Turkey Slam Completed - South Dakota

Ralph and I were invited to head out west to South Dakota for some Merriam turkey hunting with some friends from the hunting industry, Byers Media Team. Toby & Ken had us out there a few years ago and we had a blast! That was the year we had a pile of Jakes molesting our decoys and I shot one off of the hen decoy (Hazel) with my shotgun!! Well, since then I have still been trying to finish my turkey slam with my Hoyt and all I needed was a Merriam!!

We headed out west on a mission! Ralph has his slam, so I was up first! We got to camp about 1 p.m. and Toby took us out to where they had been seeing a bunch of birds roosting. We picked out a spot to put up our Ameristep Choice ground blind and made sure everything was ready for that afternoon’s sit. We went back to camp, unloaded the truck, and changed into our Realtree and headed out!

We sat in the blind for a few hours before we saw our first turkey! We were kind of wondering if they weren’t going to show up! We started to hear a few different gobblers gobbling in almost all directions from where we were sitting! We kept hearing one of them that sounded like he was extremely close, only when he finally came down the hill, he was much further than we had anticipated! We had set out a new DHD decoy that had head and tail fan movement and I was making the fan drop and come back up, just like a strutting turkey. This got the gobblers attention and he started heading toward us! He was a couple hundred yards away when we first spotted him and he came in pretty quick. There was a cow about 15 yards behind my decoy, walking towards the gobbler and when the gobbler went into full strut, it startled the cow and she walked away!

The Gobbler came up to the decoy in full strut, Ralph was filming him and could see him before I could. I drew my Hoyt Vicxen back before I could see the gobbler! When I was able to see him, he was in full strut and every single one of his feathers was standing out straight! It was beautiful, but then I thought, where am I going to aim on all of those feathers!! Well, he thumped the decoy with one of his wings and was facing away from me, so I took the back end shot! I thought I missed at first, then he jumped and just walked away!! We had turkeys all over the place roosting and we had to wait until dark to get out of there! We couldn’t find my arrow in the dark and figured we would find it in the morning. We went back to camp and told everyone I missed.

The next morning was slow and all of the birds went in a different direction. Ralph and I waited until all the turkeys had left the area and got out of the blind to locate my arrow. Well, instead of finding my arrow, we found blood and trailed it right to my gobbler about 70 yards away!!! I was so excited!! Here I thought I had missed, and watching the footage on the little LCD screen didn’t help any! We figured we were going to pick up my arrow and be done! The gobbler ended up about 20 pounds with a 9 3/4” beard and 1 1/4” spurs!! I believe it was the biggest gobbler taken in camp that trip and it completed my Turkey Slam with my Hoyt!!

It started raining that afternoon and continued for the next 2 days!! Pouring!! We did try to get Ralph a turkey, but to no avail!! Sorry Honey!!

Hunter: Vicki Cianciarulo

Cameraman: Ralph Cianciarulo