New Mexico Eastern Turkey Hunting Guides and Outfitters
New Mexico Eastern Turkey Hunting Proves To Be A Blast
The Eastern turkey subspecies, M. g. silvestris, is the most abundant and widespread turkey in North America. More than 5 million birds inhabit 37 Eastern, Southern and Midwestern states from Maine to Missouri, but one place many hunters may not consider for snagging a quality Eastern turkey is New Mexico. The subspecies has also been stocked in places like California and Oregon. Eastern turkey populations are stable or growing in many parts of North America.
Eastern turkeys live in diverse habitats, from Northeastern forests to Southern swamps to Midwestern farmlands. Mixed oak-pine forests interspersed with fields, creeks and rivers provide prime habitats for growing flocks of the birds, so New Mexico makes sense for this bird. Since Eastern turkeys live mainly in woodlands, their home ranges are relatively small, with many flocks roaming only several thousand acres.
Eastern turkeys roost high in trees on points, flats, or knolls just below ridge tops. In flatlands like many parts of New Mexico, the Eastern turkeys are likely to roost anywhere, but they often prefer straight hardwood trees that grow on small rises or hummocks. When the weather turns cold, windy, rainy or snowy, flocks or individual Eastern turkeys seek warmth and shelter in evergreen trees.
In the New Mexico spring, gobblers strut in open terrains where hens feed and nest—pastures, food plots, burns, and similar terrain. Woodland areas with thin understory — oak flats, creek bottoms, logging roads, power-line cuts — are also good strut zones where Eastern turkey toms meet up with hens.
Several New Mexico guides offer quality Eastern turkey hunts, in both New Mexico and Arizona. The Eastern turkeys they pursue are primarily in a wilderness-type setting, and live many miles from human civilization. Unlike Nebraska or other transplant states, these are truly wild Eastern turkeys – many of them live in their natural habitat, with no food plots, no farm fields, no feeders or other human influence. In fact, many Eastern turkeys in parts of New Mexico have never seen a human! Since Eastern turkeys are also mountain-dwelling turkeys, New Mexico hunts take place in the Ponderosa Pine forests, at elevations around 7,500 to 8,500 feet. The Eastern turkey hunt area has breathtaking scenery, and New Mexico’s great temperatures, around 60 degrees in the day and 30 degrees at night.
Other Eastern turkey-hunting areas nearby 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 Eastern turkey-hunting grounds. Turkey tags in New Mexico are over-the-counter, but the tags in Arizona are on a special lottery draw, so most Eastern turkey hunters book for New Mexico, but some do choose to hunt Arizona. Regardless whether you choose Arizona or New Mexico, the quality of Eastern turkeys is definitely worthwhile, and each Eastern turkey hunt is just as exciting or rewarding!