TERRE HAUTE —
My father-in-law, Donnell Dunn of Jacksonville, Fla., is a retired engineer from J.I. Case and an avid reader and loves information on anything he takes interest in. He has five patents under his belt during his career.
Donnell took great interest in the Turkey World Slam display at Gander Mountain and thought each bird needed some info to help people understand more about them.
He did a wonderful job of putting together a brief message on each bird to enhance the display. What you are about to read is not in any magazine or column, but my own short lived thoughts and recollections of past hunts.
If you decide to go for the World Slam this writing may give some hints that will help.
Six times eye sight of a man and can hear extremely well. It’s hardest of all six species to harvest. ,and located in central United States with a very good population moving to other habitat locations due to food and cover. Average weight 18 to 23 lbs.
This bird was taken with a bow and arrow weighing in at 21 lbs. They like to have deer for companions because the turkey can’t smell and that is the deer’s biggest attribute. If a turkey could smell it would be even more extreme to harvest and is very weary to respond to turkey calls.
Located in South America, in the Yucatan Peninsula and Guatemala, their looks are always compared to a peacock as it’s the most brilliant colored bird of all six species with a multitude of colors such as, blue, copper, white, orange, turquoise and green. They aren’t vocal like the other species, for they do a drumming sound instead of a gobble, and they do a whistle sound instead of putting or purr.
World record bird is a few ounces over 13 pounds. They don’t have a beard and are very hard to distinguish between Gobbler and Hen. There are turkey calls being developed for them. They do have spurs like the other species. You may have best luck setting up an ambush instead of calling them. There’s good population in the state of Campeche, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Not to be confused with the ocellated species because the Oseola lives in Florida. Average weight is 15 to 20 pounds with this one weighing in at about 18 pounds.
It’s somewhat easier to respond to a call than the Eastern, but still weary for they have a multitude of natural predators being in a warm climate. Colored a lot like the Eastern Turkey. While standing erect and the head straight up, they appear to be very tall.
This bird lives in Central Mexico and the different color pattern stands out with a lot of white on the tail feathers and back. You cannot call one of these birds too much and if one can hear you a mile away he is likely to come visit. He will even bring his hens with him. This bird weighs in around 17 pounds. The Gould’s, Reo, and Occelated Turkey makes up the Mexican Slam.
There are few to register this achievement with the National Wild Turkey Federation. You can’t use the same bird to qualify for both slams; it takes a different bird per slam. All the species except the Oselated can have multiple beards, doubles aren’t rare. I’ve seen as many as five on a bird. This Gould’s has a double.
Look for this bird out west and don’t mistake one for one of the many hybrids in the Kansas and Eastern Nebraska area. It should have a lot of white on it, but it can still look like the Reo with a buff color on the tail. Take your binoculars with you for in central Nebraska they may feed out into the open grasslands, but prefer the cover and roosting trees in the long drainages in the bottom of the rolling hills.
These birds are very weary, not so much from calling, but from keeping sight of any activity. Out in the open there may not be a tree for miles. If they feel threatened from something far away they will lie down in the grass and hide. You can run up hoping to flush him, but it’s hard to size and sex them that far away. This bird hits the 19-pound number on the scales.
The weight referred to each of these birds was wrote in only to show they are average and nothing outstanding. It’s not the size of the bird that counts, it is the size of the pride you can feel after an accomplishment!