Friday, June 1, 2012

Turkey Grand Slam for Summerville sportsman

Merriam's turkeys have light-colored feathers

       Dr. Bob Aiken of Summerville did not even start turkey hunting until 1995, when he also began volunteering for the National Wild Turkey Federation. His love for turkey hunting and the friendships he cultivated within the NWTF have now combined to help him complete the rare feat of a Grand Slam in one year. Now many of his turkey hunting patients will be envious of his good fortunes in the field.
Oceola turkeys are only found in Florida
Rio Grande gobbler in Kansas
            His season of splendor began with the harvest of an Eastern turkey in Colleton County on March 18, when a 21-pound tom with an 11-inch beard strutted his way into the beginning of his Grand Slam attempt. Dr. Aiken then headed to Florida, home of the Oceloa strain, and hunted in Wachula about an hour South of Orlando. While hunting private lands with a friend on March 24, he harvested his 22-pound Oceola gobbler with a 10.5-inch beard. Two down and two to go!
            The Merriam’s turkey occurs out West and Dr. Aiken traveled to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming with hunting friend Dennis Axson to utilize White Creek Outfitters. Dr. Aiken is the immediate past President of the State Chapter of the NWTF and Axson is the current JAKES chairman of the NWTF State Chapter.
          “We arrived the afternoon before our hunt was to begin and elected to go out scouting for turkeys,” said Aiken. “We saw two toms in a high pasture ravine and decided to set up and call to them. Dennis and our guide did the calling and the turkeys moved away from us. We sat tight and I was sitting looking around the corner when one of the toms showed up. I was the only one to see him, so I raised my gun and took a shot.”
            The Grand Slam journey was completed on May 20 while hunting for a Rio Grande turkey in Alma, Kansas. The harvest of the 21-pound tom with an 11-inch beard gave him the rare feat of completing the Grand Slam in one year. It should be noted that a turkey hunter who kills all four species during any number of years can also claim the Grand Slam title, but serious turkey hunters complete the task in only one year.
            The Rio Grande turkey had vexed Dr. Aiken for the past two years as he had traveled to Texas with NWTF S.C. Regional Director Mike Hoffststatter. “The drought hurt our chances those years,” said Hoffstatter. “Achieving the Grand Slam success in 2012 could not have happened to a nicer guy, and I can vouch for his dedication to the NWTF mission of conservation.”

For past blog entries about turkey hunting click here.

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