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Eastern and Osceola Turkeys

          A brief look at the different subspecies of the wild turkey. We will not look at biological differences, just the different birds and how to hunt them.

The two subspecies of the wild turkey found east of the Mississippi are known as the Eastern and the Osceola. The eastern is the mainstay of all turkeys in North America. It is the one where they all originated from. The eastern turkey is too many the most beautiful of the North American turkeys and in many cases is the most difficult to kill because of his intelligence. However those who have tried to get the Osceola can tell you they are difficult if for no other reason than access to these birds.

The Osceola is found only in Florida. Those wanting to get the grand slam of North American wild turkeys need the Osceola in order to complete the slam. Outfitters and land owners in Florida know this and charge accordingly. Getting an Osceola turkey is similar to getting other turkeys. Find great areas that hold turkeys and then hunt them. Again, the issue with the Osceola is access. There is little public land in Florida that does not have more hunters than birds. The best method is to hire a guide or outfitter and pay the price. Look at spending several thousand for a three day hunt and double that for a five day hunt for one bird.

Conversely, the Eastern turkey has the widest range of all the subspecies. Found in every state east of the Mississippi and in many other states west of the Mississippi, the eastern wild turkey is the foundation of all subspecies. In some area weighing well over twenty pounds it is also the largest of the wild turkeys.

Hunting the eastern turkey is a lot easier than the Osceola in regards to access. The twenty plus states that hold the eastern bird all have plenty of public land access. And for those willing, a plethora of guides and outfitters. The price is much less for the eastern bird at most guides and outfitters, ranging from several hundred a day to several thousand. A little effort and you can readily find outfitters who will meet your budget.

Living in the east, the eastern wild turkey is the only one I have personally killed. While I have killed a lot, like many other turkey hunters look forward to getting my slam of all species of wild turkey. Starting with the most plentiful and the most elusive may just be the best way to start.