LANSING — Al Stewart, one of the state’s wildlife biologists and Upland Game Bird Specialists for the MIchigan Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment was announced as the first person on record to complete a World Slam for trapping wild turkeys.
The World Slam is awarded to anyone who traps all five subspecies of the North American wild turkey: Eastern, Gould’s, Osceola, Merriam’s and Rio Grande; and the Ocellated wild turkey, found only in Mexico.
The DNRE reports that while many hunters have accomplished the feat shooting wild turkeys, Stewart is the only person to date to achieve this goal for trapping, according to National Wild Turkey Federation records.
A resident of Bath, Mich., Stewart completed his World Slam during a trip to the jungles of Campeche, Mexico. The NWTF honored Stewart and his accomplishment with a framed print during the 10th National Wild Turkey Symposium in Shepherdstown, West Virg.
“The NWTF has recognized hunters who earned their World Slam for turkey hunting, so it is only fitting to have an accolade for a person who is partly responsible for helping ensure hunters have wild turkeys to pursue,” said James Earl Kennamer, Ph.D., NWTF’s chief conservation officer in a press release. “Al represents many other biologists who have trapped and transferred these turkeys, but he’s the only one who has reached this level.”
Stewart is a longtime DNRE employee who has also served on the NWTF’s Technical Committee for years. He also has trapped wild turkeys in many locations for restoration and research purposes.
“As our upland game bird specialist, Al has played an integral role in restoring Michigan’s wild turkey populations, and the DNRE has long valued his turkey-trapping skills,” said DNRE Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason in the press release. “We’re proud of his record-setting accomplishment and the well-deserved recognition by the NWTF.”
Stewart also received the NWTF’s prestigious Henry S. Mosby Award— named for the man whose research with wild turkeys in the mid-1900s set the standard for their management—in 2009. In 1992 George H. Bush and Congressman Dave Camp presented Stewart with the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Award for his work on a barrier-free viewing and hunting platform at the Maple River State Game Area. In 1998, the NWTF Michigan State Chapter awarded him the Outstanding Conservationist Award.
The NWTF is a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is the conserving of the wild turkey and preserving the nation’s hunting heritage. Through partnerships with state, federal and provincial wildlife agencies, the NWTF and its members have helped restore wild turkey populations across the country, spending more than $331 million to conserve 15.9 million acres of habitat for all types of wildlife.
The DNRE is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s environment, natural resources, and related economic interests for current and future generations.
A bevy of topics can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnre. — L.P.