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Merriam's Turkey Hunts
New Mexico Arizona Merriam's Turkey Guides and Outfitters
Hunt Native Merriam's Gobblers
About the Arizona and New Mexico Merriam's Wild Turkey
Arizona and New Mexico are home to the Merriam’s wild turkey. Historically, these mountain dwelling birds were only found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Merriam's have been transplanted from these three states to all parts of the country, but the true place to hunt them is in their indigenous area. Our Arizona and New Mexico gobblers are wild and native birds. This is where they originated, so they are pure. There is no hybridization in Arizona or New Mexico like some other areas of the country that offer Merriam's turkey hunting.
Characteristics: The bright colors of the Merriam's turkey will amaze hunters that are only familiar with the other turkey subspecies. True Merriam's have a creamy white accent on the outer edge of the tail feathers and rump, unlike the Eastern, Osceola, and Rio Grande turkeys (Gould's have pure white). The primary wing feathers are mostly white with small black accent bars (the opposite is true with the wing barring on the other 3 sub-species). Mature Tom Merriam's Turkeys grow beards averaging 9.5 inches, although we have taken some over 11 inches. Since the terrain is rough and rocky, the spurs are typically worn or rounded. They usually do not exceed 1¼ inches. Three-quarter to one-inch worn spurs are the norm on mature 2 to 5 year old mountain Merriam's. The size of our Merriam's wild turkeys are big, averaging over 21lbs. Typically, the mature Toms we harvest will weigh from 20 pounds to 25 pounds! That's a large turkey considering there are no food plots, farm fields or other human feeding. Another interesting feature, the Merriam's tail fan is larger than the other three U.S. wild turkey subspecies in the Grand Slam. These are just a few common features among "true" Merriam's. If you want a real Merriam's turkey with no hybridization that shows pure traits, come hunt with us in their native mountain habitat of New Mexico and Arizona.
This is arguably the most beautiful sub-species of the Turkey Grand Slam and every Grand Slam hunter should add a "pure" Arizona or New Mexico Merriam’s to his collection!
We also offer Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts.
About Our Wilderness Merriam's Hunts
We are proud to offer quality Spring Merriam's turkey hunts in both New Mexico and Arizona. The birds we hunt are primarily in a wilderness-type setting and live many miles from human civilization. Unlike Nebraska or other transplant States, these are truly "wild turkeys." They live in their natural forested, mountain habitat with no food plots, no farm fields, no feeders or other human influence. In fact, the turkeys in most areas we hunt have never seen a human! Since Merriam's are mountain dwelling turkeys, our hunts take place in the Ponderosa Pine forests at elevations around 7500 to 8500 feet. The hunt area has breathtaking scenery and great temperatures of around 65 degrees in the day and 30 degrees at night. Our hunting areas include the infamous Gila National Forest of New Mexico and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest of Arizona. These two Forests are not small tracts of land, but rather millions of acres of unspoiled country and prime hunting grounds. Turkey tags in New Mexico are over-the-counter. The shotgun season Merriam's tags in Arizona are on a special lottery draw, but archery season Merriam's tags in Arizona are over-the-counter. Most of our hunters book for New Mexico, but some do choose to hunt Arizona. Regardless of which State you choose, the quality of birds are the same and each hunt can be just as exciting or rewarding!
These are fully-guided turkey hunts. Hunters are led into the field daily by an experienced Merriam's 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 native mountain Merriam's turkeys. Hunters are encouraged to bring a partner because this is primarily a 2-on-1 Merriam's hunt. We keep camp sizes to a minimum to ensure the utmost quality of the hunting experience.
