Southern Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts
Arizona Gould's Turkey Guides and Outfitters
About Our Arizona Gould's Turkey Hunts
We are pleased to offer hunting trips in southern Arizona for the rare Gould's turkey. The Gould's turkey is primarily a mountain dwelling bird that inhabits the extreme southern portions of Arizona in higher altitude areas known as "Sky Islands" (forested mountaintops that rise above the vast sea of desert). The Gould's sub-species is geographically separated from the Arizona Merriam's by many square miles of surrounding desert. Therefore, the chance for hybridization is slim to none. The Gould's is the largest of the turkey subspecies with longer legs, larger feet, and larger tail feathers and wings than all the other subspecies. But, the most notable difference from the other turkey subspecies is that the Gould's turkey typically has pure white tips on the rump and tail feathers (Merriam's have cream-white).
The Gould's turkeys that we hunt live in a natural habitat with no food plots, no farm fields, no feeders and typically no other human influence. Since Gould's are mountain dwelling turkeys, our hunts take place in the Oak Woodland to Ponderosa Pine forests at elevations of 6000 to 8000 feet. This high altitude hunt area has breathtaking scenery with very enjoyable Springtime temperatures of 80 degrees in the day and 45 degrees at night. In order to eliminate over-harvest, Arizona Gould's Turkey tags are on a special lottery draw. If interested in booking a hunt, the outfitter can assist prospective hunters with the drawing process. Once a tag is drawn for our area, we can then book the hunt.
These are nearly all-inclusive fully-guided turkey hunts. Hunters are led into the field daily by an experienced turkey guide in order to provide the highest chances for success. Our guides are very familiar with the area, terrain, where the birds hang-out, and more importantly, the techniques needed to effectively hunt Gould's turkeys. Since southern Arizona is such a vast and dry environment, Gould's turkeys tend to have a very large home range and are more spread-out than other turkey species. Gould's turkeys live in the mountains in their natural habitat setting. There are no fields or food plots to set up on. In order to increase odds for success, hunters should be prepared to hike away from the road and into the quality turkey areas. Daily hikes could be anywhere from ½ mile to 1 mile from the end of the road, depending upon where the birds are hanging at the time of your hunt. Like Spring turkey hunting anywhere, there are many tactics to use while hunting these mountain birds. Since they are so spread out, we primarily walk large ridges and set-up when we strike a gobbler. We also set-up in known corridor areas and "cold call" against oak and pine trees to see if a weary gobbler will come to investigate. Calling birds off the roost in the early morning can sometimes be effective. Our guides will typically call for the hunters, but experienced turkey hunters can join-in with calling, whichever is preferred. If you need your Gould's turkey for the Royal Slam and want to stay within the United States, we have the Gould's hunt for you!
Turkey Seasons/Licenses/Bag Limits
Since Arizona Gould's Turkey hunting is on a random lottery draw basis, hunters that are interested in booking a hunt with us will be emailed instructions on how to apply and which hunt numbers to use. You will be subscribed to receive our email newsletter. The online draw application period for Spring Turkey is late September through early October. If you apply and are lucky enough to draw a tag, we would then book the hunt. As with any lottery draw, persistance is the key. Some hunters are lucky and draw after only 1 or 2 tries, while most are not so lucky and take several years to draw. You never know when you will be drawn, but you can build bonus points to increase your odds. Each time you apply and are not drawn, you receive a point. An additional turkey bonus point can also be obtained by purchasing a "bonus point" during late May, meaning 2 points can be accumulated per year. For each point you have, you get an additional entry into the draw, thus increasing your odds over time.
Note: Everyone needs a nonrefundable hunting license in order to apply. The turkey permit-tag fee will only be charged if you are drawn.
Hunting License Fees: $37.00(Resident) or $160.00(NonResident)
Turkey Permit Tag Fees: $38 (Res) and $105 (NonRes)
ARIZONA Spring Gould's Turkey Seasons for 2021 are April 30 through May 27. Hunters are drawn for a certain week within a given area.
BAG LIMIT: One bearded turkey per year in Arizona.
The price for a guided one-on-one, up to *3 days, nearly all-inclusive, southern Arizona Gould's turkey hunt:
Gould's Turkey Hunts Include: complimentary accommodations (tent camps), complimentary meals, transportation in field while hunting only, a guide, trophy prep (skinning/caping), and *up to 3 days of hunting (depart camp about noon on last day of hunting).
* Arrive to camp the day prior to hunting. Depart camp about noon on the last day of hunting. So, it's best if flying non-resident hunters arrive in Arizona the evening prior to meeting us (two days before hunting), rent a car from the airport, get a hotel room and we will meet the next day about noon in the hunt area about 1.5 to 2 hours from the Tucson Airport or 3 to 4 hours from the Phoenix Airport. These are the closest major airports. Flying hunters will meet near the hunt area and can follow us to camp with their rental car. Flights should depart the morning after the hunt. More details on the general info page.
BOOKING INFO: A minimum 50% non-refundable deposit and a signed contract is required to book the hunt. The deposit is required only after a Gould's tag is drawn. The remaining balance is due at least 21 days prior to the hunt. We recommend cancellation insurance for all of our guests. Visit our policy page for more details on booking and cancellations.
Non-Hunter Fee: Bring a non-hunter or an observer for a flat fee of $750.00. Non-hunter space is limited. Based upon availability.
Other Costs that are the hunter's responsibility: licenses and tags, optional car rental, optional taxidermy, shipping or transporting of animal, airport hotel stay before/after the hunt (if flying). Gratuity for your guide is gladly accepted and customary (15% is typical).
