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John's Journal... Entry 82, Day 1

Bagging Turkeys with Blackpowder

Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Two of the fastest-growing sports in America today -- turkey hunting and black-powder hunting -- add a new dimension to both these sports. Combining these two sports also tests the mettle of the hunter more since he must be very precise, give forethought to the sport and employ all his woodsmanship skills for success. Black-powder hunting for turkeys also provides an added challenge and makes the trophy far more valuable and more exciting to hunt than when you utilize conventional weapons.

At White Oak Plantation in Tuskegee, Alabama, I was caught as unprepared as a baby on its first birthday. A turkey gobbled less than 30 yards away when I stood with my guide, Bo Pitman, lodge manager, in the middle of a road with no place to run and no place to hide. We both dropped down, and I put my CVA turkey shotgun on my knees. I cocked my hammer and took the plastic nipple protector off the nipple and cap.

Pitman whispered and asked me if I could see. I told him I couldn't see the turkey because of a little hump in the road in front of my but that I could hear the bird. Soon with the gobbler screaming, the leaves on the trees quivered from the force of his gobble.

Click to enlargePitman and I had agreed prior to our hunt that we'd have a primitive-weapon hunt. Pitman would hunt with his bow and arrow, and I'd hunt with my smokepole. Pitman would have the opportunity to take the first shot, and I would back him up with my black-powder CVA Trapper.

When Pitman told me that he couldn't draw and that I'd have to take the shot, Pitman pointed out that the bird was 20 yards. I explained that I still couldn't see the bird because of the rise in the hill. I also asked whether the gobbler was to the left or the right of my gun barrel. Pitman reported that the turkey was standing right in front of me, less than 18 yards away and to, "Please take the shot."

But because of the my position below the hill, I still couldn't see the bird. Yet Pitman sat less than 6 feet from me and could watch the bird over the hill. Pitman quietly said, "He's in full strut. Take the shot."

The tom was so close that we could hear his feathers drag the ground and snap forward when they caught on a limb and his heavy feet crush the ground. Both of us realized the tom soon would see us and then be gone at any time. But finally, just over the top of the hill, I spotted the gobbler's white crown of ivory, although some brush stood between me and the turkey.

I had my cheek on the stock, the hammer back and the bead on my black-powder shotgun superimposed over the wattles on the gobbler's neck. Because the turkey knew he should be seeing the hen at this range, he became very nervous -- putting, making two quick steps forward and then stopping. When the tom's neck went up like a periscope, I let the hammer fall.

Click to enlargePitman was up and running before I could gain my feet. But there was no need to hurry since the black-powder shotgun had performed its job for me just as it had for the early frontiersmen.

To learn about CVA's black-powder guns, call (770) 449-4687; email info@cva.com; or, see the catalogue online.

To learn more about hunting turkeys, go to Night Hawk's home page, and click on books to find out information about John Phillips' three turkey-hunting books: "The Masters' Secrets of Turkey Hunting," "Outdoor Life's Complete Turkey-Hunting Book" and "Turkey Tactics." Call (800) 627-4295 to order.

TOMORROW: Using Blackpowder Guns for Hunting Turkeys




Check back each day this week for more about Blackpowder Turkeys ...

Day 1 -Bagging Turkeys with Blackpowder
Day 2 -Using Blackpowder Guns for Hunting Turkeys
Day 3 -Loads for Blackpowder Turkeys
Day 4 -Blackpowder Accessories
Day 5 -Tricks of the Trade

John's Journal