Illinois Rio Grande Turkey Hunting Guides and Outfitters
On The Trail of Rio Grande Turkey in Illinois
The Rio Grande Turkey ranges through Texas to Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and central and western California, as well as parts of a few northeastern states, but one area a lot of hunters don’t even consider for harvesting a big, gobbling Rio Grande Turkey is the grand state of Illinois. Population estimates for Rio Grande turkeys are higher now in Illinois than years ago. This sub-species is native to the central plain states, making it surprisingly common in Illinois. They were first described in 1879, and have relatively long legs. Rio Grande turkey’s body feathers often have a green-copper sheen to them. The tips of the tail and lower back feathers are a light tan color. The Rio Grande Turkey’s habitats are brush areas next to streams, rivers or mesquite, pine and scrub oak forests and, as Illinois features many of these geographical phenomena, there is a pleasant abundance of Illinois Rio Grande turkey for the hunting! Rio Grande turkeys in Illinois are actually quite hearty stock, and some can be quite the challenge for even the experienced turkey hunter, as they are sensitive, jumpy, and sharp. The male is substantially larger than the female, and his feathers have areas of red, purple, green, copper, bronze, and gold iridescence. Female feathers are duller overall, in shades of brown and gray. Rio Grande Turkeys have about 5,000 to 6,000 feathers. The adult male Rio Grande turkey normally weighs from 11-24 lbs, and the adult female is typically much smaller, at 7-12 lbs, but some Rio Grande Turkeys have set some Illinois’ state hunting records! An Illinois-based Rio Grande turkey hunt is typically a semi-guided hunt, often in Southern Illinois. This can be on private ground or local Illinois outfitters can help you with a DIY hunt on public land in a suitable Illinois National Forest. Such a hunt would consist of you staying in local hotels or a camping situation. They can meet up with you an entire day prior to your first day of scheduled hunting to show you the areas and bring you up to speed on current behavior and patterns. Additionally, remember that Illinois permits are on an application basis. Turkey permits begin in January, while non-resident deer permits are made available in July. You can find out more about Illinois hunting and associated license cost by visiting http://dnr.state.il.us/ Self-guided Illinois deer and Rio Grande turkey hunts both average about $150 per day on private land. There are no trophy fees associated with these hunts. If you book several days of such a hunt, you are generally offered a discount by the more flexible Illinois outfitters.