Indiana Whitetail Grand Slam

In sporting events such as golf and tennis, the term “grand slam” is used to refer to someone who has won (in the case of golf) all of the major events, or in the case of tennis four specific and prestigious events.  However, in the case of whitetail deer, the Grand Slam means someone who takes a deer with all five of the legal methods to harvest game:

  1. Bow
  2. Muzzleloader
  3. Rifle
  4. Pistol
  5. Shotgun

To do so is exceedingly difficult, which makes this story that much more touching and incredible.  I want to tell you about Tony – Tony is a retired peace officer who had a dream to hit the Whitetail Grand Slam and take five deer in a season.  With the Indiana whitetail population being extremely healthy, the bag limits are set at 1 buck, and 383 does per year.  Since Tony is a holder of the now no longer issued Lifetime deer license, he is able to avoid paying an individual tag fee for each animal.

You’re probably thinking right now that this isn’t a big deal, so what?  Five deer in a year?  Well, I want you to mee Tony:

In 1993, Tony was shot in the line of duty while serving as a Sheriff in Henry County, Indiana.  He clearly hasn’t let that slow him down, or keep him from reaching for his personal goals and dreams.  That picture there is the first doe he took this year, with a T/C Encore muzzleloader.  I’ll let him tell you the story:

I was drawn to participate in a handicap-only deer hunt at Crane Naval Base. We drove the back roads until a doe was spotted at 0850. The 250 grain polymer tipped saboted bullet left the muzzle of my 26″ barrel Encore at 2150 f.p.s. Three 50 grain pellets of Hodgdon 777 sent it swiftly to her shoulder. At 24 yards the impact velocity was high resulting in a clean entrance and impressive exit wound to her off shoulder. After a short run she toppled to the leafy forest floor. My helper dragged the 80 pound doe to the road and field dressed her. Number one was in the bag.

Deer number two was taken with a with a Horton/PSE crossbow at about 15 yards.  Not being much of an archer myself, I’m always impressed with people’s ability to hit anything, much less a moving, semi-camouflaged target – however, Tony was able to bring his down with a single, well placed shot.

Deer number three is my favorite one, because it encapsulates the excitement and marksmanship necessary to be a successful hunter.  Using a T/C Encore in 7-30 Waters,Tony brought down Doe 3.  Here are his words:

22 Nov. 1635 found me sitting in a Double Bull blind on a picked soybean field’s edge. The Jefferson County day was crisp and cool. We had watched several does and a couple of bucks in the distance for two hours. None would approach to within shooting range. Suddenly my partner pointed to our left. All of the deer I could see were to our right. He insisted that I look left. From behind us a doe burst from the wood line at a dead run and made a bee line into the field. Quickly my T/C Contender was swung towards her. At 47 yards she skidded to a stop and presented a broadside view. The Simmons 2X32 found her chest and I started pressing the trigger. As the hammer fell she hunched low to spring forward to escape. The 120 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip left the muzzle of the 14″ 7-30 Waters at 2437 f.p.s. and streaked toward her. Her heart was now considerably lower than it was when I triggered the shot. The bullet struck her withers and destroyed the near shoulder as it passed through the spine and exited the off-shoulder. She dropped as if struck by lightning.

Number 4 and 5 were taken on the same day, with two different guns.  The first of the day, November 29th was taken with a pistol caliber carbine using .454 Casull rounds.  Another T/C gun, the .454 is pushing (in this load) a 240 grain Hornady XTP around 2300 FPS – a deerslayer if there ever was one.  Deer Number 4 went down to this round with a single shot; the first and only buck of the Grand Slam, coming in around 140 pounds.  Number 5, the last and final deer was to be harvested with a shotgun – and it was an impressive shot.  At 100 yards, the Remington 1 oz sabot round dropped the last doe – the fifth and final deer taken, and the completion of Tony’s goal to get the “Whitetail grand slam”.

Now, I imagine that some of you might be reading this and wondering what he’s going to do with all that venison?  Before anyone levels and accusation of wastefulness, each deer is going for a specific purpose.  Tony can eat a single deer in a year, so he’ll keep one.  The other four are going to people in need of food; 1 to a homeless veteran’s shelter, 1 to a battered woman’s shelter – all four deer not being used by Tony went those in the greatest need.

After returning from the hunt, Tony has apparently taken ill, so please pass any well-wishes on to me I’ll make sure he receives them.

I will leave the last word to Tony, who sums up the experience much better than I can:

[H]ow many hunters have taken 5 deer in 27 days with such a diverse collection of tools? Also, to do all that while sitting paralyzed in a wheelchair is a reminder that “I Cannot”, is not in my vocabulary. It is not what I cannot do, but what I can with His help. 

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