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Northern Arizona Spring Merriam's Turkey Hunts

Arizona Merriam's Turkey Guides and Outfitters

Hunt Native Merriam's Gobblers

arizona merriams turkey hunting guide outfitter 

About the Northern Arizona Merriam's Wild Turkey

Northern Arizona is home to the Merriam’s wild turkey, whereas southern Arizona is where the Gould's turkey resides. Historically, the Merriam's turkey was only found in 3 states: Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Merriam's have been transplanted from these three states to many parts of the country, but a unique place to hunt them is in their indigenous area. Arizona turkeys are wild and native birds. This is where the Merriam's originated, so they are pure. There is no hybridization in our areas like some other areas of the country that offer Merriam's turkey hunting.

Characteristics: The bright colors of the Arizona Merriam's turkey will amaze hunters that are only familiar with the other turkey subspecies. Merriam's have a cream-white accent on the outer edge of the tail feathers and rump, unlike the Eastern, Osceola, and Rio Grande turkeys (Gould's typically have pure white). It's light colored tail tips are an intermediate between the tan Rio's and the white Gould's. 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).

merriam's turkey spursMature Arizona Tom Merriam's Turkeys grow beards averaging 9 inches, although we have taken several exceptional birds with over 11-inch beards. 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 these Merriam's wild turkeys are BIG, averaging over 21lbs. Typically, the mature Toms we harvest will weigh from 19 to 24 pounds! That's a large turkey considering there are no food plots, no farm fields or other human feeding. Another interesting feature, the native 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 native Merriam's turkey with no hybridization that shows pure traits, come hunt with us in their native, indigenous mountain habitat of northern Arizona.

This is arguably the most beautiful sub-species of the Turkey Grand Slam and every Grand Slam hunter should add a "pure" Arizona Merriam’s to his collection!

We also offer Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts.

About Our Arizona Spring Merriam's Turkey Hunts

arizona merriam's turkey hunting guide outfitter hunt unit 1The turkeys we hunt are primarily in remote areas 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. Since Merriam's are mountain dwelling turkeys, our hunts take place in the Ponderosa Pine forests at elevations around 6500 to 8500 feet. The mountainous hunt area has breathtaking scenery and great temperatures of around 75 degrees in the day and 40 degrees at night. Arizona Shotgun Spring Season Merriam's turkey tags are on a lottery draw.  Youth-Only  turkey tags are over the counter.  We typically hunt for northern Arizona Merriam's turkey within the Coconino National Forest.

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.  We conduct 1-on-1 and 2-on-1 turkey hunts, but to increase odds of harvesting, each hunter should consider having their own guide. If choosing 2-on-1, it is a requirement that you bring the other hunter to share the guide with. If you cannot find a hunting partner, you will have your own personal guide and get the 1-on-1 rate. We keep camp sizes to a minimum to ensure the utmost quality of the hunting experience. 

Since Arizona is such a vast and arid (dry) environment, these native Merriam's turkeys tend to have a very large home range and are more spread-out than other turkeys. These birds live in the mountains with large canyons.  Therefore, hunters should be prepared for hiking. Daily hikes could be anywhere from a 1/2 mile up to 2 miles from the end of the road, depending upon where the birds are hanging at the time of the hunt. Primarily, we walk large ridges and set-up when we strike a gobbler. We also set-up in known corridor areas and "cold call" in blinds or against pine trees to see if a weary gobbler will come to investigate. Calling birds off the roost in the early morning can sometimes be effective if the birds aren't henned-up. The guide will typically call for the hunters, but experienced turkey hunters can join-in with calling as well. If you are looking for a very original turkey hunt in a challenging remote setting where you will be hiking mountains and hunting native, indigenous mountain birds, than this is the Merriam's hunt for you!

Our northern Arizona turkey hunts are very limited and fill fast. After you draw a tag, please try to book early to ensure a spot.

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, southern 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.

2023 Arizona Spring Merriam's Turkey Season

 

Shotgun Spring Season:  April 28-May 18;  Shotgun Spring Merriam's tags are by random lottery draw, apply in early Oct.

 

Arizona Licenses and Turkey Permit Tags

Hunting License Fees: $37 (Resident) or $160 (NonResident)

Turkey Permit Tag Fees: $38 (Res) or $105 (NonRes)

Since Arizona Shotgun Turkey hunting is on a random lottery draw basis, hunters that are interested in booking a hunt with us can be emailed instructions on how to apply and which hunt numbers to use. The online draw application period for Spring Turkey is late September through early October. Once a tag is drawn, we would then book the hunt with a signed contract and 50% nonrefundable deposit.  Primarily we will hunt Merriam's turkey within the Coconino National Forest.  Please contact us for details and instructions before applying.

Bag Limit: The bag limit in Arizona is ONE turkey per year, either a Merriam's or a Gould's.

