Hunting Rio Grande Turkeys in Texas
Texas has plenty of game birds to offer hunters, and one of the most sought-after is the phenomenal Rio Grande turkey. With its beautiful plumage, notable size, and wide range of habitats, this striking bird is a great start for any Grand Slam hunter. And there’s no better place to bag yours than at Stone Creek Ranch. Join us as we dive deeper into the characteristics of Rio Grande turkeys and some of the best tactics you can employ when hunting them.
The Habitat of Rio Grande Turkeys
Making up the largest population of wild turkeys in the Lone Star State, the Rio Grande turkey can be found in an expansive habitat throughout west and central Texas. They are abundant throughout other south-central states, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico.
Given their wide range, Rio Grande turkeys can tolerate a variety of climates, from desert to mountain forest, which is why you can find them in the semi-desert areas of far west Texas, in the lush Hill Country and beyond. Generally, they prefer to inhabit semi-open and open scrub and grassland areas, including thorn and mesquite grassland, agricultural and riparian woodland areas, at altitudes up to 10,000 feet. They tend to gravitate towards sites with abundant water sources, such as springs, marshes, ponds and streams, and areas with heavy vegetation, which offer forage shelter opportunities.
Characteristics of Rio Grande Turkeys
Like other species of wild turkey, the Rio Grande boasts a magnificent, noteworthy plumage, with both males and females having an array of iridescent feathers. Their tail feathers tend to have tan-colored tips, and the feathers become darker descending from the tip. Their wing feathers tend to sport equal black and white barring. Male Rio Grandes will also have a “beard” or clump of feathers extending from the center of their chest. This trait is unique to male turkeys and is used to attract females during mating season.
In terms of size, of the five species of wild turkeys present in North America, the Rio Grande tends to be among the smaller group. Hens typically weigh between 8 and 13 pounds, and tom males weigh between 12 and 19 pounds.
Habits of Rio Grande Turkeys
Often, the most successful hunters are those who have a good understanding of their targets. Knowing the habits of the Rio Grande turkey is therefore essential to finding success in the field.
Rio Grande turkeys are most active in the early morning and late evening, when they are foraging for food. In the fall, they can also be seen traveling in flocks as they prepare for winter nesting. Remember, of course, hunting turkeys requires keeping your eyes on the trees (and what’s going on above your head). During the warmer months, turkeys prefer to roost in the branches of various trees, so it’s essential to be mindful of the presence of trees when scouting for an ideal hunting spot.
Using Hunting Calls When Hunting Rio Grande Turkeys
When bird hunting, you must successfully attract these naturally skittish animals because they will scatter quickly at the sign of an intruder. This rule, of course, holds when attracting turkeys. For this reason, you should add turkey calls to your packing list when planning your Rio Grande turkey hunt.
You can employ several different calls to lure a Rio Grande turkey. The most popular among hunters is the yelp and the cluck. The yelp is a series of short, loud notes, while the cluck is a short, soft call. Both calls attract birds and alter their perception of what is nearby, enabling you to take a better shot. Experienced hunters may also use a combination of both calls to lure in a turkey.
Plus, when you come to Stone Creek Ranch, you don’t have to rely solely on your turkey calls to find the perfect spot to draw down on a Rio Grande Turkey. Our experienced guides scout the property daily, and we can ensure we lead you to the right place at the right time to harvest one of these unique birds.
Best Weapons for Hunting Rio Grande Turkeys
When hunting Rio Grande Turkeys in Texas, the best choice of weapon largely depends on the hunter’s preference.
Generally, most hunters use shotguns, rifles or archery in turkey hunting. While most turkey hunters prefer a shotgun, some may choose the accuracy and precision of a rifle. Please note, however, that rifles are not allowed during the spring turkey hunting season in certain East Texas Counties. Be sure to check the local laws in your area before your hunt. If you’re curious about how local hunting regulations apply to Stone Creek Ranch, call us before you come, and we can ensure you have everything you need.
Come Hunt Rio Grande Turkeys at Stone Creek Ranch
With its iconic colors and wide range, the Rio Grande turkey is an exquisite bird that can be a rewarding goal for the avid hunter. Any hunter can increase their chances of success in the field by learning the bird’s habits, utilizing hunting calls, and selecting the right weapon.
If you want to have a one-of-a-kind hunting experience when harvesting a Rio Grande Turkey, Stone Creek Ranch is the place to come. We offer an exclusive private hunting experience deep in the heart of the pristine Texas Hill Country. Hunters who come for our turkeys can take advantage of five-star accommodations, chef-prepared meals and world-class scenery, and we’re the perfect place to come if you’re working towards achieving your NWTF Grand Slam title. Plus, remember to ask about our exotic hunts while you’re here. We truly have something for every outdoor enthusiast, all just two hours south of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.