Tennessee native Kylie McCrea started shooting when she was 3 and began hunting at 5. Her dad owned an outfitting company, so it seemed natural that she learned and took to the tradition of hunting early. Ten years later, she has tagged deer, turkey, hogs, blackbuck, Axis, black bear elk and a few raccoons. She has hunted from Canada to Texas and from Colorado to Tennessee.
Sponsored by Remington Arms Company
One of the most impressive feats she has accomplished is 7 Grand Slams in the turkey world. That’s right – 7 of them! She has amassed her slams from hunting in Florida, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina.
Kylie isn’t the only girl in the family who hunts. Her younger sister, Taryn, hunts with her and her little sister, Caitlyn, is learning. The girls, along with their parents, can be seen at sporting classics and outdoor shows with their shop called “Country Girls Outdoors.” They design and sell apparel that promotes a hunting and family-oriented outdoor lifestyle.
This year, Kylie will be spending time hunting on the family’s lease and in Texas. She’s thinking about learning more about nutrition and fitness as a vocation.
We asked Kylie, who shoots Remington shotguns for her turkey hunting these days, to tell us about a memorable turkey hunt out of the 7 Grand Slams.
Here’s what she had to say …
You never know how bad you want something until it feels like it’s almost out of reach. Who knew that on my hunt in Nebraska I would have a crazy encounter while spot-and-stalking a turkey?
It was a cool spring day when I started to lose hope in completing my first single season grand slam … I had 2 turkeys under my belt, but neither of them were single season. A few days before, I started off the hunt with harvesting a Rio. I already had my Eastern and Osceola, so now all I needed was my Merriam’s.
We went out that morning to a place where we roosted some birds the night before. Once we got out of the truck, all my nerves calmed and I felt ready to hunt. We positioned ourselves under a cedar tree facing a field where we thought the turkeys would fly down. The sun slowly came up and that’s when the toms started gobbling. There’s nothing like watching the woods wake up and seeing everything come to life. A short while later, they all flew down, and it was right where we were hoping they would land.
We called for a bit and gave it a few minutes for the sun to come up completely. Then it was my time to go after them; it was my first time using a MOJO Scoot-N Shoot turkey decoy. I crawled out from underneath the tree and crouched down behind the MOJO … I had watched a few videos of people hunting with this decoy, so I started moving the tail fan around, trying to show off and make the dominant tom move toward me. I got about 15 yards from this group of turkeys when I stopped moving forward. I was in awe; it was such a crazy experience that I froze up and forgot that I was trying to shoot a turkey. By the time I realized what I was doing, and raised up my shotgun, the toms had moved to the other side of the fence, which we weren’t allowed to hunt. I felt really down and disappointed in myself, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
As we headed back to camp it started to drizzle, which made me even more concerned about getting my Merriam’s. It was our last day and it had started to rain, so the odds were not in my favor. We headed back out to glass and see if we could find any turkeys. We started going up the side of a hill and that’s when we saw a nice tom with pretty white tips heading to the bottom of a draw.
I hopped out of the truck; grabbed my shotgun, decoy, range finder and took off after it. It was about a 700-yard stalk and I had to bend over the whole time. I’ll tell you what, my back was hurting by the time I got down into the draw. Once I got to the bottom, I stopped and took a minute to locate the turkey and range it. It was something I’ve never seen happen before – the turkey had perched itself up on a brush pile and by the looks of it, it was injured in some way.
I put my rangefinder back around my neck and that’s when things got a little crazy. I could hear panting to my left, so I looked to see what could be making that noise. That’s when I realized that the reason the tom was so alert was because there was a coyote hanging out around where we were and it was running at me. I knew it was my last chance at a Merriam’s, so I did what I thought would give me the best chances at getting that bird.
I quickly laid down my shotgun, laid the MOJO in my lap and lunged towards the coyote – while flapping my arms and attempting to gobble. I guess that’s when the coyote realized I wasn’t a turkey and took off. When he turned to run away, he was so close that the mud from where he slid flew up on me.
Although in shock, with my heart racing, I realized I still needed to get a tag on a bird, so I grabbed my gun and got back behind the decoy. When I looked up, the gobbler had moved to the other side of the brush pile. I crawled about 50 more yards, putting me about 50 yards away from the tom. I raised up my shotgun, took a deep breath in and took my shot. He flopped into a mud hole and then came to a complete stop; that’s when it hit me.
I had just completed my first single season grand slam. I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to experience that at the young age of 11 years old … and now, I have a crazy and cool story to tell.
Kylie McCrea says, “I’m so thankful for my amazing dad and mom, and how they’ve made this all possible for me. All the glory goes to God, I know that He has a plan for my life. Even when I feel like sometimes things are never gonna happen, I have to remember God works things out perfectly.” Watch for more stories about Kylie and her family’s hunting adventures, sponsored by Remington Arms Company.
Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. She is a contributing editor at "SHOT Business," and her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com. View all posts by Barbara Baird