Sitka Mountain Gear
First time hunting Merriams.....advice?
Turkey
Contributors to this thread:
Jasper 06-Apr-18
HUNT MAN 06-Apr-18
Brotsky 06-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 06-Apr-18
Jaquomo 06-Apr-18
writer 06-Apr-18
pointingdogs 07-Apr-18
Ziek 07-Apr-18
HDE 07-Apr-18
Ziek 07-Apr-18
Timbrhuntr 07-Apr-18
AZ~Rich 07-Apr-18
Timbrhuntr 07-Apr-18
Huntcell 07-Apr-18
writer 07-Apr-18
Timbrhuntr 07-Apr-18
HDE 07-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 07-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 07-Apr-18
Paul@thefort 07-Apr-18
Ziek 07-Apr-18
Jasper 08-Apr-18
Timbrhuntr 08-Apr-18
writer 09-Apr-18
From: Jasper
06-Apr-18
I've hunted Easterns in Georgia my whole life and want to try for the Slam. My son and I are headed to Nebraska in a couple of weeks hunting a private farm. How do Merriams act in general compared to Easterns? Will be taking decoys and a bow mounted gobbler decoy as well. Advice? Thanks!

From: HUNT MAN
06-Apr-18

HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
HUNT MAN's embedded Photo
Bring lots of clothes!!

From: Brotsky
06-Apr-18
In general Merriam's are quite vocal and respond well to calling. If you're hunting a farm with minimal pressure that should be even more evident. Merriam's also cover a lot of ground in a day doing turkey things compared to an Eastern bird due to the environment they live in. Otherwise a turkey is a turkey.

From: Paul@thefort
06-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
one farther north in Nebraska
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
one farther north in Nebraska
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
one from Western Colorado, a true Merriam's turkey
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
one from Western Colorado, a true Merriam's turkey
I agree 100% with Justin, turkeys are turkeys where ever you find them. by this Sunday the temps will be in the 60-70s. -- bring tick spray. Pictured a western Nebraska "Merriams".

From: Jaquomo
06-Apr-18
Spray your pants and outer layers inside and out with Permetherin. Let it dry and you should be good for a week. Tons of ticks with all sorts of nasty diseases. I haven't had a tick since I started pre-treating with Repel.

From: writer
06-Apr-18
Anybody who can kill big woods birds will have no problems with prairie birds. Things like habitat, hunting pressure and breeding cycle have more to do with how they act than genetics. Someday you’ll have to try the true Merriam’s experience up in the ponderosa pines. That’s where you’ll also find pure Merriams, rather than hybrids. Paul’s bottom pic is perfect. His other birds are likely hybrids.

From: pointingdogs
07-Apr-18
They move " a lot" .... don't be afraid to be aggressive in re-locating.

From: Ziek
07-Apr-18
I agree with writer. First advice - hunt them in their native habitat, not where they've been introduced.

From: HDE
07-Apr-18
If hunting them in the mountains, they like to travel uphill so get ahead and above them when you can. Otherwise, not much different than hunting elk in Sept...

From: Ziek
07-Apr-18
"...they like to travel uphill..."

That's pretty funny. Wouldn't they eventually run out of hill? I think they move up and down hill about equally.

From: Timbrhuntr
07-Apr-18
Be interested to know why the other birds are hybrids but not the bottom one ?

From: AZ~Rich
07-Apr-18
Difference is amount of white (actually a cream color) in tail border and other feathers. Darker means there's likely more Eastern genetics.

From: Timbrhuntr
07-Apr-18
Interesting I hunted Merriam in the high mountains in new mexico and almost all the toms were light buff with a few going towards the lighter morecwhite coloration . I know the guy that helped reintroduce them and they were taken from an isolated strain of pure Merriam. They are also isolate and supposedly pure. However in Montana most of the toms were the more white strain which I believed to be hybrids.

From: Huntcell
07-Apr-18
Yes the walk and run up hill, turn around and set there wings and glide back down the mountain. Land turn around and run or walk back up, gosh darn funniest thing all day long if there in the mood.

Maybe I am spooking them to fly down after calling them up? Hmmm not so funny after all. •,•

From: writer
07-Apr-18
In the caption Paul said the lower bird is in western Colorado. Also not hard to figure hybrids on the prairie when two sub-species are released 100 miles apart. Fan tips isn’t the only determining factor. If it was, you could shoot 3/4 of s Grand Slam out of one flock in parts of KS, NE, SD. A turkey is a turkey. Hunt the habitat.

From: Timbrhuntr
07-Apr-18
Ok I get it your going just by location .

From: HDE
07-Apr-18
"That's pretty funny. Wouldn't they eventually run out of hill? I think they move up and down hill about equally."

LOE indeed. In mountainous terrain, they typically fly down off a roost and work their way back up hill and will normally hang out at and around the level they will eventually roost. It's really not that funny, more realistic actually. A tom will tend to work "uphill" more than "downhill", even if it is a small rise. They do this if they need to bug out quickly, turkeys glide more than fly and flying downhill will get them further away from danger if needed. This is Merriam's 101...

From: Paul@thefort
07-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
The tom on the left came from Eastern Colorado along the So Platte River area. A cross between a Merriams and Rio.

The middle tom came from far west Colorado in the Mts. I would consider this a true Merriams.

The right tom came from NW Nebraska. The seem to be a "pure " strain in this area but I am how really sure but lots of white on the tail and rump.

From: Paul@thefort
07-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
western Nebraska
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
western Nebraska
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Western Nebraska

From: Paul@thefort
07-Apr-18

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
western Neb. As was stated, if you want to kill a pure Merriams, you have to hunt where there is a "pure" strain. Even the NWTF labels the turkeys along the Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska border, as a Cross between the Rio and the Merriam.

From: Ziek
07-Apr-18
I've hunted Merriam's in Colorado and NW new Mexico in the Chuska Mts. While they will fly downhill, especially if spooked, I've typically observed them walking up OR down hill depending on where they want to go. Where I often hunt in Colorado, their main roost is in a valley. After fly-down they walk up hill early, then walk back down to the roost late in the day. I've had about the same luck calling them in in either direction - up or down.

From: Jasper
08-Apr-18
Thanks everyone! Some great stuff here!

From: Timbrhuntr
08-Apr-18
When I was interested in slams and trying for my first I went to the NWTF website and looked at the registered birds and what county they were killed in. I then went to hunt those counties figuring if the bird was accepted by the NWTF they must consider it a representative of that sub-species. As far as tail coloration I have shot rio's in Texas in pure rio territory that looked just like the Merriam's with the whiter colored tail. The main difference I have noticed is the "true" Merriam's have a wider band on the top of the main tail feathers and the breast feathers are more purple/black in color and don't seem to have the copper/black color most other sub-species do. Now that I have a number slams I am like writer states more interested in hunting them in the habitat. Like the swamps of Florida, the high country out west, the hardwoods of the east or the cactus, mesquite, live oak river bottoms in Texas . Good luck in your quest I am sure when you hear that first distinct Merriam's gobble coming off a pine ridge in the morning you'll be hooked I know I was .

From: writer
09-Apr-18
Amen, Timbr. Noticed the same with wider bands that go further down to back. Always called them saddle feathers, for some reason. First bird I killed deep in the Black Hills more than 30 years ago had the coloring of a Kansas Rio, but those wider bands. Love working a gobbler with the smell of pine trees or orange blossoms in the air.

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