There are 4 species of wild turkeys in The United States.
In the furthest west range of the bird, from Oregon to Oklahoma, is the Rio Grande Turkey. Nearby, and just to the East, is the Merriam’s Wild Turkey, living around the Rocky Mountains. Continuing in the same direction is the Eastern Wild turkey, so named for its range of Michigan to Maine, and down South as far as northern Florida.
But Florida is known for its other species of turkey, which is found only in the sunshine state: The Osceola Turkey.
Osceola Turkeys are found exclusively in the Florida peninsula. With such a small range, it makes it the most rare of all American turkey species. And that rarity makes it a prized bird.
It’s simple supply and demand. There are hundreds of thousands of North American turkey hunters, but only 80,000 Osceola Turkeys. You can do the math, or you can trust me when I say that killing an Osceola Turkey is an achievement.
Osceola Turkeys look quite similar to their relatives. In fact, if you’re not a turkey hunter or a biologist, you probably won’t be able to tell them apart.
The biggest difference in appearance is their size. Whereas Eastern, Merriam’s, and Rio Grande turkeys can weigh over 20 pounds, Osceola toms are usually around 15 pounds. An 18 pound Osceola turkey is a monster bird.
Around those smaller bodies of Osceola are feathers that are darker than its relatives. The Osceola has a deep, iridescent greenish purple color that is impossible to describe. Also, the tail feathers lack the white bars prominent on Merriam’s turkeys.
Osceola Turkeys also have notably long legs. Some people claim that these help the bird forage through swamps for amphibian prey. Whether that is true or not is up for debate, but you will find these birds in some wet and nasty places.
How To Hunt Osceola Turkeys
Hunting Osceola Turkeys is similar to hunting other American Turkey species, and many of the same tactics may be successfully used.
Osceola Turkeys will respond to the same calls that work for Eastern Turkeys, Merriam’s Turkeys, and Rio Grandes. They will also come into the same decoys that you use in other states.
But there are notable exceptions. Since the Osceola Turkey population is relatively small, and there are plenty of hunters chasing after them, this species is widely known as the most difficult to kill. And this is especially true on public land.
Osceola Turkeys on public land will be difficult to call in, and may be easily spooked by decoys. Killing one of these birds is truly a challenge.
If you’re unable to invest the time into hunting Osceola Turkeys on public land, but if you want to experience hunting for them in another way, you came to the right place. We have a collection of the top Osceola turkey hunting guides in the world, and they will gladly take you on your Osceola turkey-hunting trip.
Here’s our top 3 Osceola Turkey hunting guides in Florida.
West Shore Outfitters is one of the top hunting guide services in Florida for hogs, whitetail deer, alligators, and Osceola Turkeys.
They hunt Osecolas on 5,000 acres of private Central Florida turkey hunting woods. The land is managed for prime habitat, and the turkey hunting is controlled and limited to produce excellent hunts for all clients.
Over the past 7 years, hunters with West Shore outfitters have a 100% opportunity rate, and a 98% success rate.
If you do get to plan an Osecola Turkey Hunting Trip with West Shore outfitters, you have the option of staying in their lodge accommodations, or staying at a nearby hotel. Either way, the guides will make sure you’re in the woods at the right time in the morning.
Also, you can choose to hunt for 1, 2, or 3 days, with prices starting at $750 per day.
We caught up with one of West Shore outfitter’s Osecola Turkey Hunting guides, and he had this to say about the experience:
Our next top Osceola Turkey Hunting Guide is located near Inglis, Florida only miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
This unique hunting property is over 6,500 acres of hardwoods, upland pines, and food plots. Not only is the property itself managed for optimal turkey habitat and hunting, but it also shares 5 miles of border with a utility company that doesn’t allow hunting.
And if the Osecolas on the ranch itself aren’t hot, Ross Hammock Ranch will arrange for you to hunt on a nearby peanut, sod, or watermelon farm. These lands see little to no hunting pressure, and are therefore some of the best Osceola Turkey Hunting trips in the state of Florida.
Ross Hammock Ranch offers a number of packages for its client’s Osceola Turkey hunting trips, and will even package your trip with other activities. Who wouldn’t love to kill a turkey in the morning, a hog in the afternoon, and spend the evening fishing in the Gulf?
Give Ross Hammock Ranch a call today and set up your Osceola Turkey Hunting trip of a lifetime.
Black Tine outfitters is located 25 minutes south of Gainesville. They offer hunts for whitetail deer, hog, alligator, and, of course Osceola Turkeys.
Their turkey hunts are on a 7,000 piece of private land that has been managed for optimal turkey habitat since the 1930s. The quality of land combined with their ethical hunting habits and wildlife management tactics makes this one of the best places in the world to hunt Osceola Turkeys.
They usually offer 3-day hunting packages, but their clients tag-out before the third day 80% of the time.
Black Tine is also notable for their focus on putting youth hunters on their first birds. So, if you’re looking for a father/son turkey-hunting trip of your lifetime, look no further.
Top Osceola Turkey Hunting Guides
Hunting Osceola Turkeys is one of the most challenging things a sportsman can attempt to do. They are smart birds that receive massive amount of pressure in most places.
But if you use one of our turkey hunting guides, your Osceola Turkey Hunting trip will sure to be a success.
If you get the chance to go on an Osceola Turkey hunting trip with one of our guides, be sure to take some pictures and share them with us! And if you found this article helpful, let us know in the comments below, and share it with your hunting buddies!