Interview with Turkey Hunter who finished the US Super Slam

Chip Davis started hunting turkeys on his family farm in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1985, when he was 15 years old. In 1992, he began pursuing his first Grand Slam race, which involved bagging a turkey from all four U.S.-Eastern subtypes, Merriam’s, Osceola, and Rio Grande – a success he has repeated since then in many cases, sometimes in a single season.

Next Davis embarked on a truly epic quest: harvesting a ripe swallow in each of the 49 U.S. states that have wild turkeys. Known as a U.S. “Super Slam”, this success took Davis 30 years to complete, and he completed it with a successful hunt this spring in West Virginia. The most exhausting ending of the six turkey strokes recognized by the National Wild Rooster Federation places Davis in elite society. According to the NWTF, only 14 hunters have completed and registered a U.S. Super Slam in their database. Davis will be 15th. We had a chance to talk to Davis late last month. Here are our questions and answers.

What made you want to go for a Super Slam in the first place?

When I first heard about it, in the 1990s, we didn’t even call it a Super Slam. It was simply called shooting a rooster in any state that had one. I had no knowledge of anyone who had ever done it, which was part of the appeal. But most of all, I was enjoying the turkeys, enjoying the ride, and learning something new on each trip, so I fell into my own cab.

picture of hunter with turkeys
David, with a pair of toms he got in Hawaii. Chip Davis

Have you ever had the desire to surrender?

Oh, absolutely. Many times I have thought, Why did I choose such a difficult passion? But I think successful people, whatever goal they choose, are persistent. Whether hunting turkey, building a business or raising a family, the principles are the same. I could do this because I kept it, not because I’m a great turkey hunter. I’m not. If there is one message I want to convey, it is to encourage people to get off the couch and pursue their adventure, no matter what it is.

You have done a lot of hunting on public land. What are you looking for when looking for good public terrain for turkeys?

The only difference between public and private land is the pressure. If you can find a way to relieve pressure on public land, it’s the same as private hunting. This can certainly mean passing miles on the heels of boots, getting back there, but sometimes it means identifying that overlooked and dark place that looks like it doesn’t actually belong to a particular national forest or WMA. Study your maps and then take a few minutes to verify the truth when you get there. If I am hunting a large public area, like Mark Twain National Forest, I will pass by and then stop and call. If I do not see a turkey or hear a swallow, I continue. Same thing on private land: I wasted no time knocking on a door if I did not see a turkey in place.

Surely you have knocked on many doors: What was your most successful question?

On this trip, I had three or four days locked up for a hunt in Oklahoma. Early in the morning, I shot a bird at dawn and an hour later I was on my way to Kansas. I saw turkeys and knocked on some doors in southern Kansas, but the answer was no. That afternoon I saw a strutter, so I stopped. “Sir, my name is Chip Davis, I’m on a quest to shoot a turkey in 49 states and I noticed a devouring right here.” He said he usually does not let anyone shoot, so I thanked him, turned around and started walking towards my truck. Then he said, “I’m telling you what, what you are doing is kind of intriguing. I’ll let you hunt this afternoon. “The spinner was right around the corner. I went in, 15 minutes, boom – I got my Kansas bird.

picture of the hunter with the turkey
Davis, with a beautiful Merriam tomb taken in Arizona. Chip Davis

So many states in one day – did this happen often?

No, but it happened more than once. One of my best memories was Dakotas. I shot two birds in North Dakota before breakfast, then made a two-hour drive in South Dakota and shot a bird early in the afternoon. So I had a chance to shoot four birds in two states in one day. That evening I crossed over another bird because it would have been a 60 meter shot and I’m glad I did: I picked it up on its feet and came back the next morning in daylight and knocked it down.

I’m sure they were not that easy. What was your hardest hunt?

