John's Journal...

15 Yards or Less 50 Yards or More: The Toughest Ranges for Turkeys

What Happens Up Close   

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Knowing your distance from the turkey when you Click to enlargeprepare to take the shot and resisting the urge to shoot when the bird is too close or too far away drastically will increase your odds for taking a tom each time you hunt. This week, we’ll see how 15 yards or less and 50 yards or more are the toughest ranges for taking toms.

Most good turkey hunters know how their shotguns pattern at distances from 30 to 40 and even out to 50 yards. Each season I pattern all four of my turkey-hunting shotguns with several brands of shells and shot sizes from No. 4s to No. 7-1/2s. I’ve found that because each gun shoots a different shot size and often a different brand name better, I need to experiment with several types of shells to get the pattern I want to shoot from 20 to 40 yards. I pattern each gun every year for two Click to enlargereasons. Ammunition manufacturers come out with new turkey loads each season that I like to test. Too, I can’t remember from one Click to enlargeseason to the next which brand of shells and what shot size shoot best in each of my turkey guns.

A sportsman who has spent time patterning different types of shells can tell you almost exactly how many pellets he can put in the kill zone of a turkey’s head and neck from distances of 20 to 50 yards, depending on the type of shotgun he fires, from a standard 2-3/4-inch 12 gauge all the way up to a 10 gauge. However, a turkey hunter rarely patterns his gun at ranges from 5 to 15 yards. Often you’ll hear a turkey hunter say with pride, “I won’t miss if a gobbler comes within 15 yards or less of me.” But if you’re standing with a group of veteran gobbler chasers when a turkey hunter makes this comment, you’ll see most of them smile and walk-off without saying a word. They know the easiest shots to miss include the up-close and the personal ones.

Tomorrow: Why the Up-Close and Personal Shots Are the Easiest to Miss

Check back each day this week for more about "15 Yards or Less 50 Yards or More: The Toughest Ranges for Turkeys"

Day 1: That Turkey Out-Quicked Me
Day 2: What Happens Up Close
Day 3: Why the Up-Close and Personal Shots Are the Easiest to Miss
Day 4: When You Play With the Gobbler
Day 5: What Happens When You Take Long Shots


Entry 500, Day 2