Best Turkey for Hunting

Turkey hunting is a popular game, especially around the holidays. About 7 million turkeys make up the North American turkey population, including five different subspecies. But not all turkeys are alike; their calls, physical features and personalities are all different, so you’ll need to learn a thing or two about turkeys before you go hunting. Let’s take a look at each species carefully so you can locate the best turkey hunting Florida location. 

Rio Grande

This turkey subspecies lives in rugged parts of the U.S., such as Kansas, Texas, Washington, and California, although they can be found in North Dakota and Hawaii as well. With tan tail feathers, medium-sized beards and spurs, you will usually find them in arid plains or low shrubby areas, such as brush country. You never know where they’re going to roost because they can end up anywhere at any time- morning, noon, or evening. They don’t tend to stay in one place. But once you figure out their food sources, they can be found pretty quickly. 


Similar to the Rio Grande turkey, the Merriam is smaller in population, but is widely distributed in territory because of the predator to turkey ratio. You’ll find them scattered across the various regions of the U.S. With quiet gobbles, short spurs and beards, and lighter feathers, they’re considered an easier species to hunt because they live in rugged, brushy places (sound familiar?). You’ll find them anywhere from the Idaho mountains to the Mexico deserts. 


This is a turkey you can recognize instantly, but is considered to be a difficult species to hunt. This turkey population is made up of about 5.3 million, in the eastern side of the U.S. alone. They are found in almost every state east of Missouri but can be found in Western States like California and Montana, too. These Eastern turkeys are the heaviest, weighing up to 25 pounds or more. Their tail fan can be a bronze or copper color. These tough turkeys have the loudest gobbles, longest beards and spurs, and the darkest feathers. 


Talk about your snowbird, these turkeys are found only in Florida. With an estimated population of 90,000, you can find them in the interior of the state. So when you’re turkey hunting in Florida, you can watch for their bronze colored fans and resonant gobbles! They can be found among cattle in open fields in the countryside, but also in palmetto hammocks and pine timbers. 


And lastly, having the longest legs and biggest feet of all the turkey species are the Goulds. You can find these beauties in New Mexico and Arizona, but with a wider range that touches Central America and Mexico! Easily identifiable but one of the toughest turkeys to hunt, their colors are almost white and they like to roost in mountainous regions.

Turkey Tips 

Believe it or not, turkeys are clever enough to spot you, the hunter, and the decoy. Your best bet is to go before the foliage begins; however, keep in mind that they are still looking for missteps. Turkeys are smarter than you think. They can see farther than you can, so you’ll need to sit and have patience. If you can see them, chances are they’ve seen you first! Don’t go hunting without a plan. Before you call, get a good brush pile or tree to set up against, and relatively close by so that when  one sounds off, you have a place to set up and get your turkey without any hindrance. And lastly, don’t give up! If you bump a bird, and they shy away, break out a new call or continue after a few minutes when the bird has had time to shake it off. 

First time turkey hunting? Perhaps you want to cover some new territory? Whatever the case, Quail Creek Sporting Ranch is your turkey hunting Florida place. Stop by or contact us for lodging, events, and all your hunting needs! 

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