 

2023 HUNT RATES

FOR MERRIAM'S TURKEY

TURKEY Hunt Options # DAYS RATE
Guided Merriam's Turkey Hunt (2-on-1) up to 3* $2,000.00/person
Guided Merriam's Turkey Hunt (1-on-1) up to 3* $2,500.00/person

Guide-Only Option (B.Y.O. tent/supplies/meals): Take off $150.00 from normal rate

Non-Hunter Fee: Some hunters like to bring another person to camp and share the experience while they hunt. There might be an option to invite one person as a non-hunter or observer while on your guided turkey hunt.  Non-hunter space is very limited.  Based upon availability.  Turkey Hunt Non-Hunter Fee: $800.00

Choose a "Hunter to Guide Ratio" of either 1-on-1 or 2-on-1. The 1-on-1 hunt means one hunter per guide. 2-on-1 means two hunters per guide (share a guide).  In order to increase odds, we recommend each hunter have his own guide (choosing 1-on-1).  If choosing 2-on-1, it is a requirement that you bring the other hunter to share the guide with. If you cannot find a hunting partner, you will have your own personal guide and get the 1-on-1 rate.

Description of Turkey Hunts

Spring Merriam's Turkey Hunts Include: Complimentary meals, complimentary camp accommodations (primarily remote tent camps), a guide, trophy prep (skinning), up to 3 days of hunting (depart camp about noon on last day of hunting).

Costs and Considerations that are the hunter's responsibility: licenses and tags, transporting yourself to/from the camp, rental vehicle, taxidermy, shipping or transporting of animal to home, airport hotel stay before/after the hunt (if flying).  Gratuity for your guide is gladly accepted and customary (15% is typical). 

* Arrive to camp the day prior to hunting.  Depart camp about noon on the last day of hunting.  So, it's best if flying non-resident hunters arrive in Arizona the evening prior to meeting us (two days before hunting), rent an SUV from the airport, get a hotel room and we will meet the next day about noon in the hunt area about 4 hours from Tucson Airport or 2.5 hours from Phoenix Airport.  These are the closest major airports.  Some hunters fly into Flagstaff, which is only 1 hour from the hunt area. Flying hunters can follow us to camp with their rental vehicle.  Flights should depart the day after the hunt.  More details on the general info page.

arizona outfitter tent campAccommodations: Our complimentary accommodations are basic southwestern style outfitter tent camps which are often located many miles from civilization. Sleeping quarters for turkey hunts are typically in deluxe outfitter tents, unless noted otherwise.  If you are looking for a hunt with fancy lodges, this is NOT the hunt for you!  Tent camps are used because we stay in remote areas.  The deluxe tents consist of large outfitter Kodiak Canvas brand tents.  The size of our tents are tall and spacious inside; typically 10X10 or 10X14 and stand 6.5 feet tall. The tents are equipped with heaters during the colder months. Cots with thick pads are provided, but all hunters must bring their own sleeping bags. For those that own a camping trailer and would like to bring it to camp to stay in are more than welcome to do so, but it must be short and high enough for ground clearance on rough, rocky dirt roads. Please ask for road conditions before bringing one.   Video of our typical camp.

Additional Information

Booking Info: A minimum 50% non-refundable deposit and some signed paperwork is required to book the hunt. General Spring Season hunters will book the hunt 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: Some hunters like to bring another person to camp and share the experience while they hunt. There might be an option to invite one person as a non-hunter or observer while on your guided turkey hunt.  Non-hunter space is very limited.  Based upon availability.  Turkey Hunt Non-Hunter Fee: $800.00

Camo Pattern: Hunting attire (clothes, vests, packs) must be fully camouflaged. We hunt Ponderosa Pine forests, which are primarily dark brown, green and dark gray/black in color. Therefore, the best camo patterns for our areas are Realtree, Mossy Oak , Kuiu Verde or any camouflage with drab colors.  Face nets/masks and gloves are required.

Weapons: It is Arizona law that only shotguns, crossbows, or bows be used for turkey.

 

Our Track Record: The outfitter does not just cycle a multitude of hunters through the camp. But rather, he keeps camp sizes to a minimum to ensure the utmost quality of the hunt. Over the past 20+ years, our Spring Merriam's turkey hunters have experienced a high shot opportunity with a great success rate. We are proud to say that many of our seasons have experienced a 100% success rate!  Unfortunately, due to the nature of turkey hunting in the mountains, success during some seasons has been lower.  Bad weather (particularly high winds), "henned-up" gobblers, the hunter's physical fitness level, or just missing the shot were the limiting factors for the unfortunate hunters. Putting all statistics aside, you can "rest-assured" that your guide will do his very best in helping you have an enjoyable hunting experience! Please feel free to contact our references and view testimonials.

About the Outfitter: Pat Feldt earned a Bachelor of Science in Renewable Natural Resources with a major in Wildlife Management 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 52 year-old turkey hunting fanatic who has been pursuing wild turkeys his whole lifetime. Whether scouting or guiding Merriam's hunters, Gould's hunters, or hunting for himself or with friends and family, he typically persues turkeys nearly everyday of the Spring turkey season (about 5 weeks straight)!  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 raspy mouth diaphragms coupled with friction pot calls. 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 native mountain Merriam's gobblers himself and has taken all the subspecies in the Grand Slam, as well as completed the US Royal Slam. His Gould's turkeys were taken within Arizona.  See some of Pat's personal turkey harvests.

 

Arizona Spring Merriam's Turkey Hunt Photos

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arizona merriams turkey hunting hunt guide outfitter

 

Also, be sure to view our general info page, list of items page, Gould's Turkey page, and references page.

 

Contact the Outfitter

 

We also offer Southern Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts

 

Visit our favorite turkey hunting websites, the National Wild Turkey Federation and Wild Turkey Zone


Home | Hunts | General Info | Rates | Stories | Links | References | What to Bring | Contact Us | Video | Policy