What is a turkey slam? There are four sub-species of wild turkeys in the United States. If you successfully hunt all four species in a season, you complete a wild turkey slam. If this is the year you're finally going for your gobbler grand slam, it's never too early to start planning; and here are a few things to consider while going through the process.
Osceola Wild Turkey
Florida has a monopoly on the Osceola and they know it. Finding a place to hunt is tough, and finding a good place is tougher. Start planning early. Research, get references and recommendations and follow up with them. Unless you know someone, you’ll almost certainly be doing a guided hunt, and you should expect to pay a premium. But if you've done your homework, it should pay off. Osceolas can be tough. Listen to your guide's advice about where and how to hunt, especially with regard to the type and amount of calling you should do.
Osceola turkeys are some of the first to come into season each spring. The Mossy Oak crew had a great Osceola turkey hunt in south Florida during the spring of 2017 where Dustin "Shed" Whitacre and Neill Haas were each able to start their spring off with a bang.
Merriam's Wild Turkey
Merriam's inhabit rugged, open terrain of the West. They like to cover a lot of ground, so you should plan on doing the same. Once the birds leave the roost, they'll spread out over the landscape and you may have to travel miles to catch up with them. Ask the outfitter if they use ATVs. This will allow you to cover more ground. Ride the bottoms, then walk up and glass from a high point. If you spot some birds, jump back on your ATV, get ahead of them and set up.
One of the best states to hunt Merriam's turkey is Wyoming. The Mossy Oak crew recently caught up with several Merriam's turkeys in the Black Hills of Wyoming.
Rio Grande Wild Turkey
Rios have a reputation for being easy. Don't bet on it though. Drought-related cycles can sometimes make for a boom or bust scenario. One year you'll be overrun with jakes while longbeards are few and far between and reluctant to come to a call. The next year, you'll have to fight the two-year-old longbeards away. Ask your outfitter if this applies to where you'll be hunting, and if you might be better off delaying things for a season.
Some of the best states to chase Rio Grande turkeys in are Texas and Oklahoma. The Mossy Oak crew hunted Rio Grande turkeys in Texas last spring, checking Rios off of their "Turkey Grand Slam" list.
Eastern Wild Turkey
Here's another place you could be over-confident. Because they're so widespread and usually abundant, Easterns might seem like an easy target. And they can be. They could also prove your downfall. Pick several destinations with good densities of un-pressured birds. And don't put it off. Plan an early to get it out of the way, but have a back-up late hunt in case things go wrong. Northern states where Easterns occur generally have the latest seasons.
Eastern wild turkeys are scattered throughout a large portion of North America. They can be some of the toughest turkeys to hunt, but they can also be the most fun! Several Mossy Oak employees hunt Eastern turkeys every spring in Alabama, Mississippi and several other states throughout the south and midwest.