Chasing spring departs Hulett Wyoming’s 2nd Annual Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot leaving behind rainy frigid temperatures for warmer weather of the Yucatan Peninsula and the city of Campeche Mexico. Campeche city, the capital of the state of Campeche, is an incredible region in southern Mexico for hunting, fishing, site seeing or a long family vacation. The Yucatan peninsula and Campeche has been unfairly judged unsafe from media reports of crime on the northern Mexico border and central Mexico. Chasing Spring’s time in Campeche found those reports untrue. Campeche is a safe wonderful place with friendly people with an incredible amount of things to see and do. Chasing Spring is in Campeche hunting for the Ocellated turkey and fishing for tarpon, of course the Mayan ruins are also on our list of things to do. My final goal in turkey hunting was to hear the love song of the Ocellated turkey in the jungle of the Yucatan, I was not disappointed and it was one of the biggest thrills in my turkey hunting career.
As a turkey hunter, like many others, I miss judged the Ocellated turkey as not really being a turkey, after hunting them, they are in fact turkeys, not unlike the other 5 subspecies of turkey. The Ocellated turkey’s loudest call is his song, a mate attraction song of the adult male which corresponds to the gobble of our wild turkey. The local Spanish-speaking guides call a singing male a cantador. The song is sung from the roost at dawn, and from time to time during the day. When he goes back to roost in the evening, the male sings until dark or even after dark. The Ocellated turkey exists only in a 50,000 square mile area comprised of the Yucatan Peninsula range includes the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatan, as well as parts of southern Tabasco and northeastern Chiapas. Ocellated turkeys are known by several different names that vary by Central American locale: pavo, pavo ocelado, or its Mayan Indian name, ucutz il chican. Ocellated turkeys are considerably smaller than any of the five subspecies of North American wild turkeys. Adult hens weigh approximately 8 pounds just prior to egg-laying and nesting and about 6-7 pounds the remainder of the year. During the breeding season adult males weigh approximately 11-12 pounds.
The Ocellated turkey is easily distinguished from its North American cousin in appearance. The body feathers of both male and female birds have a bronze-green iridescent color mixture, although females sometimes appear duller in color with more green than bronze pigments. Unlike North American turkeys, breast feathers of male and female Ocellated turkeys do not differ and cannot be used to determine sex. Neither male nor female birds have a beard. Both sexes have a blue-colored head and neck with distinctive orange to red, warty, caruncle-like growths, called nodules, but they are more pronounced on males. The head of the male also has a fleshy blue crown behind the snood which is adorned with yellow-orange nodules similar to those on the neck. During breeding season, this crown enlarges and the coloration of the nodules becomes more pronounced. Ocellated turkeys also have a distinct eye-ring of bright red colored skin, especially visible on adult males during the breeding season. Tail feathers in both sexes are bluish-gray in color with a well defined, eye-shaped, blue-bronze colored spot near the end followed by bright gold tip. The tail feather spots are similar to those seen on peacock feathers which led some scientists to once believe the Ocellated was more related to peafowl than turkeys. In fact, these spots helped give the Ocellated its name, as the Latin word for eye is oculus. Legs of Ocellated turkeys are shorter and thinner than North American wild turkeys and are deep red in color. Legs of adult males also have pronounced spurs; longer and more attenuated than those of North American gobblers. Spur lengths in males over 1 year old average at least 1.5 inches, Spurs longer than two inches also have been recorded. Pictured: I captured my Clown Grand Slam while in Mexico
I learned quite a bit about the Ocellated turkey from our Chasing spring hunt and our guides during our Campeche adventure. I assure you when I return to Campeche next year for another round with pavo or ucutz il chican, I will call him in to the gun as the Gould’s in the Sierra Madre Mountains, The Rio Grande in Hawaii, the Eastern in the Ozarks and the Merriam’s in the shadow of devils tower. To learn more about Campeche and to make vacation plans contact Campeche Tourism Board: e-mail For more information on hunting the Ocellated turkey and Tarpon fishing in Campeche contact: **Jorge L. Sansores B **
phone: 001 52 (981) 813 1047 Captain Miguel Encalada
Tarpon bay
Phone (521) 981-100-85-12 Enjoy the photos…
Mikie and Bill relaxing and taking in some sun during a break on our fishing trip.
Mikie, our deck hand, is incredibly talented with maneuvering our boat with a pole.
We had a wonderful business dinner with our Ocellated turkey outfitter, fishing guide and Campeche Tourism.
Our driver, Diego Balam Yam, from Campeche Tourism. Diego picks us up from the hotel at 3:00 a.m every morning to drive us out to hunt. He waits in the field while we hunt, and then he drives for two hours to bring us back to the hotel at night.
Decals on the guide’s truck in the Yucatan – it’s the same as in the states. Interesting note: our guide, hotel owner and Campeche Tourism representative all attended the NWTF National Convention in Nashville in February.
The Ocellated turkey has the most brilliant and beautiful colors out of all wild turkeys
The Mayan Ruins were one of the most amazing incredible things I have ever experienced.
Can you say barracuda?

Ray Eye heads to Mexico to chase the elusive Ocellated turkey.