Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Switch Up Your Slam

Bob Humphrey photo

Bob Humphrey photo

By Bob Humphrey

A couple weeks back I offered some tips for those folks attempting their first wild turkey grand slam.  This week, I’ll provide some ideas for folks who have already completed a slam or two, or more, on how they might add a little spice to their next attempt by trying a different weapon.


Switching to a smokepole can be a nice change of pace, and add more challenge to a typical turkey hunt.  You’ve only got one shot, so you’d better make it count.  Besides, there’s a bit more satisfaction to be gained from preparing your own loads.  

Most major muzzleloader manufacturers make shotguns, or shotgun barrels for their more popular models.  Then you’ll need a few components.  Veteran shotgun smokepolers recommend loose powder as it allows you to customize and tone down your loads.  Standard shot and wads are available anywhere reloading components are sold.  Be sure to pattern your gun so you know its effective range, which will likely be less than your shotgun.


Switching from shotgun to stick and string adds the unrivaled challenge of drawing a bow in close proximity to some of the sharpest eyes in the animal kingdom.  Taking one bird is noteworthy, but if you can pull off all four, you’ll really have something to be proud of. 

You can use the same archery tackle you use for deer, though you might be better off with a much lighter draw weight and let-off as it will be easier to pull and hold for what could be an extended time.  You don’t need as much energy so expandable heads are a good choice - the bigger, the better.  And make sure your bow and accessories are well camouflaged, unless you’re hunting from a ground blind, which is the preferred method for bowhunters.  Decoys will also help distract a bird’s attention.


Looking for a real change of pace?  Crossbows offer an appealing compromise between gun and bow.  You get all the same excitement of an up-close and personal encounter, without the need to draw at the last minute.  That affords a bit more leeway with regard to camo and concealment.  Crossbow use has grown immensely in recent years but their use is still limited in some areas so do some homework into which states allow crossbows for turkeys.

Don’t worry if you can’t complete your Grand Slam in one season.  There’s no time limit. Whether it takes a lifetime, or merely several seasons, you’ll get the same satisfaction when it’s done.  And in the mean time, it will give you a little something extra to look forward to between seasons.