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Illinois Outdoors

Illinois archer bags Grand Slam

May 25, 2008 at 09:46 AM

All four birds were exciting.

But the gobbler that stood out most during Chris Brackett’s recent Grand Slam of turkey hunting was the one he already knew best.

“The hardest turkey and the best in the world is the Eastern we’ve got here,” said Brackett of Glasford.

To complete a Grand Slam, a hunter must bag all four North American turkey species. That’s tough enough since the four species are spread across the U.S. and because turkeys are such wary critters.

But Brackett upped the ante by deciding he wanted to pull off a slam in one spring while bowhunting without a blind and on camera. Bowhunting for turkeys is particularly difficult because shot range is limited and because the act of drawing a bow back to shoot can spook turkeys.

“I just wanted to keep pushing the limits,” said Brackett, who has made a name bowfishing for Asian carp on the Illinois River. “I wasn’t getting any younger and just figured I wanted to give it a shot.”

That’s why in late March Brackett drove to Florida to chase Osceola turkeys, the Grand Slam species commonly viewed as toughest to harvest. Not so for Brackett, who shot a jake and a 21-pound gobbler with a 10.5-inch beard while hunting near Ocala, Fla. with guide Al Roberts.

Illinois Outdoors

Actually Brackett had it relatively easy on his first two hunts, including a trip to Texas in early April. Not that he didn’t have moments of doubt out west. While hunting in strong winds the first morning he missed a Rio Grande gobbler at 20 yards.

“I thought, ‘There goes my chance,’” Brackett said.

Instead, he lured three more mature gobblers and 15 jakes into his decoys (provided by Brackett arrowed the biggest of the bunch, a 23-pounder with a 10.5-inch beard and 1 1/8-inch spurs. Then he watched while the other birds “ran in and started beating up the bird I shot.”

“We had 18 turkeys in front of us freaking out and jumping up and down and losing their minds,” Brackett said.

Illinois Outdoors

A similar scene played out 10 days ago in south-central South Dakota, the final stop on Brackett’s quest. Hunting in an almost treeless abandoned farm, Brackett spotted a group of Merriam’s turkeys in the distance. To lure them in he belly-crawled towards the birds, stopping to set up a gobbler decoy with a life-like tail fan.

“As soon as the turkeys saw that tail fan, the three gobblers came running and attacked the decoy,” Brackett said. “I let them beat it up for about a minute and a half and then I shot one.”

That hefty bird had an 11-inch beard and 1.75-inch spurs. And it capped a whirlwind spring for Brackett.

Illinois Outdoors

Even so, the hunt closest to home was the one that had him sweating the most.

Following three fruitless days in the woods near the Mount Pleasant, Iowa, home of tele-hunters Lee and Tiffany Laskosky, Brackett was getting nervous.

That changed on his final day after he set up between two groups of gobblers. With the rising sun still glowing, a 24-pound bird with an 11-inch beard strutted toward the decoys. Brackett estimated the bird came more than 200 yards before he shot the gobbler, still strutting, at 27 yards.

After three months of chasing turkeys across the U.S., he was left with renewed appreciation for our Midwestern gobblers.

“Our turkeys are harder to fool and they shake the ground when they gobble,” Brackett said. “The others are fun, but there’s no place like home.”

Illinois Outdoors

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Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 08:09 AM

Wow, jealousy at its finest. Give em a break….it’s hard to grand slam no matter who you are. Does anyone who accomplishes a major feat get any credit here or do they always get the “grand slam” from readers?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 08:31 AM

Hey Joe D, no jealousy here.  I know the facts…about Mr Brackett. I am a successful hunter myself and I follow Illinois and other state game laws.  Like I said above, its great that any hunter accomplished this but when you have a past like the above mentioned hunter, I don’t think its right.  So that is my reason behind the “Grand Slam”. Jealousy is not my motive, following appropriate game laws is my gig and if you can’t follow them stay the hell out of the woods. Next time you are under his BS spell ask him about his multiple county gun tag that included Peoria and Pike county.  I am sure Illinois doesn’t issue those.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 09:17 AM

Illbowhunter, if you know something that we don’t know, so be it. But if this guy hasn’t been ticketed, one should be careful what you put in writing. I’m not under his “BS spell”, in fact I’ve never met the guy nor do I know him. But if you were to ask J. Lampe how much hate mail he gets EVERY time he write’s an article about another hunter’s accomplishments, he’ll tell you the same.

I also hunt by the book and have a wall full of trophy’s. Some people who see them are enthused and compimentary, others just seeth under their skin….what’s that about??? Hunting should be a sport/hobby and maybe a business, but not a shame game.

Anyway, not to turn this into a hate board, I appeciate your reply and wish you a great season!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 09:53 AM

Illbowhunter, I had to delete your first post because it contained statements that were possibly libelous. I don’t want to censor comments, but libel is one thing we have to really watch for. That and curse words or calling the Gov. unprintable names. As for the amount of hate mail about story subjects Joe D., yes, some people generate fair amounts.

