Utah Field Guide: Wild turkeys

Utah is home to two sub-species of wild turkey, the Merriam’s and the Rio Grande. The wild turkey is the largest of Utah’s game birds, considered by many as the “trophy ” upland game species and are found in nearly every county in the state.

Wild turkeys are not known to have existed in Utah during early white settlement. However, historical evidence suggests that wild turkeys co-existed with Native Americans in Utah. Merriam’s turkeys were transplanted into Grand County back in 1952. The Rio Grande was introduced into Utah in 1984. Both species have thrived and now Utah holds both limited entry and general season hunting for turkeys.

Utah’s General Season turkey hunt starts April 28th and runs through the end of May. You’ll find Merriam’s Turkeys in open stands of ponderosa pine, interspersed with aspen, grass meadows and pinyon pine and juniper. Rio Grande Turkeys prefer cottonwood bottoms associated with oak-pine and pinyon-juniper forests. For more information on the wild turkey or any other critter found in Utah, check out our Utah Field Guide on our Outdoors page at KSLTV.com.

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