New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (888) 248-6866
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SANTA FE – Sixty-seven wild turkeys have new places to roost in southern New Mexico this week following successful trapping and transplant operations by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

The separate transplants will increase existing turkey populations in southwestern and southeastern New Mexico, with a goal of one day offering more hunting opportunities in those areas.

Early this month, the department partnered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to trap 20 Gould’s turkeys in Arizona and move them to the “Bootheel” region of extreme southwestern New Mexico. The Gould’s turkeys, a threatened species in New Mexico, were released in the Coronado National Forest, where they will add to a growing population of birds.

The Gould’s turkey transplant was part of a trade in which the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish trapped and moved 40 pronghorn antelope to Arizona in exchange for 60 Gould’s turkeys. Twenty turkeys will be trapped and moved to New Mexico each year for three years.

This week, the department trapped 47 Merriam’s turkeys at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron and moved them to the Guadalupe Mountains of the Lincoln National Forest of southeastern New Mexico. The transplants will be a big boost to a small population of Merriam’s turkeys in the area northwest of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Volunteers from the National Wild Turkey Federation, wildlife students from New Mexico State University and staff members from the National Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department and Philmont Scout Ranch joined the department in both trapping operations.

Three species of wild turkeys, Merriam’s, Rio Grande and Gould’s, inhabit New Mexico. The state offers spring and fall hunting seasons for Merriam’s and Rio Grande turkeys. Gould’s turkey licenses are limited to two a year, one by auction and one by lottery, from the National Wild Turkey Federation.

For more information about turkeys and turkey hunting in New Mexico, please visit