NBS Outdoor Spring 2019

The author took this trophy tom Gould's subspecies on a bowhunt in Mexico.

Once breeding season is over, gobblers often form bachelor groups of older males. Younger yearling males, known as “jakes,” are a bit like rowdy teenagers and are often shunned by males and females. Tall-timber easterns. By far the subspecies with the greatest numbers and territory is the eastern. Toms gobble from treetops from southern Canada to northern Florida and west to the Mississippi River. Pursuing this crafty bird also offers the widest range of terrain and seasons for hunting. The season opens in the deep south in early March and continues through the end of May in northern states. I’ll never forget my first trip to South Carolina’s low country where the season opened on March 15. Leaving my home in western Maryland, whiffs of snow still dotted the landscape and the emergence of foliate on trees was a month in the future. When I arrived to hunt just north of Hilton Head, it seemed my calendar had skipped a full month. I found dogwoods in full bloom, birds nesting, and turkeys gobbling profoundly each morning. Hens would soon be nesting. Turkeys thrive in the dense swamps of the south just as they do in the mountains from Georgia to Maine. Suburban areas, especially those near small farms and on large

neighborhood estates, also hold substantial turkey populations. A friend and I hunted in Connecticut one year and took a total of three birds in one morning focusing on

small, rural properties that made predictable travel corridors. The Osceola challenge. Just as eastern birds have the greatest geographical diversity, the Osceola

The Merriam’s wild turkey is abundant in the mountainous regions of the West. The Rocky Mountains are considered the central hub of the population

The Gould’s wild turkey can only be found in Arizona, New Mexico and the Sierra Madres of Mexico. Its population is few in numbers.

The Ocellated turkey is the second turkey species and can be found in a 50,000 square mile area: in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize and the El Peten region of Guatemala.

Spring 2019 • NBS OUTDOOR • 11

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