John's Journal...

What to Do if You Want to Hunt Turkeys

Day 4: The Best Guns for Turkey Hunting

Editor’s Note: Turkeys don’t have teeth. There’s no report record of a bird charging a man and eating him. Neither do turkeys have supersonic hearing which allows them to detect a fly lighting on an oak leaf at 200-yards. Turkeys can’t see through large oak trees. But many newcomers to the sport may believe some of these myths because of the hype associated with hunting Meleagris gallopavo. I have heard a sportsman say, “I’d really like to get into turkey hunting, but I can’t call.” Or, “I’m afraid I’ll move and spook the bird.” Or, “Maybe that old gobbler is smarter than I am.” All of these ideas are nonsense.

Click or larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe turkey-hunting beginner needs to be effective at up to 40 yards. Although I don’t think a novice should take a shot at 40 yards, one of the biggest problems that the beginner faces is being able to judge distances accurately. Most hunters who see a turkey standing tall at 40-yards will swear that the bird’s at 20 to 25 yards when they shoot. Unless they have a shotgun with an added punch, they may miss their birds. So, I recommend a 12 gauge 3 inch magnum, which should have the knockdown power to topple a tom at more than 30 yards.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewWhen choosing shells, I let the gun pick the shot size that I’ll use. I shoot No. 4s and No. 6s at distances from 10 to 40 yards at a turkey head pattern. Whichever shot patterns best at 10, 20 and 40 yards in the gun I’m shooting is the shot that I choose for that particular gun. Each gun will pattern various shot sizes differently. I also shoot a full choke, hoping to hold a tighter pattern.

To get these Kindle ebooks by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter's Bible, click here; “PhD Gobblers; click here; and “Turkey Hunting Tactics, click here, or go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Other Essentials You Need for Turkey Hunting

Check back each day this week for more about What to Do if You Want to Hunt Turkeys"

Day 1: The Quickest Way to Learn to Hunt Turkeys Is to Hunt Them with Lovett Williams
Day 2: Learn How to Become a Turkey Hunter and How to Find a Place to Hunt
Day 3: Having the Right Equipment – Calls, Clothing and Boots for Turkey Hunting
Day 4: The Best Guns for Turkey Hunting
Day 5: Other Essentials You Need for Turkey Hunting

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Entry 758, Day 4