Because there are so many opportunities to go turkey hunting around the United States, turkey hunting is extremely popular. While shooting a turkey isn’t overly difficult, imagine shooting all four subspecies of birds? This is a turkey hunting grand slam, and it’s a cool accomplishment – to say the least.
Different Species of Turkeys
Full article: Different Types of Turkeys
There are four main subspecies of turkeys in the US, and each subspecies has its own territory. To get the grand slam, you have to get them all.
The four sub-species of wild turkeys found in the United States are the:
- Rio Grande
A contender attempting the Turkey Hunting Grand Slam must kill all four of these birds. This will definitely require extensive travel by the hunter in order to bag all four sub-species of turkey, since these birds are located in different parts of the United States.
Good thing turkey hunting is such a blast. This will keep someone hooked for life, and make getting the grand slam something most hunters look forward to.
Different Turkeys of the Grand Slam
Wild turkeys, unlike domesticated turkeys, have a high degree of intellect, a strong will, and are tough to trick. Persistence, attentiveness, and a high degree of experience are required to properly hunt these birds.
An accurate shot bringing down an animal is an achievement that every hunter should be proud of. Let’s discuss these different turkeys, so you know what to expect should you pursue the grand slam of turkey hunting.
Rio Grande Turkey
Rios, as they are often referred to, live throughout the southern states known as the flyovers, such as Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, in addition to a large portion of California.
Rios are a sub- species that are one of the simpler to coax into shotgun range, but there is no question that they will provide their own set of challenges. It may be difficult to find an ideal habitat that also provides access for hunting since these birds often depend significantly on the river and creek bottoms.
These are one of the few sites in these kinds of landscapes that include huge trees that are good for roosting spots. You will have a good chance of seeing birds if you can to locate stream bottoms that are surrounded by agricultural areas that provide food.
The Turkey of Osceola
The scientific name for the Osceola Turkey, Meleagris Gallopavo Osceola, is often known as the Florida wild turkey. It is said to be a smaller, more colorful version of the conventional eastern turkey.
Because of the bird’s limited range, you will only be able to hunt one of these birds in Florida. Despite the fact that their range includes the entirety of the peninsula, they are not found deep in the panhandle, or too far south.
Interesting fact: Osceola turkeys are sometimes considered the most difficult component of the grand slam to achieve.
A Merriam’s turkey may be identified by looking at the tail feathers and noting how the tips are white. These turkeys are native to the Rockies. Merriam’s turkeys move a lot throughout the year because they spend their summers at high elevations and their winters in the pinyon-juniper plains. They may travel more than 20, 30, or 40 kilometers in a single trip.
The open spring turkey season for several of the states within Merriam’s turkey range comes late in the year. However, since you will be following them at higher altitudes, the weather will be a bit chilly. Wearing clothes that you can pull off as you work up a sweat and trek up the slopes is the greatest approach to avoid being overheated.
The eastern turkey, also known as Meleagris gallopavo silvestris, is possibly the most well-known subspecies since its area overlaps with that of various hunters who live along the highly populated east coast of the United States. However, having grown up with humans has made these birds wary and clever, making it pretty difficult to nail one.
While eastern turkeys may be found as far north as Canada, American hunters seldom have to go that far to bag one. Despite mostly hanging out in oak-hickory woodlands, they have been known to go into pine forests and agricultural regions on occasion. Their range includes the bulk of the eastern United States.
Single Season Grand Slam
This, truly, is the most impressive thing you can do in turkey hunting. Essentially, a hunter will tag all four birds, with one catch – they must do it within ONE SEASON!
Related: Videos on Turkey Hunting
Talk about a difficult task. Only the best hunters can pull off a single season slam. They deserve all bragging rights that come with this very difficult accomplishment.
World Turkey Slam
There is also what’s known as a world turkey slam in which a hunter needs to tag six species of turkeys – all around the world!
A hunter by the name of Mark Peterson pulled this off in 2019. Except, Mark did the world turkey slam in a single season. Wow! Check out the video above for some great footage.
Summary – Grand Slam of Turkey Hunting
Regardless of which of these four turkeys you choose to hunt this spring, you can be guaranteed that you will have a contender for the most exciting hunts of the season. When you go one-on-one with a knuckle-headed gobbler this spring, you’ll understand why he’s regarded as the “boss.” You’ll see why when you compete with him. He will drive you nuts, but he will also make you desire more of him.