John's Journal...

How to Miss a Turkey

Day 4: Not Seeing the Aiming Point Will Keep You from Bagging Your Turkey

Editor’s Note: You know two things about anyone who says he’s never missed a turkey - either he lies about everything, or he’s never hunted many turkeys. We all miss, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy the “Truth” videos that Will Primos of Primos Calls does, because he also shows all the misses in these videos. A fact of life is that if you hunt turkeys long enough, you’ll miss your share of them.

Click for Larger ViewWhen a wild turkey comes in to a caller, the hunter recognizes that not only can the bird see better than he can, but that bird is also searching for movement, specifically a hen that he can’t find. Therefore, any mistake that the hunter makes will spook the bird.

As a gobbler comes in, the hunter should concentrate on….
…where he should allow the bird to get to before he tries to bag him.
…whether there are bushes or trees between him and the gobbler that will hinder his shot.
…when he can move into a shooting position.
…whether the turkey will break his strut.
…how far the shot is, and whether he should take it.

Click for Larger ViewWhile all this information is going through the turkey hunter’s mind, he must also remember to push-off the safety, get his cheek on the stock, look straight-down the barrel, superimpose the bead on the turkey’s neck and squeeze the trigger. With all this information being processed, you can understand how one or two steps can be left out.

For instance, perhaps the hunter doesn’t have his cheek down. Instead, his head may be up, looking at the bird. The result will be a miss. Or, perhaps the hunter aims correctly, but doesn’t see a small twig, a little tree or a limb between the bead and the tom. Often the hunter’s brain is concentrating so hard on the bead of the shotgun and the turkey’s neck that it doesn’t process the information provided by the eyes.

Click for Larger ViewAlthough there are many reasons that a hunter can miss, even if he does hit the gobble, he may only wound the bird instead of bringing him down. Turkeys are tough birds. Unless a hunter puts a hard lick on the gobbler, the turkey will recover. If the hunter shoots the turkey anywhere except the head and neck, there’s a good chance that the bird’s feathers and wings will absorb the shot and prevent it from puncturing the turkey’s body. Or, if the shot does pierce the turkey’s body, the pellets won’t penetrate far enough to harm a vital organ.

Click for Larger ViewTo learn more about how to hunt turkeys successfully, click here, or visit, and type in the name of John E. Phillips’ latest turkey-hunting book, “Turkey Hunting Tactics,” that’s now available from Kindle books and contains information on all aspects of turkey hunting, including: how to set up on turkeys; how to hunt turkeys; what equipment is best; what’s the differences in western and eastern turkey hunting and how that influences the way you hunt and more. Phillips’ other information-packed turkey books, also available on Kindle, include “The Turkey Hunter’s Bible” and “PhD Gobblers.”

Tomorrow: Arrowing a Gobbler Turkey

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Miss a Turkey "

Day 1: You Will Miss Turkeys If You’re An Avid Turkey Hunter
Day 2: More Turkey Misses
Day 3: Misjudging Distance
Day 4: Not Seeing the Aiming Point Will Keep You from Bagging Your Turkey
Day 5: Arrowing A Gobbler Turkey

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Entry 661, Day 4