Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day of Spring Turkey Season

Saturday was the opening day of our spring turkey season for Rio Grande Turkeys here in North Central Texas. We didn't have much luck, as nobody on our place bagged a bird, but we did happen to see and hear a few. Since we weren't successful and I don't have any pictures to share, I thought I would take this opportunity to share a few facts about the wild turkey.

According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, by the early 1900s, most wild turkey populations had been wiped out in North America, victims of centuries of habitat destruction and commercial harvest. As late as the Great Depression, fewer than 30,000 wild turkeys remained in the entire United States. Since that time, turkey populations have rebounded dramatically, primarily due to the conservation efforts of hunters, wildlife agencies, and conservation organizations - such as the National Wild Turkey Federation. Today it is estimated that more than 7 million wild turkeys can be found across North America.

Here is a map from the NWTF's website that shows the distribution of the wild turkey.

As you can see, most of the birds found in Texas are Rio Grande Turkeys, although there are some Eastern Wild Turkeys in the pineywoods of East Texas. The Rio Grande subspecies is typically smaller in body size than the Eastern. In Texas, a mature Rio Grande gobbler will weigh 16 to 18 pounds on average, while the Eastern will weigh an average of 20 pounds.

The Rio Grande Turkey usually has tail feathers that are yellowish-buff or tan in color on the tips.

The Eastern Turkey has darker brown tail feather tips.

And they make really scrumptious table fare as well.

Here are a few recent trail camera pics:
A few posts back I mentioned that my Dad, Katy and I saw 4 little piglets while we were walking through the woods at our hunting lease. At that time, the piglets were very small, probably about 5 pounds each (small enough that I think I probably could have caught one of them). My trail camera happened to catch a picture of the exact same 4 piglets a few weeks later. They are a little too big to catch now, but they still look tasty.

A few deer pics.


Deer Passion said...

We also have the Rio Grande subspecies in Kansas. The turkey firearm season opens today - I can't wait to get in the field!! Good luck to ya!

Anonymous said...

I will be hunting the eastern wild turkey here in CT. starting May 6th. and I am looking forward to it. I hope we both score.