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The 15 Best States For Your Grand Slam Of Turkey Hunting

wild tom turkey

wild tom turkey

In this article we will answer 2 very important questions.

What is the grand slam of turkey hunting?

Where are 15 of the best states to hunt turkey for a chance at getting the grand slam?

What Is The Grand Slam Of Turkey Hunting?

There are in fact six different grand slams of turkey hunting.

A hunter archives these milestones when taking each species or subspecies of turkey from the list below. The gobblers each hunter harvests must also taken from the respective regions of each slam.

1. The Grand Slam which is the taking of all 4 US subspecies of wild turkey

2. A Royal Slam which is the Grand Slam above plus the Gould turkey. The Gould turkey can be found in limited numbers in the southwest of the US.

See Distribution Map Below. The Gould bird is also found in Mexico.

3. A World Slam consists of the Royal Slam plus the Ocellated turkey from Central America and Mexico.

4. The Canadian Slam is the taking of the Eastern turkey and Merriam in any Canadian province. (British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec Alberta and Manitoba)

5. A Mexican Slam means harvesting the Rio Grande, Gould's turkey and the Ocellated turkey. All while hunting in Mexico.

6. And the US Super Slam. Which requires the hunter to take one turkey in every US state except Alaska.

Above all to achieve any of the turkey hunting grand slams you need to harvest the required birds from the appropriate regions. HOWEVER the birds do not all need to be taken in a single year.

Turkey Grand Slam Management

Grand Slam turkey hunting is managed by the National Wild Turkey Federation. (NWTF). This organization manages the database of turkeys taken. In addition it determines the hunters that have achieved any or all, of the above grand slams of turkey hunting.

You can contact the NWTF and submit your claims for Grand Slam turkey recognition by visiting their website.

NWTF Website.

Official Registration Form.

grand slam wild turkey population map

Wild Turkey Population Distribution Map

In this article we will focus on the Grand Slam turkey hunt.

All four US subspecies of wild turkey taken by a hunter in the United States. Those four subspecies for the Grand Slam of turkey hunting are:-

1. Eastern

2. Osceola (or Florida)

3. Rio Grande

4. Merriam’s

We will then provide relevant information and buying license details for you on what we believe are 15 of the best states to visit for your grand slam attempt.

The Four Subspecies Of Grand Slam Turkey Hunting

The Eastern

Generally regarded as one of the more difficult gobblers to hunt the Eastern turkey will challenge the hunter.

Unlike other turkey subspecies the Eastern gobbler does not follow the same pattern every day. Time scouting these birds is required. They also are not the most responsive birds to calls.

Eastern's have become very good at avoiding  hunting pressure.

The Eastern turkey can be found in numbers in Texas and all states east of Texas. You can also find them in parts of southern Canada and as far south as Florida.

There is an estimated population of over 5.3 million Eastern turkeys in the USA, making this gobbler the most abundant.

Eastern turkeys will grow up to 4 feet tall and the big toms come in at up to 25 pounds. The upper tail feathers or coverts are tipped with a chestnut brown color.

The Osceola (or Florida)

This subspecies of turkey is only found in Florida.

More specifically on the Florida peninsula. With less hunting pressure on them compared to the Eastern the Osceola gobbler’s are often easier to call in and respond well to decoys.

That does not mean this turkey is any easy target.

Similar to the Eastern, this bird will challenge the hunters skills and patience. The open habitat they live in makes finding their roosts easier it also makes you easier to see.

The current estimated population is over 100,000. The Florida turkey is smaller than the Eastern and has darker feathers. Wing feathers are darker and body feathers give off a greeny purple color.

The Rio Grande

The Rio Grande for your grand slam turkey hunt can be found in the western regions of Texas, in Oklahoma, Kansas and other western states. Mexico is also a good place to hunt down this gobbler.

The Rio Grande turkeys tend to travel in large groups. Regarded as one of the easier birds to take, the Rio Grande is not the smartest turkey out there.

One reason is they will return to the same roost spot each night, so find their roost and there they are early morning and at last light. They are also quite vocal and respond well to calls.

A good sized tom gobbler will weigh in at around 20 pounds. Body feathers are a green- copper type color and they may appear shiny. Current population estimates are over 1 million of these birds.

The Merriam

The Merriam ranges through the rocky mountains and the prairies of South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. They can be found in New Mexico and through to California.

For your first gobbler in the grand slam turkey hunt this may be easier to harvest.

The reason being is their generally aggressive response to a hunters call. Being a very social gobbler the whole Merriam flock often responds to the hunters call. They will also roost in the same area each day and follow a similar walking pattern each day.

The estimated population of Merriam wild turkeys is 350,000 birds. Their feathers have a purple bronze color and they have distinctive white tips on the tail and lower back feathers.

15 Of The Best States For The Grand Slam Turkey Hunt

wild turkey grand slam hunting

wild turkey hunting

Each of the states listed below offers different hunting opportunities for the hunter chasing the grand slam of turkey hunting.