Accommodations: We use a Southwestern Style outfitter tent camp which is often located many miles from civilization. Sleeping quarters for big game hunts are typically in deluxe outfitter tents, unless noted otherwise. A trailer often serves as the kitchen/mess hall where hunters gather to eat. If you are looking for a hunt with fancy lodges, this is NOT the hunt for you! Tent camps are used because we stay in remote areas. The deluxe tents consist of either large outfitter Kodiak canvas or Alaknak tents. The size of our tents are tall and spacious inside; typically 10X10, 10X14, or 12x12 and stand 6.5-9 feet tall. The tents are equipped with heaters during the colder months. Cots with thick pads are provided, but all hunters must bring their own sleeping bags. For those that own a camping trailer and would like to bring it to camp to stay in are more than welcome to do so, but we cannot discount the fully guided hunt any. It must be high enough for ground clearance on rough dirt roads. Please ask for road conditions before bringing one. Video of our typical camp.
WEAPONS: It’s the law that only shotguns, crossbows, or bows be used for turkey.
Shotguns: We recommend shotguns to be camouflage and chambered for 3" or 3-1/2" in 12 gauge. If you are bringing a youth hunter or a frail person, a 20 gauge 3" magnum will suffice. The best turkey shells we have found are loads with heavier-than-lead shot, such as Hevi-13 #5 or Federal TSS #7's. If you prefer lead, Winchester Long Beard XR #5 shot produces good long-range results. Chokes should always be "turkey choke tubes" in order to produce the tightest and most uniform patterns possible for your particular gun. A Turkey Choke Tube paired with either Hevi-13, Federal TSS, or Winchester Long Beard XR produces excellent long range results, even out to 60 yards!
Shotgun Pattern: It is recommended that you pattern your shotgun prior to arrival. Patterning is well worth the time and money, considering how much is spent on turkey hunting. Buy a few different boxes of shells to see which loads produce the most hits or tightest pattern. It is proper hunter ethics to have a very tight pattern so that you either "put down" that big ol' Tom or miss his head/neck completely. The wider the pattern, the higher the risk of hitting the bird in the body, thus crippling him. Nobody wants to see a trophy Tom get away injured, knowing he'll only die later in the woods.
Crossbows and Bows: Archery turkey hunting is the ultimate challenge, but the Crossbow Craze is quickly gaining popularity. It is only legal to use a crossbow for turkey during the general (shotgun) season and not during an archery-only season. The outfitter recommends that bowhunters and crossbow hunters use a broadhead with a very large metal cutting edge, since the kill zone on a turkey is rather small. Using a big 2-blade mechanical broadhead, such as RAGE Turkey X-treme, is preferred. This broadhead is designed with "meat hooks" to help the arrow to stay in the bird! That way, if the turkey is hit poorly (or sometimes hit well but he flies and disappears across the canyon), there is a higher chance for recovery. Tip for archery/crossbow turkey hunters: After your bird is hit with an arrow, sit tight, be silent, and just let him expire. If bringing a bow, make sure you practice shooting on your butt or knees. It is rarely feasible to use blinds. Standing up to shoot a bow at a turkey results in a running/flying bird!
About the Outfitter: Pat Feldt earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources with a major in Wildlife Management from the University of Arizona, which adds to his credibility as a full-time outfitter. Even though he is a big game guide throughout the year, his true passion is turkey hunting. He is a 50 year-old turkey hunting fanatic who has been pursuing wild turkeys his whole lifetime. Whether guiding hunters or hunting for himself, he persues turkeys nearly everyday of the Spring turkey season (about 6 weeks straight)! Pat is very experienced in all calling methods and you'll see him using most types of calls while on the hunt. But, he prefers to use the realistic sounding mouth diaphragms coupled with friction pot calls. Pat is also a firm believer in the use of decoys to aid in enticing a gobbler (if given ample time to set one up). He has taken dozens of native mountain Merriam's gobblers himself and has taken all the subspecies in the Grand Slam, as well as completed the US Royal Slam. His Gould's turkeys were taken within Arizona. See some of Pat's personal turkey harvests.
Gould's Turkey Hunt Photos
Russ from OK shot this nice southern Arizona Gould's gobbler at 33 yards (2020) Video of Hunt
Blake from Alabama harvested this beautiful southern Arizona Gould's Turkey (2019)
This nice Arizona Gould's Turkey is Billy's first turkey ever! Congratulations Billy! Video of hunt (2019)
James from TX finished his US Royal Slam with this Arizona Gould's turkey (2019)
Scott from NY shot this giant Arizona Gould's turkey that the locals named "Goliath!" (2018)
Michael shot his Arizona Gould's turkey with a crossbow at 20 yards! (2018)
Pat Feldt with his 2018 archery Arizona Gould's turkey taken at 2 yards with NO Blind! (2018)
Mike from Virginia shot this big Arizona Gould's turkey at 7 yards with a crossbow. (2018)
No blinds were used to bring in this big Arizona Gould's turkey for Joe to shoot with his bow!
AZ Super Raffle Winner John Werner shot this big Gould's Turkey with guide Pat Feldt.
Michael with his big Arizona Gould's Boss Gobbler! Video of Hunt
Bret from Louisiana tagged this pretty Arizona Gould's gobbler at about 12 yards!
Jay from Pennsylvania with his big southern Arizona Gould's Turkey.
Contact the outfitter at email@example.com to start the process of booking a guided Arizona Gould's turkey hunt.
Also visit our Merriam's Turkey page.