Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts
Arizona Gould's Turkey Guides and Outfitters
Hunt Big Gould's Gobblers
About Our Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts
We are pleased to offer hunting trips in southeastern Arizona for the rare Gould's turkey. The Gould's turkey is primarily a mountain dwelling bird that inhabits the southeastern portion of Arizona in higher altitude areas known as "Sky Islands" (forested mountaintops that rise above the vast desert). The sub-species is geographically separated from the Merriam's by many square miles of surrounding desert. Therefore, the chance for hybridization is slim to none. The Gould's is the largest of the turkey subspecies with longer legs, larger feet, and larger tail feathers and wings than all the other subspecies. But, the most notable difference from the other turkey subspecies is that the Gould's turkey has pure white tips on the rump and tail feathers (Merriam's have cream-white).
The Gould's turkeys that we hunt live in a natural habitat with no food plots, no farm fields, no feeders and typically no other human influence. Since Gould's are mountain dwelling turkeys, our hunts take place in the Ponderosa Pine forests at elevations of 6500 to 8500 feet. This high altitude hunt area has breathtaking scenery with very enjoyable Springtime temperatures of 75 degrees in the day and 45 degrees at night. In order to eliminate over-harvest, Arizona Gould's Turkey tags are on a special lottery draw. The outfitter can assist prospective hunters with the drawing process. Once a tag is drawn for our area, we can then book the hunt.
These are fully-guided turkey hunts. Hunters are led into the field daily by an experienced turkey guide in order to provide the highest chances for success. Our guides are very familiar with the area, terrain, where the birds hang-out, and more importantly, the techniques needed to effectively hunt Gould's turkeys. Gould's turkeys live in the mountains. There are no fields or food plots to set up on. In order to increase odds for success, hunters should be able to hike away from the road and into the quality turkey areas. Daily hikes could be anywhere from ½ mile to 1 mile from the end of the road, depending upon where the birds are hanging at the time of your hunt. Like Spring turkey hunting anywhere, there are many tactics to use while hunting these mountain birds. Primarily, we walk large ridges and set-up when we strike a gobbler. We also set-up in known corridor areas and "cold call" against pine trees or in a make-shift blind to see if a weary gobbler will come to investigate. Calling birds off the roost in the early morning can sometimes be effective. Our guides will typically call for the hunters, but experienced turkey hunters can call for themselves or join-in with calling, whichever is preferred. If you need your Gould's turkey for the Royal Slam and want to stay within the United States, we have the Gould's hunt for you!
2016 Turkey Seasons/Licenses/Bag Limits
Since Arizona Gould's Turkey hunting is on a limited draw basis, hunters that are interested in booking a hunt can be emailed instructions on how to apply and which hunt numbers to use. You will be subscribed to receive our email newsletter. The draw application period for Spring Turkey is early September through early October. If you apply and are lucky enough to draw a tag, we would then book the hunt. As with any lottery draw, persistance is the key. Some hunters are lucky and draw after only 1 or 2 tries, while some are not so lucky and take several years to draw. You never know when you will be drawn, but you can build bonus points to increase your odds. Each time you apply and are not drawn, you receive a point. An additional turkey bonus point can also be obtained by purchasing a "bonus point" during May, meaning 2 points can be accumulated per year. For each point you have, you get an additional entry into the draw, thus increasing your odds over time.
Note: Everyone needs a nonrefundable hunting license in order to apply. The turkey permit-tag fee will only be charged if you are drawn.
Hunting License Fees: $37.00(Resident) or $160.00(NonResident)
Turkey Permit Tag Fees: $38 (Res) and $105 (NonRes)
ARIZONA Spring Turkey Seasons are April 22 through May 19.
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey per year in Arizona.
One-on-one, 3-day, nearly all-inclusive, guided Gould's turkey hunt: $1,950.00/person.
We have experienced 100% success on our Gould's turkey hunts! Each hunter we have taken has tagged a big Gould's gobbler! Although there are no guarantees in hunting of wild game, if you can hike and shoot straight, we should be able to get you a Gould's gobbler!
BOOKING INFO: A minimum 50% non-refundable deposit and a signed contract is required to book the hunt. The deposit is required only after a Gould's tag is drawn. The remaining balance is due at least 21 days prior to the hunt. We recommend cancellation insurance for all of our guests. Visit our policy page for more details on booking and cancellations.
Non-Hunter Fee: Bring a non-hunter or an observer for a flat fee of $500.00.
Our Turkey Hunts are nearly ALL-INCLUSIVE!
WHAT'S INCLUDED: a complimentary ride to camp if flying (pick-up/drop-off point: Tucson Airport Hotels Only). This saves you from renting a vehicle. Meals are included (Most other turkey hunts across the US do not provide food.), accommodations are included, transportation while hunting, a guide, trophy prep (skinning/caping/packaging), and many extras.