Since the West is such a vast and arid environment, native Merriam's turkeys tend to have a larger home range and are more spread-out than the other subspecies. Hunters should be prepared to cover a lot of ground in order to increase their odds for success. Daily hikes could be anywhere from ½ mile to 2 miles from the end of the road, depending upon where the birds are hanging at the time of the hunt. Our guides will typically call for the hunters, but experienced turkey hunters can call for themselves or join-in with calling, whichever is preferred. Like Spring turkey hunting anywhere, there are many tactics to use while hunting these mountain birds. We are most successful using aggressive turkey hunting techniques. 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 blind to see if a weary gobbler will come to investigate. Calling birds off the roost in the early morning can sometimes be effective too. You can also request to sit a ground blind at a water hole, which can be a productive technique if we are experiencing a dry Spring season. If you are looking for a very original turkey hunt in a wilderness-type setting where you will be hunting native mountain birds, we have the Merriam's hunt for you!
The outfitter also offers limited draw Gould's turkey hunts in Southern Arizona. If you are looking to complete your Royal Slam without going to Mexico, Arizona is just about your only option for a U.S. Gould's gobbler. Visit the Gould's page or contact the outfitter for more details on Arizona Gould's turkey hunts.
2015 Turkey Seasons/Licenses/Bag Limits
*New Mexico Hunts: add 5.125% New Mexico Gross Receipt State Tax
**This is primarily a 2-on-1 fully-guided Merriam's turkey hunt where you bring a partner to share the guide with. If you are a solitary hunter and cannot bring a partner, a 1-on-1 hunt is available at $1,950.
Our Turkey Hunts are nearly ALL-INCLUSIVE!
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 do not provide food.), accommodations are included, transportation while hunting, a guide, trophy prep (skinning/caping/packaging for transport), and many extras.
Package Details: Camp is located many miles from civilization. Accommodations are normally in outfitter tents with cots and pads, but depending upon the number of hunters in camp, a camping trailer might be used. 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 (skinning/caping) 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 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 7am) 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.
Booking Info: A minimum 50% non-refundable deposit and some paperwork is required to book the hunt. In NM, the deposit is required upon booking, since tags are over-the-counter. In AZ, the deposit is required only after tags are 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.
Camo Pattern: Hunting attire (clothes, vests, packs) must be fully camouflaged. We hunt Ponderosa Pine forests, which are primarily dark brown and dark gray in color. Therefore, the best camo patterns for our areas are Realtree AP, Mossy Oak New Breakup or Infinity, Advantage Timber, or Cabela's Seclusion. Bright greens do not blend-in here, so stay away from Mossy Oak Obsession or Realtree APG. Face nets/masks and gloves are required.
Weapons: It’s the law that only shotguns, crossbows, or bows be used for turkey.
Our Success Rate: Over the past 17 seasons, our Merriam's turkey hunters have experienced a very high shot opportunity (calling a bearded gobbler to within shooting distance) with a very high success rate! We are proud to say that many seasons have been 100% success! Unfortunately, due to the nature of turkey hunting, some seasons have been lower. Bad weather (mainly high winds), "henned-up" gobblers, hunter's physical limitations, or just "plain missing" were usually the limiting factors for the few unfortunate hunters. Putting all statistics aside, you can "rest-assured" that we will do our best and will work very hard to ensure that you have an enjoyable hunting experience! We do not just cycle a multitude of hunters through our camps. But rather, we keep camp sizes to a minimum to ensure the utmost quality. Please feel free to contact our references and view testimonials.
Our Guides: Your main turkey guide is also the outfitter, Pat Feldt. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology 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 44 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 has taken dozens of mountain Merriam's gobblers himself and has hunted various states for all the subspecies in the Grand Slam and has completed the Royal Slam.
Latest Turkey Hunting Photos
Ryan Betts shot this nice Merriam's turkey at 44 yards. (April 2014)
Doug Betts shot this big ol' Merriam's turkey at 42 yards. (April 2014)
Matt Mansfield and turkey guide Pat Feldt with a nice opening morning Merriam's. (April 2014)
Turkey guide Pat Feldt with a nice Merriam's Gobbler (May 2014)
Turkey guide Pat Feldt and Jarad Seidel from PA with his big Merriam's gobbler.
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This website last updated: Sept. 9, 2014
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