Gould's Turkey Hunting Mexico's Sierra Madres: Trip Report

"Gould’s turkey hunting is one of those hunting trips of a lifetime you might do twice," explained client Chris Adkins of West Virginia.  Whether you’re a serious turkey hunter or not.

Hosting Gould’s turkey hunt in Durango, Mexico falls under my job description not hobby.  Besides, I'm a duck hunter at heart.  A few days Gould’s turkey hunting in the beautiful Sierra Madres with die-hard turkey hunters is nearly enough to make even an ardent duck hunter. like myself a turkey hunter.

Gould's turkey hunting

Gould’s turkeys are among the 5 sub-species of wild turkey comprising the Royal Slam (Eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam's and Osceola, and Gould’s).   Add the Ocellated wild turkey to those to complete the World Slam.
Gould’s are larger than other turkeys.  They have the largest feet, longest legs and longest tail feathers.  The world-record Gould's turkey weighed 27 pounds.  Spurs ¾-inches are solid.  The tips of Gould’s tails are distinctively stark-white, with a prominent eyelash appearance.  Like the Merriam’s wild turkey they closely resemble, Gould’s are strictly mountain inhabitants.  Gould’s turkey hunting in the US is limited to sheep-like tags that are expensive if available.  Practically, Gould’s turkey hunting implies hunting mountainous Mexico.
gould's turkey hunting lodge

Located at about 9,000 feet elevation, the estancia is a sprawling 5-star experience with over 19 beds, seating for 12 guests at the dinner table, and a billiards room.  Along with original artwork, game heads from around the world tastefully adorn soaring walls.  A flying Gould’s Wild Turkey piece is center-pieced.
The 55,000-acre property is an inspiring, arid mountain landscape of pine and oak forests, deep gorges, rocky creeks, hayed cereal crops and pasture.  Durango and Apache pines tower among the uplands; broad bands of oaks shade creek corridors.  Five decades of excellent land stewardship have rendered numerous reservoirs and stock tanks, an great road system for accessing remote areas, text-book perfect native pine plantations, and one of the greatest densities of trophy Gould’s wild turkeys on earth.  It has produced 15 of the world’s top-20 Gould’s turkeys.  The week before our hunt, a client killed a Gould’s with 5 beards totaling over 42 inches.

“Don’t shoot the first Gould’s you see,” we’d been instructed by our affable host.  “You’ll have many opportunities to shoot the trophy Gould's turkey of your choice,” he’d said.

Those words taunted me while driving towards the second afternoon’s hunt.  Everyone but duck hunter here had already bagged a huge Gould’s turkey.  One had an rope-like 11-inch beard.  Another had 3 beards.  I’d seen lots of Gould’s gobblers – while driving to hunt areas, or at a distance, deaf or indifferent to my slate yelps and purrs.
gould's turkey hunt

I was tempted that afternoon by a subordinate Gould’s sporting a 9-inch beard that seemed scared of his own shadow.  He left abruptly as the sound of thundering horse hooves approached our position from behind – a hungry flock of 18 hen turkeys, 2 were bearded, arrived on over-sized feet in a cloud of dust. 

About a hundred-fifty yards away, at the base a mountain to our left, a Gould’s gobbled.  He strutted in a slow figure-eight pattern, collected the hens and walked them up the ridge and out of site.

We soon positioned ourselves in a fallen tree-top at the base of the mountain.  The flock was apparently further upslope on a small, flat opening.  Hens would walk from that direction down a spur to our left and be summoned back with a gobble.  The subordinate gobbler paced nervously nearby.  Then I saw it about 100 yards away and looking like it’d been faintly drawn by a single pencil stroke – the perfect outline of a strutting gobbler’s fan.  I readied.

Scared I’d impatiently decided to shoot the subordinate, Omar whispered, “No, Señor.”  I motioned uphill. Raising his glasses, a soon grin creased his face.
gould's turkey hunting

The Gould’s gobbler strutted into view, sweeping up his harem with a tilted fan.  At an estimated 45 yards, he abruptly turned and strutted profile to us.  Looking over the barrel, I saw an opportunity in a small gap he’d soon walk past.  With the 3-inch lead number 2-shot chambered, I was confident.  Later stepping it off came realization that I’d under-estimated the distance. It was a full 56 yards.  And there he lay.

The beard is a 12-inch rope that'll tie for 13th in the world if registered, not that I'd looked before shooting.  The ¾-inch spurs are shaped like blunt, heavy Indian war clubs, worn by the Sierra Madres dry, rocky environment.
Celebratory cocktails were at the estancia and Mrs. Emma’s special dinner of bacon-wrapped Gould’s wild turkey and, y favorite, turkey mole would soon be served for dinner. 

During the ride back, a huge Gould’s walked in front of the truck, gobbling every step.  It was the bird Chris was hunting - each of the 2 beards swinging beneath him was 13-14 inches long.  Neither it nor the “hockey stick” Gould's that Anthony hunted, with an estimated 16-inch beard folding under and dragging the ground as he walked, were taken during the trip.  That’s why there’s always next year; why some turkey hunters return for another Gould’s turkey hunt.

I’m still not a serious turkey hunter, but I’ll definitely be hosting another Gould’s turkey hunt in 2014.  New and returning hunters will spend a few more days Gould’s turkey hunting for world-records.  If you'd like more information, or to join next year's hosted hunt where I'll be coordinating travel and trophy importation at no extra cost, contact me at 601-214-9737.

Hunt details: Mexico Gould's Turkey Hunting

View more photos: Gould's Turkey Hunt in Mexico

Ramsey Russell ‘s GetDucks.com is a full-time, full-service agency specializing in wing shooting with major emphasis on trophy duck species and trophy duck hunting experiences. It's duck season somewhere. Your trip of a lifetime deserves – and receives – our full attention.  Ready to pull the trigger?  Call Ramsey toll free at 1-866-438-3897 to discuss.

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