PACKAGE DETAILS: Camp is often located many miles from civilization. Accommodations are normally in a camping trailer. Meals are provided, which usually consists of a quick breakfast with coffee, cooked brunch, and hot dinner. If you are successful, preparation of your trophy for transport will be provided. If flying, it is easiest to donate the meat to your guide and put the packaged turkey cape into your luggage or carry-on bag. A complimentary airport hotel pickup/drop-off can be provided for hunters that fly into Tucson, Arizona. This is the closest airport. Driving hunters will meet us either in Tucson, at camp, or a town near the hunt area, whichever is most feasible. Flying hunters should get a flight into Tucson on the evening prior to meeting us, get an airport hotel room, and we will pickup the morning prior to the hunt for a ride to camp. For example, if your hunting starts on a Friday, you should get a flight into Tucson late Wednesday evening, get a hotel room, and we will pickup early Thursday morning (about 7-8am) for the drive to camp. This eliminates loss of hunting time if your flight is delayed or cancelled, which is becoming a common occurrence. We typically arrive back in Tucson in the late afternoon or early evening of the last day (around 4-6pm). So, flying hunters should get a flight out the evening of the last day or the morning after the hunt (hotel required). The possible hotel stay before/after the hunt is not included and is the hunter's responsibility. Driving hunters will meet us either in Tucson, at camp, or a town near the hunt area, whichever is most feasible.
Non-Hunter Fee: Bring a non-hunter or an observer for a flat fee of $500.00.
WEAPONS: It’s the law that only shotguns, crossbows, or bows be used for turkey.
Shotguns: We recommend shotguns to be camouflage and chambered for 3" or 3-1/2" in 12 gauge. The best loads we have found are Hevi-Shot (Hevi-13) brand with 2 or 2¼ ounces of either #5's or #6's. Choke tubes should be "turkey super full," to produce the tightest and most uniform patterns possible for your particular gun. If you are looking for the perfect choke/load combo, the Hevi-Shot Turkey choke tube paired with the Hevi-13 brand in #5's or #6's produces excellent results!
Shotgun Pattern: It is recommended that you pattern your shotgun prior to arrival. Patterning is well worth the time and money, considering how much is spent on turkey hunting. Buy a few different boxes of shells to see which loads produce the most hits or tightest pattern. Quality turkey shells are quite expensive, so it's wise to split the cost of these test loads with your hunting partner. Set up a paper plate or target at 40 yards to test the pattern. Count the number of pellet hits. The magic number is 100 or more hits inside a 10" circle at 40 yards. If you count less than 100 hits, try a different load or load/choke combination until the magic number is achieved. It is proper hunter ethics to have a very tight pattern so that you either "put down" that big ol' Tom or miss his head/neck completely. The wider the pattern, the higher the risk of hitting the bird in the body, thus crippling him. Please, no body shots with a shotgun on turkeys. Nobody wants to see a trophy Tom get away injured, knowing he'll only die later in the woods.
Crossbows and Bows: Archery turkey hunting is the ultimate challenge, but the Crossbow Craze is quickly gaining popularity. It is perfectly legal to use a crossbow for turkey during the general (shotgun) season, but not during an archery-only season. The outfitter recommends that bowhunters and crossbow hunters use a broadhead with a very large metal cutting edge. Using a 2"+ bladed mechanical broadhead, such as RAGE Hypodermic, is preferred. That way, if the turkey is hit poorly (or sometimes hit well but he flies and disappears across the canyon), there is a higher chance for recovery. Tip for archery/crossbow turkey hunters: After your bird is hit with an arrow, sit tight, be silent, and just let him expire.
Recent Gould's Turkey Hunt Photos
Jim Comins with his giant Gould's Gobbler. He shot it with a Rage Hypodermic at 20 yards. Video of his hunt. (April 2015)
Bruce Carlson from Florida with his big Arizona Gould's gobbler. It was called into 10 yards! (April 2014)
Lou Gambale from New Jersey finished his US Royal Slam on this magnificent 4 year old Gould's Turkey (April 2013)
AZ Super Raffle Gould's turkey hunter Mark McDonald and guide Pat Feldt with a giant Gould's gobbler. (April 2013)
This big, aggressive Gould's Turkey flew across a giant canyon to fight another gobbler before being taken at 25 yards by Tom Quesnel. (April 2013)
This big AZ Gould's turkey was called into 25 yards. (April 2012)
Our Guides: Your main turkey guide is also the outfitter, Pat Feldt. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from the University of Arizona, which adds to his credibility as a full-time outfitter. Even though he is a big game guide throughout the year, his true passion is turkey hunting. He is a 45 year-old turkey hunting fanatic who has been pursuing wild turkeys his whole lifetime. Pat is very experienced in all calling methods and you'll see him using most types of calls while on the hunt. But, he prefers to use the realistic sounding friction pot calls coupled with mouth diaphragms. Pat is also a firm believer in the use of decoys to aid in enticing a gobbler (if given ample time to set one up). He often hunts various states for all the subspecies in the Grand Slam and has completed his Royal Slam without going to Mexico for his Gould's (US Royal Slam).
Our Gould's Turkey Hunting Compilation Video
Contact the outfitter at firstname.lastname@example.org to start applying for the Arizona Gould's turkey.
Also visit our Merriam's Turkey page.