John's Journal...

Turkey Hunting Tips from Terry Drury

Day 4: Better Guns, Shells, Chokes and Optics for Hunting Turkeys with Terry Drury

Editor’s Note: Mark and Terry Drury of Drury Outdoors ( are two of the most-successful TV producers in all of outdoor television. They produce “Bow Madness,” “Dream Season,” “Wildlife Obsession” and “King of the Spring” that air on the Outdoor Channel, and “Natural Born” that airs on the Pursuit Network. They’re brothers, business partners, friends and hunting buddies.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewQuestion: Terry, what’s another tip for taking turkeys this season?

Terry Drury: I think that someone preparing for turkey season really needs to check out the new guns, the new shells and the new chokes on the market today. Five or 10 years ago, if you had a gun, a choke and shells that would put 15 pellets in the turkey’s head and neck area at 40 yards, you’d be really proud of your gun. But today with better guns, shells and chokes, you can find a gun, shell and choke combination that will put 15 pellets in a turkey’s head and neck area at 70 yards. So, one of the best tips I can give turkey hunters this season is to spend some time at your local sporting-goods store, check-out the new turkey shotguns on the market, study the turkey chokes and get a five pack of turkey loads from several different manufacturers in No. 4, 5, 6 and 7-1/2. Then go to the rifle range with some turkey head targets, and see how those guns pattern at 20-60 yards. Choose the shells, the choke and the gun that patterns best for you. Once you know the combination of shells, chokes and gun that patterns best for you, when you squeeze the trigger; you reasonably can expect to take the turkey.

I think one mistake that hunters also make is: they only may pattern their guns at 40, 50 and 60 yards with the idea that, “If I see that gobbler I can take him.” But remember, if you have a real tight pattern, and the bird comes in at 50 yards and gobbles just as you squeeze the trigger, you very easily may miss that gobbler. You need to know what kind of pattern you’ll get at ranges from 30 yards out to as far as you want to take a turkey. Every gun likes a different shot size, even if that gun is the same gauge and made by the same manufacturer. Also spend the money and time to make sure your shotgun and shells will perform the way you want them to perform this turkey season.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewSomething else that has become important in turkey hunting, and that I totally believe in is optics, including quality binoculars, range finders and a scope on your shotgun. You can save a lot of walking by having a really good pair of binoculars. The better you can identify the gobbler and the farther you can see him, the better you can get close enough to try and call him. By ranging finding the trees where you think the gobbler may come out, you can know better how to aim. The real secret to turkey hunting success in recent years for Mark and I has been using riflescopes on our turkey shotguns.

To learn more about turkey hunting from the masters, get these Kindle eBooks by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter's Bible (available as an eBook or in paperback),” “PhD Gobblers: How to Hunt the Smartest Turkeys in the World,” “Turkey Hunting Tactics,” “How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman,” “The 10 Sins of Turkey Hunting with Preston Pittman,” and “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting.” Click on the links above, 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. To get John’s newest book, “The Turkey Gobbler Getter Manual,” for free, go to

Check out our new website at

Share this page with a friend!

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: Terry Drury on Why Scope to Your Turkey Shotgun

Check back each day this week for more about How to Produce a Grand Nite Champion Coon Dog"

Day 1: Terry Drury Says Mossy Oak’s Toxey Haas Called in the First Turkey He Ever Shot
Day 2: Terry Drury on Getting Close to Take a Turkey’s Temperature
Day 3: What to Do if You Don’t Take a Turkey as Soon as He’s Flown Down with Terry Drury
Day 4: Better Guns, Shells, Chokes and Optics for Hunting Turkeys with Terry Drury
Day 5: Terry Drury on Why to Scope Your Turkey Shotgun

ALL CONTENT PROTECTED UNDER THE DIGITAL MILLENIUM COPYRIGHT ACT. Content theft, either printed or electronic is a federal offense.


Entry 815, Day 4