Hunting Merriam's Wild Turkeys
Patience, persistence and confidence in your calling are what it takes to harvest a Merriam's gobbler.
Hunter's Specialties Pro Staffer Matt Morrett said, like with any turkey, getting a Merriam's in close is the first challenge. Merriam's will travel a longer distance than an Eastern to a call or decoy setup. Be confident in your calling, and pay attention to what the hens might be doing.
"I personally wouldn't call a Merriam's any different than I would any other turkey," Morrett said. "I use a friction call, because it is louder and the sound will carry further in the Western mountains and prairies. You will want the sound to carry.
"If I have turkeys in fairly close, I pay attention to what the hens are doing and try to mimic the hens," he said. "It's important to utilize your calls and lead him to you."
Morrett said patience also plays a big part in hunting Merriam's.
"If you can get one to answer your call, stay where you are and be patient," he said. "Pay attention to make sure he is coming your way."
Locating turkeys is where the hunt ultimately begins, and Morrett suggests scouting near water sources, especially when looking for Merriam's.
"Water sources can play a big part in your hunting, especially out West, where drought conditions are everywhere," Morrett said. "That is the best place to start scouting. They need water everyday just like we do."
Remember, even after your patience, persistence and calling have brought that big tom into your setup, you still have to make the shot.
"I had a Merriam's hunt with (NWTF CEO) Rob Keck that I will never forget," Morrett recalled. "Rob was calling for me. That gobbler flew across a valley like I had never seen to that call. He came within 20 yards, and I missed him. I have never lived it down since."