I thought I was going to die in Nebraska. I was walking through the snow to my knees and could not believe it, but the turkeys were actually swallowing. I did not get a bird that day, but I woke them up, so I knew exactly which tree to look for in the morning. I got back in my truck, but never cut off my old tracks. These were the first days, without GPS, just a compass. Finally at 10pm, I felt nothing from mid-thigh down and got lost. I do not know where I was. I had debated with my compass, but then decided to trust them and ended up walking through the woods within 120 feet of my truck at 1:15 a.m., not even trying to get up and shoot in daylight. the next morning. Instead, I drove to a large box store and bought a knee-deep heater and boots, and within about 45 minutes of returning to the grain tree, I shot a swallow.

Where was your most picturesque hunt?

Oregon. I was in a 70-acre meadow that was covered with wild blue flowers, beautiful surrounding mountains. A swallow was coming, but he was still 120 feet away. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the movement and thought that maybe another turkey had slipped. But, no, it was a big cow deer with this little calf, with swaying knees that could not have filled more than a day. They stopped 30 steps in front of me. The calf fed me for a few minutes and then I saw them walking in the woods. I was so caught up in all this that I had forgotten the turkey and when I looked back it was 40 feet away. I barely had time to start jumping and killing. He was fully inserted and I almost left him on the trail of the place where those deer had been staying.

You were constantly feeding on the street. So where did you find the best and worst food?

At risk of driving many people crazy, the worst food is north of the Mason-Dixon line. The farther you go north, the worse the food gets. The best is from this hole-in-the-wall seafood place in Alexandria, Louisiana, called Robbie G’s, which serves the absolute best shrimp I have ever had, and I am a lobster connoisseur. I ordered 5 5 and then another pa 5 and then ordered another 10 10 after that! Whenever I’m within 30 miles, I get off the road to eat there.

Which country has the most talkative turkeys?

hunter with wild rooster
Davis, with a beautiful Rio Grande swallow in Nevada. Chip Davis

Everywhere with Rio Grandes – but especially Nevada. On an hour-long hunt there, I heard maybe a thousand swallows. There were 30 to 40 turkeys swallowing, and they were over and over, just screaming.

The most stupid turkeys?

There are some turkeys that are lighter than others, but I do not think I have ever met a dumb. Earlier this year, in Hawaii, I had a very smart turkey followed by a very light turkey (pictured above). The swallows were eaten, and I was in this bird more than four hours before I finally got it. It was a really fun, challenging hunt. Next, my friend and I were sitting at the truck door, eating a sandwich, planning where to hunt the next morning when we heard a swallow 80 feet away. I laid out the sandwich, picked up my vest, walked 40 feet into the woods, sat down and called once. That tomi walked on a small ridge and was practically blowing leaves at my feet. I wanted to make him swallow at least once. So I knocked and, of course, he swallowed. Was he a dumb turkey? I think I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

I bet I can guess which country has the smartest turkeys.

Hands down, the hardest I’ve ever shot in my life are here at my home in Mississippi. I could include Alabama in it. Public land turkeys across the south are tough because there are a lot of people following them.

What was the craziest thing that happened to you on the street?

picture of hunter with wild rooster
Davis got this Rhode Island Chip Davis

In Rhode Island I paid a toll fee to shoot an 8,000-acre block of land a day. I got there and it was more like 800 acres. In every other tree there was a sign “No Violation”, and I did not hear any turkeys. So, I texted the guy and he came back, saying, “If you do not like that property, try this,” along with another address. Returning to my truck, I actually heard a turkey swallowing and I was able to call Tom and kill him. So I left Rhode Island and drove to Maryland to hunt with a friend. The next morning, in the middle of the day, I’m calling a swallow when I get a message from the boy in Rhode Island who knew I had already gotten the NEW bird. He says, “Sorry SOB. I sent you directions to my other country, and now I see your truck there. I have a number of friends, and we’re going to come into the woods and grab your a **.” I would send him a picture of my location where I was sitting in Delaware, but I thought better of it. Instead, I texted him, “Catch me if you can, you guessed it ****.” I admit I felt bad for anyone who was driving that white pickup truck in Rhode Island that morning.

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