New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

airforcehunter
 
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New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby airforcehunter » April 15th, 2012, 11:57 pm

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jlhernandez was gracious enough to invite me along on a Turkey Hunt this weekend, and we had an absolute blast

As the Gobbler strutted out, I saw he was goo sized and shot. Upon getting to him, I thought his fan feathers looked much less white than the Merriam's I'd seen in magazines

What do you guys think? Merriam's Hybrid or straight up New Mexican Rio???

As luck would have it, Jlhernandez found this Monster Elk Shed which made for an awesome picture

kokopelli
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby kokopelli » April 17th, 2012, 8:06 am

Very nice. We have both Rios and Merriam's here and some of our Merriam's aren't as white as the classic Merriam's you see in the photos. There have been Rio releases in some areas along the Rio Grande, and also in the Guadalupe mountains. Where abouts in the state were you? That would narrow down the possibilities.

I read your earlier post. I drive through the Kirtland gates every morning.

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turkey junky
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby turkey junky » August 13th, 2012, 1:02 pm

sorry my friend that in no way shape or form is a merriams sub species maybe a hybrid RIO at best but a not so lite or white color merriams would of at least been creamy to tan in color that was damn near a eastern color many many rio grandes out west in OK NE TX CO will have a white color to them & much much whiter then that bird you harvested... yes please tells us wear you were hunting id like to try & avoid any birds that color while out in NM merriams county... lol great bird but deff not a PURE MERRIAMS rio at best or hybrid if you want to call it that

NMblackgold
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby NMblackgold » March 20th, 2013, 8:46 pm

turkey junky wrote:sorry my friend that in no way shape or form is a merriams sub species



Sorry to be so late on this, I wish I would have seen this sooner.

Airforcehunter, what a great bird! I am suprised someone from Minnesota knows so much about our birds, especially looking at a photo. Our high country Merriams vary in color all across the state, even far from any Rio populations. Enjoy your bird and call it what you want.


nmblackgold

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Gobblerman
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby Gobblerman » March 27th, 2013, 8:27 am

I, too, am surprised I somehow missed this thread under the NM section. I think it was in another thread somewhere else a while back,...but perhaps it is just my aging memory confusing me again. I could have sworn I had commented on this somewhere.

Anyway, the picture does not give us enough information to make a valid judgement about this gobbler. True, the fan and rump feathers are a bit more buff than our normal Merriams gobblers, but as NMblackgold points out, that coloration is not at all unusual for NM Merriams turkeys. We have killed many in the heart of what is considered to be pure Merriams habitat that looked similar.

Could it be a hybrid? Sure, anything is possible, especially if it was taken in one of the "fringe" areas where Rios have either been introduced or have otherwise infiltrated the Merriams genetics. This bird could very well be a full-blooded Merriams, however, and if I was to guess from the picture, I would say that it is likely that it is. I see no hint of the goldish body sheen that is found in the Rio Grande subspecies, and which make Rio gobblers appear slightly less black in body coloration in most pictures.

The bottom line is that here in NM, we have Merriams that have that coloration, as well as those that have the more stereotypical pale-buff coloration generally associated with the Merriams subspecies by those that are from other parts of the country. I do find it curious that the Merriams with the white fans/rumps found further north were from stock that originally came from down here in NM, and that the very-white coloration is rather unusual in these parts.

Therefore, if I was to speculate on the subspecies identification for this bird, base on about 50 years of experience hunting them here and examining many hundreds of them, I would say, in order of likelyhood, that this gobbler is 1) a Merriams, or 2) a hybrid with predominately Merriams genetics. It is highly unlikely that it is a Rio,...but not impossible.

Good topic for discussion, though.
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turkey junky
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby turkey junky » April 29th, 2013, 10:04 am

NMblackgold wrote:[quote=
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???

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Gobblerman
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby Gobblerman » April 29th, 2013, 9:17 pm

I think the point to be made about this discussion is that subspecies identification, especially when talking about Merriams and Rios, is often more complex than just looking at a picture and summarily concluding by the tail fan and rump feather coloration that a turkey is one or the other subspecies.

I will reiterate my stance on this matter by stating, factually, that there are Merriams turkeys in New Mexico that have this dark buff color in their tail and rump feathers. These birds exist in areas where there is little possibility that they are hybrids. I will not state conclusively that this particular gobbler does not have Rio Grande subspecies genetics in its lineage somewhere along the line, especially without knowing exactly where he was taken in the state. The fact is that he might.

But to state with such conviction that this bird is "in no way shape or form is a merriams sub species" (quote), is an erroneous declaration. Based on the picture, and my experience hunting here, if I had to bet,...I would put my money on this bird being a full-blooded Merriams gobbler. I have seen many others that look just like him.

Having said that, I can easily see how any individual could look at this bird and speculate that it might be a Rio, especially those that have done most or all of their Merriams hunting in the northern states where the whitish or pale buff coloration is more the norm. Henceforth, let it be known to all that Merriams turkeys with this coloration do, in fact, exist.
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NMblackgold
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby NMblackgold » April 30th, 2013, 7:40 pm

Gobblerman wrote:I think the point to be made about this discussion is that subspecies identification, especially when talking about Merriams and Rios, is often more complex than just looking at a picture and summarily concluding by the tail fan and rump feather coloration that a turkey is one or the other subspecies.

I will reiterate my stance on this matter by stating, factually, that there are Merriams turkeys in New Mexico that have this dark buff color in their tail and rump feathers. These birds exist in areas where there is little possibility that they are hybrids. I will not state conclusively that this particular gobbler does not have Rio Grande subspecies genetics in its lineage somewhere along the line, especially without knowing exactly where he was taken in the state. The fact is that he might.

But to state with such conviction that this bird is "in no way shape or form is a merriams sub species" (quote), is an erroneous declaration. Based on the picture, and my experience hunting here, if I had to bet,...I would put my money on this bird being a full-blooded Merriams gobbler. I have seen many others that look just like him.

Having said that, I can easily see how any individual could look at this bird and speculate that it might be a Rio, especially those that have done most or all of their Merriams hunting in the northern states where the whitish or pale buff coloration is more the norm. Henceforth, let it be known to all that Merriams turkeys with this coloration do, in fact, exist.




Ahhem...............now thats from someone who really knows these birds...................my measly 22 years of banging around in the NM mountains ain't nothing......

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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby airforcehunter » February 10th, 2014, 2:23 am

Guys,

Been off the board for awhile, but here's some extra info...

Bird was killed in the Sacramentos in the Lincoln national forest. Damn proud of the bird regardless of the species (especially being a public land bird, and having only hunted easterns before) mainly want to know for Grand Slam purposes.

On a side note, just got another set of training orders, and will be in ABQ in late April...anybody wanna get together and chase some birds? Would like to kill a Merriams w some white tips...haha

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dewey
 
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Re: New Mexico Gobbler Down...Rio or Hybrid???

Postby dewey » February 10th, 2014, 11:27 am

airforcehunter wrote:Guys,

Been off the board for awhile, but here's some extra info...

Bird was killed in the Sacramentos in the Lincoln national forest. Damn proud of the bird regardless of the species (especially being a public land bird, and having only hunted easterns before) mainly want to know for Grand Slam purposes.

On a side note, just got another set of training orders, and will be in ABQ in late April...anybody wanna get together and chase some birds? Would like to kill a Merriams w some white tips...haha


Congratulations on the bird and the picture with the elk sheds and the fine gobbler is something to be very proud of.

Good luck on the spring hunt! Just make sure to paint the tips white or else :lol: :lol:

Dewey
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