For each state a link to the relevant authority for tags and licensing is included.

So in alphabetical order here are 15 of the best states for the grand slam turkey hunting challenge.

Alabama Turkey Hunting For Eastern Gobblers

Alabama Turkey Hunting

One of the most productive wild turkey hunting states in the country.

Lots of public land hunting opportunities exist as well as very reasonably priced guided hunts on offer. Plenty of prime gobbler habitat and an estimated population of 500,000 birds should put Alabama high on any hunters list wishing to achieve the grand slam of turkey hunting.

Be aware however these birds are used to hunters so do not think it will be easy!

Some of the prime areas include the central region of the state where you find black soil country. Other counties to keep in mind include Marion and Colbert in the north as well as Lamar in the south of the state. It is recognized that good hunting can be found throughout the state.

Alabama turkey hunting average harvest over the past few years have seen between 40,000 to 50,000 birds taken.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

 https://www.outdooralabama.com/

Florida Turkey Season For The Osceola

Florida Turkey Hunting

As discussed above the Florida is the only state you will find the Osceola.

So if you are chasing the grand slam of turkey hunting you will be making a trip to sunny Florida turkey season.

The good news is Florida is also home to the Eastern gobbler so you may just cross off two from your list in the one trip.

The Osceola is found in the southern and central regions of the state and should be your prime destination. Eastern wild turkeys are found in the Florida panhandle.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://myfwc.com/hunting/turkey/

Georgia Turkey Hunting Public Land Aplenty

Georgia turkey hunting

Another great state to track down the Eastern gobbler. Georgia turkey hunting offers a fantastic experience although not quite as productive as some of the other states listed.

If you like to get out and do it yourself you will find well over 1 million acres of public land available for hunting.

Long spring hunting seasons and home to over 400,000 birds the Peach state is well worth a visit.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://georgiawildlife.com/turkey-info

Kansas Turkey Season Rio Grande's & Eastern's

Kansas Turkey Hunting

With over 300,000 gobblers of which half are estimated to be Rio Grande’s, Kansas should make your must visit list.

Kansas turkey season will also open up the chance to harvest a hybrid bird although these do not form part of your grand slam turkey hunt.

Hunting for the Rio Grande focus on the western regions of the Sunflower state. In the north eastern part of the state you will be able to chase down the Eastern turkey. Check out the Kansas Walk-In-Hunting-Area program to access private land without the need for a guide if that’s your thing.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://www.ksoutdoors.com/Hunting

grand slam turkey hunt

grand slam wild turkey hunt

Kentucky Turkey Hunting For The Eastern

Kentucky Turkey hunting

You will find plenty of hunting opportunities in the Bluegrass state, both public land and guided hunts.

In Kentucky turkey hunting is focused on the Eastern gobbler and there is a population of well over 400,000 birds. The southern, western and most Eastern counties offer the greatest number of birds based on the most recent population survey.

A trip to Kentucky will help you get that grand slam turkey hunt underway.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://fw.ky.gov/Hunt/Pages/Spring-Turkey-Hunting.aspx

Michigan Turkey Hunting Public Land Everywhere

Michigan turkey hunting

One of the great things about a trip to Michigan for hunting your gobbler is the 4 and a half  million plus acres of public land available to hunters.

Wild turkeys can be found in most counties and the population whilst not the biggest in the country, continues to grow year in year out.

The extended hunting season is another great reason to visit the wolverine state. Over 30,000 birds were harvested last year ranking Michigan 8th overall.

Oh and did I mention the birds here are big? A Michigan gobbler can easily weigh in at 25 pounds. Certainly a state you want on your places to hint list if you are after the grand slam of turkey hunting and are after big birds on public land.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/

Missouri Turkey Season Get Your Eastern 

Missouri turkey hunting

Missouri has over 500,000 Eastern gobblers for you to hunt.

This state is regarded as one of the best in the US for turkey hunting supported by annual harvests of over 50,000 birds.

The north of the state produces the best results. Even though they have shorter hunting hours per day compared to other states, there are plenty of opportunities to be had to add the Eastern turkey to your turkey grand slam.

You will find the turkeys here more of a challenge as they have wised up to hunting pressure over the years.  With one of the highest annual harvests in the country Missouri is a must for any serious turkey hunter.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey

Nebraska Turkey Hunting 3 Grand Slam Opportunities

Nebraska turkey hunting

Nebraska has a booming population of bearded birds for you to hunt.

Significantly for hunters chasing the grand slam of turkey hunting there are 3 subspecies on offer for you.

Merriam's, Eastern's and Rio Grandes can all be found in Nebraska.

In the Eastern parts of the state you will find your Eastern gobblers. Hunting in the central regions will put you amongst the Rio Grandes. The western parts of the state are home to a good population of Merriam's.

