CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Chris Walls had done most everything a turkey hunter could hope to do. He’d won calling championships. He’d traveled to other states to hunt. He’d called gobblers in for others.

About the only thing the 32-year-old West Virginian hadn’t done was complete the so-called “Grand Slam” - one gobbler from each of the four American turkey subspecies. Now, with a single pull of the trigger, Walls could rectify that situation. If only those blasted birds would come a little closer ...

“The Slam was something I’d wanted to do for a long time,” Walls said. “It ended up taking me 18 years.”

He first dreamed about it as a 14-year-old growing up in McDowell County. He’d just bagged his first gobbler - the Eastern subspecies, naturally - not far from his hometown of Roderfield. The turkey-hunting bug bit hard. Walls threw all his youthful enthusiasm into learning about the pastime.

He spent countless hours practicing calls. He spent time in the woods, learning countless little lessons about stealth and woodcraft. He won calling contests. He parlayed his growing reputation as a caller and hunter into invitations to hunt in other West Virginia counties and in different states.

He figured the second leg of his Slam might come in Texas. “I went there in 1995 to hunt for Rio Grande turkeys,” he recalled. “I was a pro staff member for a call manufacturer, and they invited the whole staff to go out there and hunt. Problem was, the turkeys hadn’t yet migrated out of the river bottoms and onto the ranch where we were hunting. Not one of us got a bird that week.”

Walls’ second leg of the Slam came in 2003, when he traveled to South Dakota to hunt the Merriam’s subspecies. He got one. A year later, he bagged an Osceola gobbler in Florida.

With three legs of the Slam tucked safely away, Walls figured it wouldn’t be long before he got another chance at a Rio Grande bird. He ended up waiting six years.

His chance came a few weeks ago, when he returned to the Lone Star State. This time, the turkeys were ready to do business.

“Compared to Eastern birds, Rios are a little strange to hunt,” Walls explained. “When they fly down from the roost, they tend to stay quiet and head toward water or food. Your best bet is to set up on known travel corridors.”

The gobbler turned out to be a monster - 22 pounds, with an 11-inch beard and 1 1/2-inch spurs.

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