I'm not a frequent contributor to OT, but I'd like to share some pics from this year's turkey season. I was fortunate enough to hunt three different subspecies of wild turkey this year, and two of the hunts were successful.
1. Eastern Subspecies. I traveled to Mississippi for opening weekend March 13 & 14, and I didn't even hear a single gobble. Wind, rain and COLD made it close to impossible.
2. Rio Grande Subspecies. On March 20 and 21, I hunted in Refugio, TX. We were COVERED UP in birds. Refugio County is characterized by few large land owners who just don't hunt the Rio Grande, and the county is really overrun with turkeys. Here's a picture of me and a dumb-as-hell two year old gobbler that needed killing.
I used a Mossberg 12-gauge with a Burris Speeddot in Realtree AP that I bought from Chris. The scope performs pretty well, but the free rings that accompany the scope had worked themselves loose. They just seem to have trouble handling the recoil from the tough turkey load. I guess I should write a formal review on one of the other OT forum groups.
BTW, turkey hunters never seem to get any love in the SWFA photo contest. Think I could score an honorable mention for this one?
3. Osceola Subspecies. On March 24, my 70 year-old uncle and I traveled to Sebring, FL, in pursuit of the only subspecies he lacked in his lifetime grand slam. He knows more about the wild turkey than any three people I know! Anyway, we were both rewarded on the very first morning of our hunt with two really nice gobblers. It was a real priviledge being with him when he completed the slam!
The only difference between the Osceola and the Eastern subspecies is that the Osceola has developed longer legs to deal with the water throughout Florida. It also has a greater white-to-brown ratio of color on its primary wing feather. Scientists say that the pure Osceola (which is only found in Florida) is being bred out of existence from the pressure of the Eastern subspecies pressing down from Georgia. If you want a pure blooded Osceola, you should book a hunt. I've heard estimates of 10 years before the genetics are changed for good.
For more on hunting the wild turkey, see http://www.nwtf.org/for_hunters/.