Article Date: Thursday, March 01, 2012
THE WHITETAIL SLAM
By Bob Humphrey
Sheep hunters first borrowed the term Grand Slam from baseball to recognize the accomplishment of taking one of each of the North American sheep recognized by the Boone & Crockett Club: Dall's, Rocky Mountain bighorn, Desert bighorn, and Stone's. Later, turkey hunters applied the term to taking each of the four recognized subspecies of North American wild turkey: eastern, Rio Grande, Merriam's, and Osceola. Now we have caribou slams, moose slams and even a Super Slam, coined by bowhunter Chuck Adams, the first to all of the North American big game species with a bow.
It long bothered me that despite their being North America's undisputed Number-One big game animal, white-tailed deer had no slam. So, in the mid 1990s I proposed a concept. A hunter could accomplish the White-tailed Deer Slam by taking at least one of each of the recognized subspecies of white-tailed deer.
After consulting various sources, I eventually narrowed my list down to a slight modification of the subspecies identified in White-tailed Deer: Ecology and Management. I chose this reference because it is the most comprehensive and is the one most familiar to both sportsmen and biologists alike. I modified their list slightly to fall more or less along state and provincial boundaries, and to lump similar subspecies occurring within a small geographic area.
I ultimately came up with the following eight:
Boreal - eastern Canada including New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario; south through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois; then east through Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland; and north up the coast through Maine.
Virginia - from Virginia west across West Virginia, and Kentucky; south through Tennessee and Mississippi; east through Alabama and Georgia; and north up the coast through the Carolinas to Virginia.
Osceola - Florida, including the panhandle, west across extreme southern Louisiana to the Gulf coast of Texas.
Central - Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and northern Louisiana, and the eastern third of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Texas - Texas, exc. Gulf Coast range of Florida whitetail; western two-thirds of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma; eastern half of New Mexico and Colorado.
Montana - Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas; Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan.
Columbia - Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Utah and British Columbia.
Coues - Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, and western Mexico.
The idea was published in a popular outdoor magazine, but languished until very recently, when a group of like-minded individuals came up with a remarkably similar concept.
Whitetail SLAM, LLC (www.WhitetailSLAM.com) recently launched a new multimedia platform to educate, honor, recognize and award North American whitetail hunters who join the quest for a Whitetail SLAM.
With the help of biologists Dr. Harry Jacobson and Dr. James Kroll, as well as Kip Adams and Brian Murphy from the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Whitetail SLAM identified eight distinct subgroups of whitetails based on unique biological, geographical and habitat characteristics, that offer a very different hunting experience. Their eight include the following:
Northern Woodlands Whitetail
Gulf Coast Whitetail
South Central Plains Whitetail
Desert Whitetail (Coues)
Their guidelines for accomplishing a Whitetail SLAM are simple and unpretentious: Hunters who harvest and register any legal buck from any four of the whitetail subgroup territories will complete a Whitetail SLAM. Registering any legal buck from all eight whitetail territories constitutes an Ultimate Whitetail SLAM. Past or future bucks qualify, and there is no minimum antler size required.
Anyone can join the Whitetail SLAM community by registering for free online. Members will receive an e- newsletter, digital magazine and chances to win gear in weekly drawings. Hunters who register at least one buck on www.WhitetailSLAM.com will additionally receive a print magazine, and will be able to sign up for free monthly online drawings to win hunts. Hunters can also create their own customized SLAM Page to showcase and share their bucks, their hunting stories and their personal achievements, and to connect and socialize with other SLAMMERS.
To learn more about the Whitetail SLAM experience, log on to www.WhitetailSLAM.com.