Outdoors grand slam: Turkey, crappie, morels & a shed antler

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Tom Fallucca said his first turkey was “text book.”

His whole getaway weekend was more like one for the history books with a rare spring grand slam of turkey, morel mushrooms, crappie and a shed antler.

His buddy Danny Unolt has a farm in Schuyler County. Unolt and Fallucca met while attending Western Illinois, where Fallucca majored in recreation. Unolt taught Fallucca hunting.

On a Friday morning in April, Unolt positioned himself for calling behind Fallucca and where the turkeys were roosting.

Unolt’s calling brought five toms out strutting in the fields.

“They were about 50 yards to my left,” said Fallucca, 25, an insurance broker from Mount Prospect. “He was calling for an hour, but they were hung up on a hen. They left after he did a gobbler call.

“But then this bird came in from the side. `Game over, 15-yard shot.’ ’’

The gobbler had a 9-inch beard and 20 mm spurs.

Well, with his turkey was down by 7:45 a.m., what was Fallucca to do for the rest of the weekend?

“We went for a victory breakfast, then went crappie fishing,’’ he said.

They usually do well for crappie on Argyle Lake. They caught enough to put the two in the grand slam.

“Saturday was free since we didn’t have to wake up early for turkey hunting,’’ Fallucca said.

It was a day for finding a few morels–“Some were kind of dried out, one was a nice good one.’’

He properly noted, “It goes good with deer steaks.’’

That put the three in the grand slam.

“Next day, Sunday, I was going home, a five-hour drive back,’’ Fallucca said. “Figured do one last morel check. I turned around in the field and, sure enough, there is a shed.

“It was a three-pointer [side], probably a 1 1/2-year old deer.”

Grand slam and his first shed.

“[The grand slam] t is still fresh,’’ Fallucca said. “Most weekends you say, `I have to do something.’ I don’t have to do anything.’’

He will have a fan mount of the turkey done by Dale Horton of Back Country Taxidermy Studio in Paddock Lake, Wis. Horton did Fallucca’s first deer, too.

“Weather was ridiculously good,’’ Fallucca said. “You couldn’t ask for a better day to take off work. It is hard being a weekend hunter.’’

WILD THINGS: Midewin Bison Expedition is Saturday at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. At least eight calves have been born. Shuttle buses leave every 15-20 minutes from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. from near Elwood city hall and near the Wilmington post office. Click here for details.

STRAY CAST: If Cubs baseball this year is like the beauty of wading the Kankakee River for smallmouth bass, Sox baseball is like the surprise of catching a longnose gar there. Guess which has a better chance of being an Illinois record (or winning the World Series).

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