Posted by Jeff Lampe on 05/28 at 10:40 AM

no problem Mr Lampe,  I have a hard time when it comes to individuals with a jaded past but will for now on keep comments to myself.  I have no problems giving credits to individuals who accomplish things like taking a monster they have chased for a couple years or the youth that harvests his first deer or like a 94 year old hunter like Fort Cowan who still enjoys hunting as much as he did when he was a kid.
I think hunting to Brackett is a “fame game”.  It is all about numbers.  The one thing that seperates him from the professionals (Greg Miller, Lee Lakosky, Terry Drury)is his attitude.  They are passionate, he is not.  Ya want to see someone who is a true professional, I had the opportunity to hunt with Brad Farris, truely an accomplished hunter and there is no question why he is out there doing what he does.  He loves hunting.  Its not a numbers game or a game to show people how great of a hunter he is.  I am sure Brackett is a good hunter but I think his morales and ethics suck.  Just pick up a Matthews catalog.  60 pass thrus, too bad they were all carp.  Joe D, hope I didn’t get under your skin too bad, appreciate your comments and hope you have a great season too, I can’t wait to get out there.  It is what I live for not fame.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 02:00 PM

I have to agree completely with Illbowhunter. The story on this “grand slam” is a joke. The only thing it says is “LOOK AT ME” Also, ask anybody with half a brain in the Peoria area and they will laugh at this incredible “feat.  Also, go by their booth at the deer classic and you will feel like you are in some other planet…. a planet far away from the values that most hunters hold.

Also, people like terry drury, michael waddell, ect. give hunting a bad name.  They make their tv shows and show up on some farm they’ve never even seen before and shoot a monster buck that they paid $5,000 for.  Hunting is a past time of mankind, and now it is so d*mn commercialized from these hunters making the hunting all about the big bucks. Focus on what hunting really is people! and when you do focus, you will realize it’s not about some stupid grand slam.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 07:42 PM

Commercialized??? Baseball, football, basketball, etc., all sports and all very big bucks, and very commercialized,so what! Why not hunting? Very few people in the hunting industry make “big bucks”. I think a grand slam is very difficult and it is a sport! What about fishing??? Talk about commercialized and big bucks! It’s always sour when you hear about a hunter doing a difficult feat. How many are complaining about Michael Jordan? Not many. It’s a sport for cying out loud, get over the jealousy. Next you’re going to rip Jeff Lampe for making money on writing about hunting….jeeez.

Everyone I know in peoria will think a grand slam is something to be proud of.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 08:31 PM

I disagree with V.  Anyone in the Peoria area that knows this dude knows its all about him and not the task.  I have 10+ P&Y;bucks on the wall and have killed a few elk with my bow and I don’t walk around going “Gee, look at me I am a great hunter”.
I also don’t put my picture up in every archery shop from here to Canada.  I do it because I am passionate about it not for notority. I have never entered anything into a book and never will.  Save the paper for people say for instance the Double Bull Archery guys, local Peoria guys, moved to MN, had an idea and turned into one of the largest ground blind manufactorers in the world.  Save the outdoor sports section for humble people not for people like Chris Brackett.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/28 at 11:43 PM

I would just like to add that I don’t even live in the Peoria area and the name Chris Brackett doesn’t bring about conversation of morality and ethics.  It is usually about financial gains and the hunting opportunities given to him because of those.  So, when I read articles about these types of people shooting grand slams - I am almost disgusted.  I would much rather read an article about the person that has worked extremely hard for a long time to be able to afford just the opportunity to accomplish a grand slam by traveling around for 3 months chasing turkeys.
And the comment left by “b” about his booth at the classic - I agree - was that booth about hunting?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/29 at 01:07 PM

Hey Illbowhunter, just a FYI, Last year I had multiple county gun tags which included a either sex and doe tag for each county.  It happens.  I actually have no idea how I got mine.  But they showed up in the mail.  It was probably just a mistake by the one or two people that Blagobi*&# lets work at the DNR.

No comments on the topic at hand!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/29 at 02:35 PM

No kidding, booth was all about Chris. I could do a Grand Slam if I didn’t have a real job and had three months to do it.  I got news for the dude.  “Watch out’ there will be more people on the water chasing the elusive silver carp for the bucks it is bringing.  I got a buddy who is gonna do it right.  Its gonna be a class act.  Charging alot less than Brackett does. Already has a group of well know celebs booked who are gonna do a show for him. Keep your eyes out .

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/29 at 02:40 PM

Dude, “V”, Are you seriously asking why people weren’t upset about Michael Jordan in basketball? Or what is wrong about hunting being so commercialized? ..... You are comparing two completely different things. Professional basketball is about entertainment and men compeating against one another on a playing field.  Hunting is and always has been about getting away from the hussle and bussle of everyday life.  It is about the outdoors, nature, and having the chance to harvest an animal. It is not about selling DVDs, hunting shows, or people trying to make a name for themselves in the hunting world by making $$$$.  Perhaps you are one of those hunters that is willing to spend spend spend on whatever it takes to bag a monster buck just so you can boost your ego about your skills in the woods, but for the VAST majority of us (hunters), the “sport” is not about profits or recognition…it is about spending time with good buddies and getting out away from the city and into the peace and quiet of the woods.

