Wyoming Rio Grande Turkey Hunting Guides and Outfitters
Rio Grande Turkey Hunts: Wyoming’s Best-Kept Secret
Wyoming, as it turns out, is a premiere Rio Grande turkey-hunting destination, complete with experienced, professional, and skilled Wyoming outfitters and guides who love and respect nature seemingly more than their other American counterparts. So, first, let’s talk about the Rio Grande turkey – what it is, what it does, and some hunting challenges involved in taking on a sizeable Wyoming Rio Grande turkey in a sensational, exhilarating hunt!
The Rio Grande turkey is typically around four feet tall and has disproportionately long legs. It is pale and copper colored having tail feathers with a yellowish buff. An alternating color pattern includes tan feathers with medium or dark brown buffed tips. The Rio Grande turkey’s color is consistently lighter than the Eastern or Florida bird, but is darker than the same feathers in the Merriam or Gould subspecies. Feathers of the hen breast, sides and flanks are tipped with pale, pinkish buff. Adult Rio Grande turkeys weigh from eight to twenty pounds.
Breeding occurs May through August, as the increase of daylight hours triggers hormonal changes in the Wyoming Rio Grande turkey. Gobbling is used to attract receptive females for mating in late February to early March, and male Rio Grande turkeys exhibit both gobbling and strutting to attract females. Gobbling attracts the female Rio Grande turkey to the male, who then courts the female by strutting. If the gobbler is successful, the female will crouch to signal the male to begin copulation. The first peak time for gobbling occurs at the beginning of breeding season, when gobblers are searching for hens.
Wild Wyoming Rio Grande turkeys are omnivores, eating a variety of plant and animal matter whenever available. Poults, or young turkeys, eat large quantities of insects and other animal matter to get needed protein for development. As a Rio Grande turkey ages, plant matter becomes the primary food source, and about 90 percent of the mature turkey’s diet includes the green foliage of grasses, vines, seeds, and various fruits.
The Rio Grande turkey uses brushy areas near streams and rivers, or mesquite, pine, and scrub oak forests. They prefer more open country than the wooded areas preferred by eastern wild turkeys, so Wyoming serves as an excellent habitat for Rio Grande turkeys.
The shotgun, bow and arrow, and black powder are all used to hunt turkey. To attract Rio Grande turkeys, hunters use a wide range of turkey calls to lure the turkey, or to induce gobblers to a fight. Calling has become so popular that contests in Wyoming are held each year so experts and novices alike can fine-tune their skills.
With their excellent eyesight and well-developed sense of hearing, the Rio Grande turkey can sometimes outsmart decoys used by hunters as they become increasingly sensitized to their presence. Wild turkeys are very good to eat and can be smoked, fried or baked. Many Wyoming hunters proudly display their colorful capes, beards or full-bodied mounts.