Arizona Merriam's

WalkingBird

Active member
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
235
Location
Tempe, Arizona
Well, I finally got one on Day 2 of my hunt. W went in blind and couldn't find any turkeys to put to bed, they weren't making a peep that night, but we had 2 gobbling their heads off uphill from us at daybreak. We hauled but up the mountain and caught up with them about a mile up the canyon. We were on an old logging road and the pair sounded off in the gully below a huge burn. We made haste and set up on the hillside about 40 yards from each other. My buddy made a couple yelps and they gobbled again, one cutting off the other mid gobble. They were a lot closer now. After about a minute I could see them moving through the timber below as they reached the base of the hill. Slowly they made their way up the hill, fanning and gobbling all the while. It was enough to make the adrenaline flow!! They were heading straight for my buddy and then turned hard to our right about 60 yards below us, making their new course start quartering toward me so they'd off a clear shot between a couple of burnt ponderosas below me, but I was going to have to turn slightly as I was still in position to shoot on their original path. I saw the lead bird clear my new shooting lane, and then when he went behind a big pine I was able to shift my stance and get in line about 2 seconds before the following tom made it to the opening. It was about a 40 yard poke for my 12ga, but when i let the ol girl spit fire, there was a dead tom on the mountain side. My 1st Merriams, and I couldn't be happier to have dogged it up the mountain. When we got back to camp, we gutted him out and fried up the heart and gizzard. Never has a gizzard tasted so good.

We spent the next 2 days trying to get my buddy a bird. We worked another nice tom into 20 yards, but he swung down below us into a gully and popped up behind us where he couldn't get a clear shot. We let him go, while planning on catching up with him again later on with a better setup, but we never did lay eyes on that bird again.

All in all it was an awesome hunt! Saw tons of elk and muleys, found some lion sign and the graves of what I'm assuming are a pair of Lion hounds overlooking the valley below. Even added some new birds to my yearly list and a couple to my buddies life list. Now it's time to start researching for deer season!

1st Merriams.jpgMerriams Packing.jpg
 

teej89

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 7, 2015
Messages
1,142
Location
West of the Rockies
Awesome! Congrats!

I’d love to hunt turkeys out there sometime!

I know nothing about the AZ turkey population but it’s draw for NR correct? If so, how difficult is that?
 

WalkingBird

Active member
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
235
Location
Tempe, Arizona
Yea it's a draw, but it's not too too bad, my buddy is from NY and drew his tag with 0 points. We only saw/heard 5 turkeys in 4 days and none of which were hens, idk what was up with that but other units I've been in held a bunch of birds
 

junior88

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2010
Messages
497
Location
Surprise, AZ
Congratulations!! I had turkeys gobbling 4 mornings in a row. I just could never call them all the way in. It was a blast. Saw plenty of elk and deer too. I'm gonna keep working on my calling though. I look forward to doing this again next spring.
 

Old man bob

Active member
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
120
Location
Arizona
Nice bird. Persistance Guys. Stick with it ,Go around and head em off if you can't callem in. Hang out in an area thats got birds all day.Nap against a tree and call every 25 minutes or so . I stay out all day and have killed birds allmost every hour of the day. Good luck. Don't over call. They come in silent too.............BOB!
 

WalkingBird

Active member
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
235
Location
Tempe, Arizona
Thanks guys!

Bob, I hear ya about persistence, I grew up huntin these things in NY and they can be the most fun form of frustration imaginable. Back east there's these "rules" you try to follow about not trying to call a bird uphill, don't call from across a creek/fence etc...but with these mountain birds, the only way to call them is to bring them uphill!
 

Old man bob

Active member
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
120
Location
Arizona
I used to hear the same thing on all the tapes in the old days. Don't make em cross a creek or a fence or uphill or try to pullem away from hens Its all Bull crap. Every situation is different. I was on the New mexico side by the AZ. border. Had New Mexico tag, and saw flock in AZ. 3 Toms and 7-8 hens. We called em over a State line ,over a creek ,over a fence and 2 Toms came running in to 10 yards. Dead bird. Mature birds to. Not braggin but that story bats em all from the so called professional Turkey hunters. And it was damm Fun..I have had em come up steep hills. You never know ,at least try and don't over call............BOB!
 

Old man bob

Active member
Joined
May 13, 2019
Messages
120
Location
Arizona
One more thing, I rareley use decoys. Think they are a waste.Some of the real looking ones are not bad but 100+ dollars an I am not carrying them. They hear You they know you are there..........BOB!
 
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