Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time:

Steve strikes out; ‘Slam’ chance ends

It’s a good thing I am not worried about getting another “Slam,” as I struck out in Florida. Still, all is well on this home front because my friend Rick Hardy, who is going after his first Slam, has already gotten two. He needs only the Merriam to complete his first Slam.

We will be heading out West April 6 to hunt opening day (April 9) in Wyoming. He should have his Merriam — and his Slam — come nightfall. Of course, it is called hunting, and anything can go wrong.

We have two stamps each for Wyoming, and should leave there with both tags punched. We will then leave for Kansas. Opening day there is April 13. Turkey season always opens on a Wednesday there, which is fine with me. Again two tags, except Rick Hardy got his two Rio’s last year hunting with the same outfitter.

We then head to the northern part of Nebraska, at North Platte, to hunt with Closman’s Outfitters. If you are ever going to hunt in Nebraska for a Merriam, you need to go to the northwest part of the state. That is the only place left in Nebraska that has true Merriam turkeys. The rest of the state is covered with hybrids, although when they restocked turkeys there back in the Seventies the Merriam is what they used.

Because the Rio and Eastern are also in Nebraska they soon bred with Merriam’s and now most are hybrids. I have hunted Nebraska, and see nothing but hybrids. That is very true if you hunt around the Republican River Basin. A hybrid counts for nothing toward a Slam, but tastes the same in the pan.

Nebraska’s gun season opens April 16, the same day it opens in Kentucky, but I have never learned how to be in two places at once. We then move on to hunt with the Rosebud tribe in South Dakota before closing out the western trip in Colorado.

Wish me luck, but most of all let’s hope Rick Hardy gets his Slam.

And please take a kid hunting.

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