After the Osceola Turkey, the Merriam Turkey is the least numerous turkey species in the country. The National Wild Turkey Federation estimates their numbers at around 300,000 with the majority of the population residing in the Rocky Mountains.
And these birds don’t hangout in convenient places. They live in the canyons in mountains of the western United States and have been known to follow feeding opportunities up receding snowlines to altitudes of 10,000 feet.
But what they lack in numbers and ease of opportunity, they make up for with excitement and easier hunting compared to other species (at least, after you get to them).
If you’re trying to complete your Grand Slam, or if you’re just not a turkey hunting expert, harvesting a Merriam Turkey is going to be a serious challenge. Public land hunting is overcrowded, and the weak gobble of the Merriam’s make them hard to find. So, to give you an edge, here’s a list of our Top 5 Merriam Turkey Hunting Guides who will help you harvest your mountain bird.
Trophy Ridge is aptly named. Every fall, visitors come to Trophy Ridge and harvest world-class whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope, and elk. In the winter, those who brave the cold are rewarded with bison hunts that feed families for years.
But in the springtime, Trophy Ridge also has world class Merriam Turkey hunting.
Over the years Merriam Turkey hunters at Trophy Ridge average a 100% opportunity rate. (Not too bad if you ask me.) That’s no surprise though as the family owned private ranch is managed for optimal game habitat and the turkey hunting guides at Trophy Ridge are world class.
Trophy Ridge is located in the northeast corner of Wyoming near the town of Carlile. During your Merriam Turkey Hunting trip at Trophy Ridge, you’ll spend your down time staying in their beautiful lodge, or visiting nearby attractions such as Devil’s Tower and Mount Rushmore.
Photo Credit: Trophy Ridge
California isn’t usually on hunters’ minds. The state has a reputation for strict gun laws, aggressive animal activists, and a lack of wildlife.
Bitterwater Outfitters proves those rumors to be false.
Located just east of the wine country in Paso Robles, Bitterwater Outfitters hunts an astonishing 300,000 acres of private land. This beautiful land is filled with native California deer and elk, as well as large exotic animals and wild hogs.
And on several thousand of those acres, in San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Fresno counties, are some of the best Merriam’s Turkey Hunting in the world. This land features oak trees, creek bottoms, and gently rolling hills- the perfect turkey habitat- and its brought in a large population of birds.
Merriam’s Turkey Hunting trips at Bitterwater Outfitters have a 100% success rate for high quality, trophy class Merriam’s Turkeys.
Photo Credit: Bitterwater Outfitters
Washington may not have the reputation as a top turkey hunting destination, but Bear Paw Outfitters seems to be on a quest to change that. They have Merriam Turkey Hunting trips in Stevens County, which has the highest population density of turkeys in the state.
Amazingly, 74% of turkeys harvested in the state are taken in and around Stevens. And in this prime turkey hunting area, Bear Paw Outfitters hunts private land that they scout and manage to ensure the best possible hunt. In one season, guests with Bear Paw Outfitters were able to harvest an incredible 101 Merriam Turkeys.
Bear Paw Outfitters guided hunts have a 300% opportunity rate- you read that right. So not only will you get a chance to bag a Merriam Turkey, but you’ll probably get a good chance to limit out. Even the unguided trips still have a nearly 150% opportunity rate.
I don’t have to keep explaining it, just look at this picture taken at noon on opening day.
These hunts take place in the fall and spring, and can be either guided or non-guided trips. Fall Merriam Turkey hunting trips can be combined with bear hunts as well.
I lived in Utah last year, but before moving there I imagined it to be a barren wasteland full of tourists and tumbleweeds. That couldn’t have been further from the truth.
The state is full of rich, diverse wildlife habitat that supports populations of animals ranging from moose to grouse, elk to pheasant, bighorn sheep to Merriam Turkey.
When I was on the way to visit one of the beautiful national parks of Southern Utah, I was shocked to round a turn and see field filled with gobblers. I asked around, and found out that the areas around Bryce, Zion, and Canyonlands support thriving populations of Merriam Turkey.
Freemont River Guides offer guided Merriam Turkey hunts in these areas, and will provide you with the trip of a lifetime. Hunting near such alien places would be incomparable, and the pursuit would be worth the experience by itself. But they’re also very productive hunts, so your efforts will not be made in vain.
And while you’re down there, I recommend spending a day out on the river with these guides. Southern Utah is a hidden gem in the fly fishing world, and you can catch some serious monsters.
Boulder Creek Outfitters has Merriam Turkey guided hunting trips on private ranches in Idaho. These lands hold the densest turkey populations in the state.
Boulder Creek’s hunting practices, combined with pristine habitat, experienced guides, and more turkeys than they know what to do with, has lead their clients to have a 100% success rate in harvesting a Merriam Turkey, and most clients even fill another tag.
They offer fully guided as well as unguided hunts, and provide lodging, meals, and accommodations.
When I lived out west last year I spent some time in Idaho, but it wasn’t nearly enough. This state is truly to most underrated outdoor destination in the country.
Top 5 Merriam Turkey Hunting Guides
Merriam Turkey may have a reputation for being easy to kill, but many turkey hunters have relied on that rumor to be true and gone on to learn the truth the hard way. Book a trip with one of these guides, though, and you’ll be thinking they’re easy too. Ignorance is bliss.
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