Those New Mexico turkey hunting in spring should know there are three subspecies: Rio Grandes, Merriam’s and Gould’s.
“We have them in the Bosque, in the mountains, out on the plains. Many of our public lands have really good populations.” Lance Cherry is the assistant chief of information for the office of New Mexico Wildlife. Overall, the state is home to about 35,000 turkeys.
Rio Grandes and Merriam’s are the primary species. Hunts for Gould’s are controlled and currently, only two tags are available, one through the lottery and one through a raffle.
“We are in the midst of a major drought,” Cherry said. That, of course, is a limiting factor for nesting success, but is not as bad for turkeys as it is for chukar and quail species. Cherry said the greater challenge last year was picking places to hunt that weren’t closed because of fire danger and fires in process. The winter of 2013-14 was drier than normal as well, so conditions are not likely to be any different for this season.
The season runs April 15 through May 10. The bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunter education is required for hunters aged 18 or younger. A special youth season allows young hunters a chance to go afield the weekend prior to the opener. Youth hunts are also held on select state properties in cooperation with New Mexico Wildlife. For more information, visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us.
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