leggy with some really nice spurs. Both birds typically have chestnut colored fan tips as well as secondary tail feathers.

There is the Rio Grande a bird mainly found in Texas, Oklahoma, Western Kansas and parts of New Mexico. these birds have more of a tan to off white color to thier fan tips and secondary tail feathers. In my experience they also have a bit different sounding gobble. More high pitched than the others I've hunted.

The Merriam is a bird of the Rockies and has also been transplanted into eastern parts of Montana and Wyoming and into the Dakotas and Nebraska. They are typfied by their white to very light cream colored fan tips and secondary tail feathers.

In extreme southern Arizona and New Mexico the Gould's subspecies occurrs. It looks much like the Merriam but has been proven to be genetically different.

Any where two species meet there will be intergrades that can show various traits of each bird.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Oh... I've hunted the Eastern, Merriam, Osceola and Rio Grande. The Eastern and Osceola are by far the most fickle to lure to a call. I've called in Merriam Gobblers from over a mile away and they came on dead run. Rio's are in the middle ground as far as I'm concerned. On a bad day any of them will drive you nuts!

As far as weight goes the big corn fed Eastern's in eastern Kansas, Missouri and Iowa maybe even Ohio get to be some of the biggest Tom's around. On an avarage diet in an avarage year any mature tom will range from 17 to 21 pounds for any of the subspecies. Those corn fed boys will typically bust 24-25 pounds...

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from Del in KS wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

About all I can add is they have Rios in Hawaii. The birds we have here are mostly mixed. You can see it in the lighter colored feathers. Last year I took a bird that was pretty dark like a pure Eastern.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Del,

That one you are holding looks pretty Eastern to me. He's as "dark" as any bird around here and mine are not hybrids. I think the birds around Eastern Kansas are very Eastern from what I've seen. Not doubt when you get to the Flint Hills they are well blended...

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from squirrelgirl wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

what about california? I have to admit I don't know what type we have runnign around out here. It would be interesting to make a line up of the different varieties.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

I can tell you one thing, my box call doesn't work worth a flip here is Arkansas. But in Cloudcroft New Mexico area? You better be ready to shoot that Thunder Rooster for self protection NO JOKE!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 3 years 50 weeks ago

Squirrelgirl check your local game laws,or on line?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

Most of the birds in Cali are hybrids from what I understand. Rio, Merriams and Easterns have been introduced to the state.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

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