Chasing the Grand Slam

The NWTF recognizes respective types of “ slams. ” here, in the U.S., there are three recognized slams, and one that mixes U.S. hunting with a mexican wind. All of these slams are considered top feats or goals to diehard joker hunters. The Grand Slam will take you around the country, chasing each of the four most coarse wild turkey subspecies in the U.S. : eastern, Merriam ’ second, Osceola and Rio Grande. Add a Gould ’ s to your Grand Slam and you ’ ve got a Royal Slam. If you ’ re find hot, head to Mexico to hunt an Ocellated turkey and you ’ ve got yourself a World Slam .
There ’ second besides the canadian Slam, which consists of shooting an easterly and a Merriam ’ second in any canadian state, and the Mexican Slam, completed by killing a Rio Grande, Gould ’ randomness and Ocellated south of the margin .
then there is the Mt. Everest of slams : the U.S. Super Slam. Finishing the Super Slam involves tagging a hazardous turkey in each of the 49 states that have turkeys ( Alaska is void of turkey tags ) .

Being introduced to turkey hunting in Minnesota in the 1990s, I can recall the first ever turkey pigeonhole issued in 1996. I believe that postage even resides in my memorabilia box. Back then, turkeys were only huntable in the southwestern part of the state. nowadays, turkeys are huntable in closely every county in Minnesota. It wasn ’ triiodothyronine until the wildfire-type spread of the Eastern raving mad turkey in Minnesota that my addiction truly took hold. I began traveling to other states, taking friends and kin members out, and very tuning in to turkey talk and the nuances and gear in the turkey hunting scene. furthermore, the quest for my Grand Slam was born .
Eastern Wild Turkey
The easterly subspecies is the most far-flung of the five subspecies. You can find Easterns in many states, and most consider them the wiliest of all of the subspecies. These fresh, loud-roaring gobblers carry above-average spur distance and full beards ; it ’ sulfur hard not to get excited about an easterly in strut. They have mild-brown or chestnut-colored tips on their fans and hindquarters feathers and posse noticeable blank barring on their big wings .
As mentioned, Minnesota is now loaded with turkeys, and closely all of them are the eastern subspecies. minnesota does have some hybrids in the westerly function of the state, where stocking efforts from North and South Dakota tribes have bled over. My beginning Eastern was shot with my first pump, a Remington 870 12 gauge with Remington Nitro No. 5 fritter. After killing respective Eastern gobblers, I was one-fourth of the room to the Grand Slam .
Rio Grande Wild Turkey
The Rio Grande, or “ Rio ” to most, is sometimes referred to as the “ desert bird. ” The nickname comes from the climate in which the Rio resides and thrives. Dry, arid areas like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are hotbeds for the Rio Grande. With tan chase sports fan tips and buttocks feathers, the Rio Grande is easily distinguished from an Eastern. In some states, like Kansas and Nebraska, some hybridization can cause confusion. An eastern crossed with a Merriam ’ randomness can appear much like a Rio. Modest beard length, spurs and gobbles teamed with the Rio ’ s call-receptive nature gives them an underestimate tag. Some would say that the Rio is the most accommodative subspecies to hunt .
I have been lucky enough to harvest two Rio Grande wilderness turkeys — one when I was about 19 years old while hunting with my father and brother, and another in a literal blizzard. Trust me when I say that I wasn ’ t any less excite about harvesting a Rio than any other subspecies. I shot my beginning Rio using an old Remington 870 pump with hi-brass No. 5 pheasant loads from my previous man ’ s many-sided shells bag. The Rio was my second subspecies to hit the scandal and put me halfway to my Slam .
Merriam’s Wild Turkey

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When you think of places in the wild West, be assured there are Merriam ’ s godforsaken turkeys there. Places like South Dakota, Montana, Colorado and Wyoming come to mind as hotbeds. The gangling Merriam ’ second is known for its ability to climb and its light tips on the fag end fan and rump feathers. Some Merriam ’ sulfur fans about appear ampere white as composition. Hunting Merriam ’ mho can be difficult if you ’ re not train to hike ; however, even an abortive day of hunting Merriam ’ s beats any day in the turkey woods in my opinion. large ponderosa pines and burn areas in the Black Hills or on the Rocky Mountain edges are breathtaking sites. Stopping to take in the view while hunting this subspecies isn ’ metric ton only necessary to catch your breath, it ’ randomness recommended for connecting your soul with nature. Thinner and shorter beards with short spurs make the Merriam ’ s less desirable for take-home prizes, but those snow white buttocks fans make up for it .
I ’ thousand prepare for my third Merriam ’ south hunt as I type this. I was successful in the first 30 minutes on my first trip for Merriam ’ randomness in the Black Hills of South Dakota with a good acquaintance and my beautiful wife. I ’ ve besides called in birds for my wife and my best acquaintance out west. My foremost was shot with a savage 212 shotgun with Federal 3rd Degree ammunition. My Merriam ’ sulfur put me three-fourths of the way to my Slam and in truth kicked in the passion to complete it .
Osceola Wild Turkey
The Osceola, the Florida joker, the Seminole bird, the ghost of the Everglades. Whichever name you give it, the Osceola subspecies is the most coveted of the four birds needed for the Grand Slam. The argue ? You ’ ll only find the Osceola in north-central and southerly Florida. A true Osceola will be distinguished by his long spur, even on younger birds, night wings with little white banish, bright iridescent feathers and long swamp-walking legs. The fan tips and rump feathers are dark than those of the Eastern, but not much. Often coming in mutely and not gobbling about arsenic much as other subspecies, the Osceola sincerely is a ghost at times. Their long legs are thought to be used for walking in the ankle- to knee-deep water, and I ’ ve personally witnessed a gobbler roosting on an island walking through a brook and swamp denounce to get to his hens. The Osceola is the most covet because of the small area it inhabits, and the measure of pressure it receives. Every orion reading this credibly wants to shoot an Osceola, or another Osceola, and we ’ re all going to find ourselves in the same general region .
I just returned from my third attempt for an Osceola and the completion of my Grand Slam. I can, without a doubt, say the Osceola is the toughest shuttlecock to bag. From the confuse applications and areas, differing hunt hours from one WMA to the following, cost of the slip ( particularly if you decide to utilize an outfitter ), places to hunt, supernumerary baggage to help stay dry … the number goes on when you ’ re talking about why the Osceola is the hardest boo to tag. But, this year, I was able to punch my tag and add my name to the tilt of hunters who ’ ve completed the Grand Slam. I shot my boo with a feral 212 using new Federal Heavyweight TSS. Slam accomplished .
Planning Your Slam
If you ’ re going to chase the Grand Slam, don ’ thymine rush it and don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate coerce yourself. Give yourself enough of clock to inquiry each shuttlecock and familiarize yourself with the areas you are going to hunt. After all, it ’ randomness about the hunt, the memories with friends and class, the watch and the feel. Utilize early hunters. This turkey thing has us all looking like we ’ re in a cult, but, it ’ south more like a family, and we ’ ra constantly willing to help one another. Whether you ’ rhenium hunting public land or private down, with your grandfather ’ s Model 12 or a custom turkey accelerator with modern tungsten loads, enjoy yourself and learn. Be awake and alert, because there is nothing more beautiful than watching the sun rise through the turkey woods.

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Be certain to check out the great information on the NWTF ’ s locate to learn more about each subspecies —
— Matthew Breuer

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