According to Go Erie, Thompson has been pursuing this goal since 2013.
On April 21st he set out to finally shoot a gobbler in Arkansas, the final state he needed to cross off the list and a state he was unsuccessful in his time around.
“As soon as I squeezed the trigger, the bird began to flop, many emotions began to flood my body. My first thought was I actually did it! My eyes began to water as I began to reflect on what I had just accomplished.”
He went on to detail just how much effort goes into bagging a turkey in every state:
“I started thinking of all the experiences throughout the journey that led up to this exact moment.
The all-night drives, plane flights, nights sleeping alone in my truck, hours of looking at maps, scouting, money spent on licenses, phone calls and all of the kind-hearted people that I met along the way that helped contribute to my accomplishment.”
And of course, he couldn’t do it without family.
“I thought about my family. I knew they were all back home praying for my ‘good luck’ and hoping and waiting for my call.
I couldn’t wait to call my parents (Robert and Joyce) and girlfriend (Sidney) and tell them the good news. They have been my biggest supporters through my quest for my U.S. Slam. It was a feeling I will never be able to explain or duplicate.”
Over his hunting career, he estimates he has taken more than 300 turkeys across the United States. By the time spring turkey season opened in Pennsylvania on May 1st, Thompson had already bagged nine long-beards in other states with earlier hunting seasons, including Mississippi, Delaware and Arizona.
He’s hoping to shoot 10 more turkeys before the spring seasons wrap up in states surrounding Pennsylvania. He shot a nice gobbler May 1st in Michigan, opting to hunt there instead of in Pennsylvania on opening day when there would be more hunters sharing the woods.
In reflecting on his motivation to keep going and what he learned along the way, he summed it up with one sentence:
“When you know what you want, and you want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it.”