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Chasing the Slam


In the world of turkey hunting there is an achievement that is pinnacle of hunting these majestic birds. It is known as the Grand Slam. Taking all four subspecies of the wild turkey. Variations of the Grand slam include, accomplishing the slam in a lifetime, in the same season and a few have actually taken the Grand Slam on four successive days. A feat that requires a lot of planning, skill and a little luck. The National Wild Turkey Federation lists six different slams that can be achieved. They are:

Grand slam which as mentioned above is taking all four subspecies of turkeys in America. (Osceola, Eastern, Rio Grande and Merriam)

Royal Slam: The Grand Slam plus the Gould Turkey found in Mexico and some remote places in the southwest.

World Slam: Royal slam plus the Ocellated Turkey found in central and south America

Canadian Slam: Killing the eastern and Merriam in any Canadian province.

Mexican Slam: Killing the Ocellated, Rio Grande and Gould in Mexico only

US Super Slam: Successfully killing one wild turkey in every state of the US except Alaska

To date the US Super Slam is the most difficult and only six persons have completed the US Super Slam. While the Grand slam has hundreds of entries. Mr. Richard Kirby holds the most grand slams with sixty one. Yes you read that correct, he has taken 61 grand slams. Including in that number are five Royal slams.

Getting the Grand slam is a great achievement and one many avid turkey hunters hope to achieve in their lifetime. While it can be expensive, it is not difficult if spread out over time. There are some places where three subspecies can all be hunted in the same state. With the exception of the Osceola which is found only in Florida, and is often the most expensive since outfitters know they cannot be hunted anywhere else.
However once the Osceola is taken, getting the Eastern, Rio and Merriam can be a bit easier logistically. Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska hold both Eastern and Rio turkeys, and portions of South Dakota hold Rio and Merriam subspecies. A small portion of Wyoming and Utah also hold some Merriam and Rio turkeys.

Getting the four without the assistance of an outfitter and guide is difficult at best. And perhaps the best method is to do just that. Find a location that holds two different subspecies and see if your guide can put you on two different ones on the same trip.

Merriam’s can be challenging due to their remote access and scattered populations, as compared to the Rio and eastern.

Registering the grand slam is a great accomplishment for any hunter. Whether it is over a lifetime, a single season or successive days, the accomplishment pales to the benefit the Wild Turkey receives from conservation efforts funded by hunters.