Kansas Rio Grande Turkey
Photographed on May 17 during the later part of the Kansas spring turkey season. The Association owner, Jon Nee, was on a land run parked at a potential lease and heard a gobble, gave a call and he tells the rest of the story below.
I was working a list of western Kansas landowners I've made contact with over the last year. I had more land to look at than I had time.
The north part of the county has a very large Rio Grande turkey population so I decided to scout the area while the turkeys were still active during their breeding period. There was one farm that didn't look good from the road, but there were so many timbered drainages feeding the back side I knew I was overlooking a potential secluded honey hole.
The Kansas turkey season still had 3 weeks remaining but I haven't seen a sign of a turkey hunter while I've been driving the roads the last 2 days. At this time, I had my Kansas turkey tags filled, so decided to take my call and camera and see if I could make a bird gobble and at the same time see what type of terrain we were missing from the view of the road.
As soon as I closed the door to my truck I heard a couple of hen yelps, so it appeared my instincts were correct. I snuck to the top of the hill and called a few times. The hen immediately responded and after the second call I heard a couple of gobbles. I didn't have time to wait for the birds to come, so I snuck over the hill and saw these toms working their way across the pasture. I stood in the same spot for over 45 minutes watching the toms.
What impressed me most was I heard 4 to 5 other gobbles behind them, which tells me this farm is loaded with turkeys.
It's in a very remote area where there aren't any houses and the dirt roads will be impassible when it rains.
I called the landowner that afternoon to propose a hunting lease...
Kansas Rio Grande Turkey hunting is largely unknown and overshadowed by the widely hunted and larger Eastern Turkey and that of the better known Missouri turkey hunting.
Kansas turkey hunting continues the variety that Kansas hunting is known for not just with the inclusion of the Rio Grande Turkey but also the Eastern Turkey allowing for both to be hunted on the same trip. The Kansas Rio Grande Turkey allows for many the motivation to explore the more open lands of central and western Kansas in pursuit of spring toms while setting up the next possible deer hunt as well.
Kansas Rio Grande and Kansas Eastern Turkey are considered just turkey and turkey hunting within the Kansas turkey hunting regulations. The up to two over the counter purchase for resident and non-resident hunters spring turkey tags are separated by Kansas turkey management units and do allow for two tags of either both in, out or split between the Kansas Eastern and Rio Grande Turkey regions. This means that any one hunter may harvest two Rio Grande Turkeys, one and an Eastern or two eastern Turkeys over the six week long all day hunting spring turkey season.
Kansas turkey hunting is also unique to our other two Association states of Iowa and Missouri distinctive for Kansas' fall turkey season allowing more over the counter tags and allows dogs to be used. The Kansas fall turkey season includes both the Eastern and Rio Grande Turkeys and overlaps with fall archery deer, early muzzleloader deer and upland bird seasons.
Kansas Rio Grande Turkey hunting is different than that of the Kansas Eastern Turkey hunting only in size of the toms, not tactics, calling, decoying, etc. The difference is the Rio Grande Turkey in general terms is lighter in body weight running 18-22 pounds for a mature tom. Beard lengths start at severn inches with a few extending beyond ten inches and spur length is also generally less than for Easterns.
Kansas Rio Grande Turkey hunting relative to Mid-America Hunting Association is as is eastern Turkey hunting in Kansas, Iowa or Missouri. Pre-hunt scouting is recommended. Set up and call/decoy in more effective at getting on toms than run & gun. land access is by telephone reservation. What some have commented on that they did find different is that the daily movement pattern for a Rio Grande tom may include miles more country than for easterns. This may be true and it may also be driven by the more open lands occupied by Rio Grande Turkey over that of Easterns. These open lands make scouting and eyes-on Rio Grade Turkey at longer distances possible simply due to the lesser trees to be found in Rio Grande Country compare to areas occupied by Easterns.
Kansas Rio Grande Turkey hunting offers the self guided spring turkey hunter that one bit of added adventure of a different turkey to hunt and to hunt on terrain largely different than what many have experienced before. That extra bit of adventure we all need from time to time to re-motivate that youthful attraction of seeing new places with the possibility of new successes and probably new challenges. It is better out there than at home.
Kansas Rio Grande Turkey and Deer
Common for Rio Grande Turkeys to intermix with deer.
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