By Michael Seraphin
Special to The SUN
Between April 13 and May 26, some 12,000 hunters will take to the fields and woods in Colorado as part of one of the fastest growing hunting sports in the United States — turkey hunting. Colorado hunters pursue turkeys on both private and public land during the 44-day spring season.
Last year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued over 15,000 licenses for the spring season and hunters bagged 3,300 gobblers.
Colorado is home to two subspecies of wild turkeys. The Merriam’s wild turkey, a Colorado native, inhabits areas of ponderosa pine, oak-brush and pinon/juniper woodlands of the southeastern plains, Front Range and western Colorado. The Rio Grande wild turkey, native to the central plains states, was introduced into eastern Colorado in 1980. In Colorado, the Rio Grande primarily inhabits cottonwood stands and river bottoms adjacent to agricultural lands.
During the spring season, hunters can take two bearded turkeys of which one must be taken with a limited license, and the other taken with an over-the-counter license.
The challenge of outsmarting a wild turkey is one of the most rewarding experiences a hunter may encounter.
“Success is often a combination of scouting, persistence and patience; but that’s what makes it fun and challenging,” said Mike Brown, a District Wildlife Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.