NRA President Jim Porter continued his turkey-hunting odyssey, traveling on to Texas after successful outings in Florida and Alabama. The life-long hunter and turkey enthusiast from Birmingham, AL, was pressing ahead in his ambitious quest to collect the American “grand slam,” which includes one mature gobbler from each of the four subspecies commonly present in the United States. To go with his Osceola (Florida) and eastern (Alabama) toms, he arrived in the Lone Star State determined to collect one of its prolific Rio Grande longbeards.
Although the 3,000-acre ranch near Pearsall, Texas, where Porter journeyed was known to be loaded with turkeys, that certainly didn’t guarantee and easy hunt. After joining forces with local guides on the during the first two legs, this time the NRA president got some intel on where turkeys might be from ranch manager Jody Payne, and after that was hunting on his own.
Before sunrise, Mr. Porter made his way through the ranch’s brushy mesquite-laced habitat to a blind from which he heard some distant gobbles, but never did see the turkeys. Later, Porter set up shop in another blind, and had a big group of 20 turkeys come to where he could see them, but then he had to be patient and wait about 1½ hours for a clean shot at the boss gobbler.
And what a gobbler it was! As it turned out, Porter had bagged a double-bearded Rio,the longer beard measuring 10 inches and the shorter one a respectable eight inches. The 20-pound turkey’s spurs were 1¼ inches and he was estimated at 3-4 years old.
This means that the NRA president has killed three different gobblers from three different subspecies in three different states in a span of five days. This is a tremendous achievement from a man whose aim is to bring awareness to the fact that, along with everything else it stands for, NRA is a hunter’s organization.
Next month Jim Porter will head for the high mountain country of northern New Mexico in an attempt to put the finishing touch, a Merriam’s gobbler, on a remarkable grand slam in the making. In the meantime we’ll be back with more details of this hunting milestone, and you can bet American Hunter will be along to cover the final, exciting leg.