Jeff Budz of Florida has completed a Super Slam — killing a wild turkey in each of the 49 states. He also has more Grand Slams — an Eastern, Merriam’s, Osceola and Rio Grande — than anyone else (As of July 2015, he had 85 registered Grand Slams.)
Budz isn’t rich and believes everyone should take the time to get a Grand Slam, without going broke in the process. He shares his insight on how to accomplish this realistic goal.
Pinch your pennies and plan hard
Budz explains the key to tagging all four birds without spending much money boils down to focusing your efforts on states with long seasons, over-the-counter tags and ample hunting opportunities on public land.
It’s best if four hunts equal four subspecies. Here are Budz’s suggestions to accomplish just that:
Avoid the southeast. The birds there are hunted hard, can be tight-lipped, call-shy and hard to tag. Try setting up a hunt in Missouri, the state has a lot of birds and public land.
Most people envision hunting in Texas, but Budz prefers Kansas or Oklahoma. Both states have many birds, long seasons and a lot of public land. He also suggests knocking on doors, as many farmers and ranchers don’t care much about turkeys.
South Dakota is the go-to state for Merriam’s. The state has a lot of birds and amazing scenery, but the weather can be unpredictable in the early season. Budz advises hunting there later in the season when the weather is warm.
Filling the Osceola turkey tag may be difficult because the bird only lives in Florida. However, several places in Florida offer over-the-counter tags, and there are some management areas that require a hunter to draw a tag. There always will be hunting pressure, but hunters who hunt hard can tag a bird inexpensively. Hiring a guide with access to private land is an option, but that can be expensive. Budz suggests visiting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website to do some research.
Grand Slams allow people to hunt all over, see a lot of country and meet a lot of interesting people without breaking the bank. Stay positive, hunt hard and you too can be gripping and grinning with a Grand Slam.