Kansas EasternsContributors to this thread:
Nick Muche 23-Mar-18
I've gotten a number of merriams and rios over the years but am looking forward to matching wits with easterns. I was wondering where you'd draw the line for easterns in Kansas. I'm aware there are likely rio-eastern hybrids but am wondering how far east I can expect to go before running into toms with eastern coloration?
From: Nick Muche
I'd likely just head on over to Missouri.
I would think they would have to be pretty Far East to be easterns. I was by Kansas City one time and saw what looked like Easterns
Eastern/SE Oklahoma has plenty of easterns. If I wanted an Eastern that was no doubt, I'd probably do what Nick said.
Here in Iowa they are all easterns. State of Missouri is the same way. Eastern Nebraska and Kansas will have them as well but don't know what part in Kansas they start.
I hunt east Kansas every year and there is a lot of Hybrid going on. Not that I care, I've shot them all and really don't care anymore what I shoot ... I just like to hunt birds. But the birds that I hunt between Wichita and Topeka (pretty far east) all have a hybrid look to them compared to the Indiana birds that I hunt at home. Lots of birds though in eastern Kansas. The best turkey hunting (in terms of numbers of birds) that I have found in all of my travels.
Chetopa KS are all Eastern. i killed a pile of them there....
If you want to match wits with a true eastern you have to go to alabama.
That’s a fact! By rights dem Bama birds need there separate subspecies category.
That’s gospel fact according to the book of TBM chapter 1 verse 1
Near Manhattan we are all hybrid and that is pretty Far East. Nick was right about going on east to MO if you want to stay a true Eastern.
Ok, Steve put a link to the fifth different map I’ve seen for our Kansas birds. Like those birds know not to cross those lines. Jims, I say hunt the eastern two tiers of counties. Our farm is in one of those and the birds still look like the ones we’ve killed in the Ozarks, ‘Bama, ... Really, you should be more concerned with getting to hunt true eastern habitat than the variable color of a few feathers, which tells you nothing. Hunt the big hardwood ridges for the real experience. A turkey is a turkey is a turkey. Things like thickness of the habitat, hunting pressure and breeding season dictate more than feathers.
Map is suspect I agree but at least it shows that if one gets two counties from the Missouri border that it had a very good chance of being an Eastern.Thats what I've told many a southern boy but pulling up the map to make sure I wasn't off base I found that beaut.The soft colors look great :)
Here's a map provided by the NWTF. Obviously turkeys don't know borders but it's good to have a reference with approximate lines in the sand. I'm mostly interested in colors merely from a taxidermy standpoint. It would be nice to have mounts showing the contrast in coloration . If you are interested in shooting a slam and dead set that you are absolutely sure that each is a pure strain it likely would be important to hunt each sub species well inside the borders of each.
Then it’s up to you. We have taken birds in southwest Kansas and north-central Nebraska that some would have claimed for their “eastern.” Outfitters in Kansas advertise you can shoot both your eastern and your Rio...then you shoot both and they’re really just hybrids, possibly from the same brood. It’s like having one son with brown hair and another with black. Just because someone has red hair doesn’t mean they’re 100 percent Irish. As much as you like turkeys, Jims, someday you need to go kill a big bird in the steep hardwoods.
Those birds in Edwards County have to be Easterns, the maps show it that way. Well I guess the one actually shows Stafford County. Lol, at least they agree that there is a pocket somewhere in central Kansas. My guess is, odds of shooting a pure Eastern with a small isolated population surrounded by Rios, is slim to none. Another guess here, but if you limit yourself to just Kansas, you won't get much of the "experience" hunting Easterns.
Shot multiple turkeys in both of those counties and haven’t seen much for Eastern characteristics
That NWTF map is outdated regarding the boundaries between sub-species. for instance, In Florida it is generally considered that you have to be south of Ocala for a full-blooded Osceola...and that was some years ago. I imagine you'd have to be farther south than that now. Also, I hunt Kansas and was told by a KS biologist that Rios were introduced in the Flint Hills area years ago because the Easterns weren't doing real well. Populations picked up after the introduction. I have an idea that, unless a true geographic boundary exists between sub-species you're most likely to find hybridization.
Ranch we hunted for 30 years in Chase County, center of the Flint Hills, was stocked with Easterns and they did well. But as Corn said, it was easy for Rios to move in. Interesting to see how looks come and go. Gorgeous birds.
I wonder if given enough time if US turkeys will be similar to humans? First started off with only Indian blood and now a melting pot of who knows no matter what part of the country you are!
Interesting that there are no recognized hybrids between the Eastern/Osceola border.......
Jims — another factor is the presence of domestic turkey blood in today’s birds.