I am suprised someone from Minnesota knows so much about our birds, nmblackgold[/quote]
i also wish i would of seen nmblackgolds comment directed to me the MN boy... im sure you were/are surprised that a MN turkey hunter would know anything about the merriams sub species? why i dont understand??? i can read books & do research on wild turkeys & all the SUB SPECIES merriams included...???
also something you probably didnt know nmblackgold is that SE MN once held ONLY MERRIAMS sub species & my father who was part of the 2nd MN season ever in 79 shot a MN merriams longbeard that was TYPICAL merriams looking SNOW WHITE dark purple red green feather iridescence witch is "red orange gold green in rios" & a thin beard with 3/4 spurs his 1st merriams also also had a very noticeable higher pitched gobble then all other sub species a true merriams trait...
merriams are my favorite sub species to hunt & i have hunted them all except goulds & osolated sub species so i do know a little about the merriams sub species guys... i mean look at the birds in my avatar pic... merriams? rio grande? easterns? osceolas? i guess i could call them a version of a eastern sub species then a if the color of the rump feathers are not a good indicator of the birds sub species???
i hunt in NEBRASKA & the area i hunt on all wild turkey sub species distribution maps the NWTF & state agencys put out each season it shows the region as being 100% merriams sub species well in reality if you ask the wildlife biologist in that region they will tell you there is some rio grande blood mixed in with these birds so you will harvest a birds that looks more rio & a bird that looks more merriams in the same areas & same altitudes as the hybrid mix of the merriams/rios they hybrids dont just hang in the low low river riparian type corridors like a rio grande would... these birds that all winter up in the same places be it rio looking or merriams looking all winter together & then spread out come spring thats how the rio grande blood was mixed up so thorough in these birds... same thing has happened in WY/MT/CO/UT/OR/ID/WA/CA/KS/SD maybe NM is the only state out west wear there are no hybrid wild turkeys??? but just look at the sub species distribution maps some states admit they have hybrid wild turkey populations wear 2 sub species home ranges overlap some states like SD dont admit that they show there SD sub species distribution as stopping once it reaches another sub species like they dont mix once they come in contact??? it show a rio grande sub species butting up to a merriams sub species range? they dont make hybrids there??? other states show a hybrid mix line when 2 sub species overlap thats being truthful not wishful thinking... many guys hunt them hybrid areas wear 2 sub species overlap so they are able to shoot a turkey & call it what they want to merriams rio ETC. thats kinda lame if u ask me...???
looking at a NM wild turkey distribution map & sub species distribution map 4 NW i see there are no hybrid ranges wear 2 sub species overlap at least it does not show the 2 sub species overlaping but i see rio grande sub species in close proximity to merriams sub species SW of carlsbad NM near the national park also around hondo NM i see there is some rio grandes along the rio hondo river & that river leads write into some merriams turkey country turkeys use river like HWYs they use them to spread out & expand there ranges... also west of socorro NM along the rio grande river i see rios in close proximity to merriams sub species i mean a hop skip & a jump away them birds can hybridize especially when/if them birds all winter up in a general location each winter???
its hard to tell from the pic above the body iridescence of the bird or the beard but i can see the color of the fan clear as day & i have to stand by my 1st comment that in no way shape or form looks like a merriams sub species or not any merriams i have ever seen or harvested...??? i have seen RON SCHARA the outdoor writer shoot a bunch of birds that look like that in the SD black hills with the TURKEY TRACK HUNT CLUB but in talking to a SD WILD TURKEY BIOLOGIST he says them guys are hunting in low laying private ranch land riparian type habitat & that there is a problem with people releasing farm raised turkeys into them areas well they let the birds mix wild & barn yard in some places he said they have no laws stopping that from happening so in certin areas of the hills there are rio looking merriams he said call them what you want to??? i have shot tru rio grandes with whiter color on there fans then that bird...???
maybe way back in the day or not to long ago in some not so rugged or high elevation riparian type habitats in NM the rios & merriams mixed up after the winter break up & thus added that BROWN color to the fans of the merriams in the area??? ive seen guys on youtube shoot birds like this bird & call them merriams i asked the guy what was up with the color of the fan & he said a SD BIOLOGIST told him his bird was not a eastern or rio it was a RED PHASE wild turkey i just had to laugh it was not a red phase it had red/brown on the wings but that biologist was just trying to make the guy feel good & special for shooting that bird he said its rare u have a true trophy its all in the eye of the beholder i guess???