Think of what hunting was 20 years ago….it was about a group of working guys taking some time out in the woods and having a good time. Today it is about expensive guide services, outfitters, and monster bucks. The bubble is going to burst sooner or later. Lets hope sooner.

Also, don’t tell me hunting to one person may think of hunting differently than another.  Ask the old timers what hunting was like 20 years ago, and you will get the right answer.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/29 at 06:07 PM

Dude, “B”, I was one of those “old timers” hunting 20+ years ago, so no need to tell me about how to have a good time in the woods. You’ve got it backwards. Basketball used to be about a group a friends hanging out and shooting hoops for a good time. Now it’s about $120.00 shoes, Jordan posters and so forth. FYI, 30 years ago while I was hunting, people used to congratulate someone when they took a wily old Tom or a monster buck because it was a real accompishment. Dude “B”, if you don’t think hunting is about entertainment, tell that to the 2 million viewers watching the “outdoor channel”. Wake up, it’s no different. What it boils down to is jealousy and Joe D nailed it, J. Lampe verified it and hunters like yourself like to blame your lack of homework and scouting for not consistantly bagging trophy quality animals ( and please spare me the “I have many Pope and Youngs, I just don’t like to have them scored garbage”). FYI, my hunting is not about spending time with boys in the woods like you mentioned, it’s about me hunting a hard to get animal. If you think I’m a jerk, answer me this: when is the last time you saw someone leave a “congratulation” after a story written about a hunter’s accomplishements?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/29 at 09:14 PM

Hey “V” shedhead here, I am the one that wrote about the P&Y;bucks on the wall, ya the ones I don’t enter in the books.  Its not about score for me or notority, I set out several years ago to harvest mature deer, not to brag about but for the challenge.  I grew up shooting for meat and the enjoyment of spending time in the woods.  I have grown up and now am passing it on to my children.  Hunting to me is a year round hobby.  I have spent the last couple months planting trees, creating food plots, etc, etc. I do it because I love it. I too give congradulations to people who harvest trophies.  Much to everyone’s dismay there isn’t a booner running around every tree in woods here in the great state of Illinois and if you connect on one you do deserve a pat on the back.  The point I was trying to make is that people like Chris Brackett have forgotten what is all about.  Its big bucks to them and as far as I am concerned it has tainted our sport we hold so sacred.  There are alot of great hunters in this area and they don’t run around placing pictures in every sports shop from here to Canada saying “Look at my 132 inch deer that weighed 225 pounds and I shot it with my Matthews DXT, it was my 63rd pass-thru”.  Lets face it Lampe has to write about something every Sunday.  I just hope it won’t be on Brackett. I want you to know that I have congradulated people on this website, Brad Hatterman’s deer and the guy who shot the silver turkey.  I will make sure I do it more often so I don’t get a jealousy complex.  Take it easy and just think in 5 more months we will be doing what we love the most, and thats huntin.  Good Luck…..

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/29 at 11:43 PM

I saw the article about the guy who shot the silver turkey, and boy was he slammed! You may have congratulated him, but he was punished by several readers for selling his trophy. If a guy wants to sell his kill, let him. Hunters are going to have to realize that we don’t conform to just one way. Some are trophy hunters, some hunt for the food, some for notority, we must accept that. I’ve think we’ve covered this topic well enough, so I won’t beat a dead horse on this Brackett issue. Good luck this season.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/30 at 08:42 AM

You have any questions or comments ? Here i am ask me !  First its slander to discredit another , so watch it. Second i do what i do with pictures , video and articles so i can share and keep this hunting thing going . I just want to say i have never been i trouble with the law and take pride in that, so when you say stuff about the tag things and the illegal thing, well thats wrong! i have never been in trouble and have never got a pike tag!!!!  If im not out here trying to set new acomplishment then who will ! who is some kid gonna look up to. I scraped and saved and paid for the whole turkey trip myself !!!!  FYI the outdoor industry doesnt pay all that well !  I have to say that i will be the one to take all the hate.i cant beleive all the hate you all have toward me and the comercialised hunting thing but,I bust my butt day in n day out and i dont have the luxury of havin a back up plan ! its all or nothing i try and push the limits of bowhunting- yes but in a good way! Its to make a kid like i was get his butt ,off the couch and go be proactive he may never get to do a slam but maybe he will do better in school than i did or chase his dream after everyone said he couldnt’  and go shoot a rio in texas !!!! You understand i drive my logoed out truck to inspire myself and other people , if i had saw a truck like that when i was a kid i would have wanted it and then i would have wanted to work hard to get it!!!! SO what im saying is email me call me but dont slander my name when you dont have anything but heresay!!!!  thank you to the guy that stood up for me , we need more of you around!!!!!  till next time——i guess you can beat up on me all you want , the bottom line is that i use it to fuel the fire ,so tell me i cant do some thing !!!!!!! Any call me a liar i can take it!!!!!! .  just remember i was working a sucky job at the postoffice that i hated then one day i decided to go chase my dream , so just because a guy has the b#lls to buck the system you hate him   >>>>> NICE!!!!!!!!!  Real inspiring

Posted by Chris Brackett on 10/06 at 11:22 AM

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