Whilst Nebraska doesn't have the highest population of birds compared to other states, the hunting pressure is generally less and success rate high.  What a great opportunity to harvest 3 of your turkey grand slam birds in the one season and in the one state.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

http://outdoornebraska.gov/hunting/

New York Hunting Eastern Gobblers

New York turkey hunting

New York probably isn't the first state that you think of when deciding where to plan your grand slam turkey hunt.

As far as Eastern states go, however it is one of the best for Eastern turkey hunting. Populations have been growing for over 100 years now with wild birds returning after their decline in the early 1900’s.

With well over 200,000 long beards on offer New York state provides plenty of hunting opportunities.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://www.ny.gov/services/get-new-york-state-hunting-license

Oklahoma Grand Slam Turkey Hunt

Oklahoma turkey hunting

Find your Eastern's, Rio Grandes and Merriam's all in the Sooner state.

The Eastern counties offer the highest long beard populations, however great hunting opportunities can be found throughout the state.

More specifically, your best chance of hunting the Rio Grande can be had in the western three fourths of the state with plenty of public land available to the hunter.

The Eastern turkeys are confined more to the rugged mountains in the south east and in the far Eastern counties. There is  smaller population of these compared to the Rio Grandes. With reduced bag limits on the Eastern their population has been steadily growing over the past 20 plus years.

The Merriam can also be found in Oklahoma but you will have to work for it. They can be found in the very far north Eastern part of the state.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/licensing

wild gobbler grand slam turkey hunt

wild gobbler

Pennsylvania Turkey Hunting The Eastern Long Beard

Pennsylvania turkey hunting

One of the top states for annual harvesting of Eastern gobblers the Quaker state offers the hunter a long spring turkey season.

There is hunting in some amazingly beautiful country. With around 400,000 birds the hunter can take advantage of the large amount of public land hunting opportunities. There are also fantastic guided hunts on offer.

This is a very popular state for hunters and for good reason. Consistently in the top five states for annual harvest, over 40,000 birds are taken each season.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://www.pgc.pa.gov/HuntTrap/LicensesandPermits/​​​

South Dakota Turkey Hunting The Merriam

South Dakota turkey hunting

The Black Hills region of South Dakota is the place for Merriam's.

Get off the well worn tracks in this region and you have a great chance of harvesting this long beard. Black Hills has plenty of land available to hunt, over 2 million acres of which 75% is public land.

So even though there may be other hunters you will find your own area with a bit of walking. There are also amazing hunting opportunities on the prairie lands although it can be tougher to get a permit for these areas.

In addition to Merriam's you will also find Eastern and Rio Grandes in South Dakota. You may just check off three of your birds for the turkey grand slam hunt.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://gfp.sd.gov/hunt/

Tennessee Turkey Season Means Eastern Long Beards

Tennessee turkey hunting

With over 3000,000 birds Tennessee is another prime state for the turkey hunter.

A large amount of public land is available providing you with plenty of quiet areas to hunt. These gobblers can be found in nearly every county throughout Tennessee and the population is rapidly growing. There is a generous four bird bag limit per season.

If you are looking to bag your Eastern for your grand slam turkey hunt then Tennessee should definitely be towards the top of your list.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

​​https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting/big-game/turkey.html

Texas Turkey Season Means Grand Slam Opportunity

Texas turkey hunting

Another state that offers the hunter three birds for the grand slam of turkey hunting.

The Lone Star state is home to Rio Grande's, Eastern's and Merriam's. The Rio Grande is the main species of long beard on offer with a population exceeding 500,000 birds.

There is limited public land hunting opportunity so your best option is to book a guided hunt from the many operators available.

With the sheer number of gobblers available and the chance to bag three subspecies Texas is definitely a State any serious turkey hunter should visit.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/

Wisconsin Turkey Hunting The Eastern Gobbler

Wisconsin turkey hunting

Wisconsin has a large population of Eastern's on offer. Estimated currently at around 400,000 birds.

Since being reintroduced to Wisconsin back in the 1970’s the population has continued to grow rapidly. Gobbler's are expanding throughout the state.

There is also a huge amount of public land hunting opportunities available and a long hunting season. If you are looking for a good chance to add the Eastern long beard to your grand slam turkey list then the Badger state should be seriously considered.

For up to date seasons, bag limits and license requirements.

​https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/regulations.html​​​

Conclusion On The Grand slam Of Turkey Hunting In The USA

So there you have it.

The grand slam of turkey hunting requires you to harvest four subspecies of wild turkey within the US over any time period.

By referencing the individual states discussed above this challenge is well within your grasp.

Remember to visit the licensing detail section of each particular state before heading off.

If we have missed your favorite state for turkey hunting we apologize. Our list is based on several considerations. Gobbler populations, public land availability, experience and best opportunity for completing the grand slam of turkey hunting.

Please feel free to email us at admin@hunerabout.com with your favorite state if you would like it included on our list.

Or perhaps you would rather keep that a secret!! - I get it.

Good Luck

Paul

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