Hunting the Gould’s Wild Turkey

The Gould’s wild turkey is a big bird, having the largest frame of any of the subspecies. However, there are not many of them (some estimate under 2,000 birds total in the U.S.), and they are not part of the traditional Turkey Grand Slam. They appear in parts of Arizona and New Mexico, but most of their home range is in Mexico. They have very long legs and wide tail feathers with white tips. Since they are not hunted often they are not studied often. In fact, we’ve yet to talk to an Ambassador who has successfully hunted them.


Limited Licenses but Ample Opportunities

The Gould’s turkey population in Arizona is a true hallmark of reintroduction success. Through good management, the population of this subspecies now number 1,500, which is a 50% increase from just a few years ago. Moreover, the reintroduction of Rio Grande turkeys in southern Arizona is another triumph. This turkey subspecies now numbers around 500 birds, up from only 200 birds a few years back. 

Arizona is a limited-license state, however, so getting in the drawing for one is a must. On average, over 13,000 hunters apply for turkey tags each year and only half are successful in getting one. After that fact, the actual hunter success rate can be between 18-30%. So apply often and hunt hard when you head to Arizona.

Local Intel:

To put it lightly, information on Gould’s in Arizona is slim! We canvassed many well-connected folks in the turkey world and largely came up short. If you end up on this page and have in fact hunted Gould’s in Arizona please reach out to Ryan Newhouse, the author, and we’d love to hear about your experience. 

Gould’s also exist in New Mexico, and we will look to cover that opportunity next year. 

Take a closer look at Arizona:
AZ Regs

Ryan Newhouse

Though raised hunting squirrels and whitetails in the South, Ryan Newhouse has spent nearly the last two decades chasing Western big game in Montana and writing professionally about his travels and the craft beers he’s consumed along the way. He loves camping, fishing, boating, and teaching his two kids the art of building campfires and playing the ukulele. And yes, he’s related to Sewell Newhouse, inventor of the steel animal traps.