© By Othmar Vohringer
The essence of turkey hunting is up close and personal. A turkey hunting buddy of mine had to experience that just last week. One of the most common reasons for hit turkeys escaping or been missed altogether is caused by miss judging the distance and the urge to shoot to far.
With turkey hunters constantly seeking to gain longer shooting distances, to make up for the lack of calling skills or simply because they don’t want to work harder to get the bird closer, an increasing number of hunters will do anything to beef their gun up to obtain an extra few yards in shooting distance. Hence the use of 3 ½ -inch super magnum loads stuffed into 12-gauge and even 10-gauge guns equipped with super tight chocks, all in an effort to be able to “reach out there and touch ‘em”.
Lets look at the issue of distance. To me the essence of turkey hunting with a shotgun is not that different hunting deer with a bow, “up close and personal”. In my opinion calling and hunting skills are a major factor in turkey hunting. It is a fact as stated earlier and as my hunting buddy had to learn, that no matter how big a load you use and how tight the choke is, and completely regardless of what turkey ammunition advertising tells you, most turkeys are missed, or worse crippled, when shot at long distances.
To me an acceptable shooting distance would be 30 to 35 yards and with lots of practice and a well developed load I would be willing to push it to 40 yards. One important aspect is that shots to the outer limits of the range are only acceptable when no brush and grass lies between the hunter and the bird that could deflect pellets.
Judging distance can be difficult at times and because of that I carry a rangefinder with which I can range distances. Of course I do that before I start calling to a tom. If you don’t have a range finder purchase one and make it standard turkey hunting equipment. Taking shots at very long distances, even with today’s highly developed and efficient loads and shooting enhancement accessory is in my opinion an ethical slip-up that can and often will result in crippling a bird that will escape and die a lingering death. Turkeys deserve better than that.
This blog post has been brought to you by Othmar Vohringer Outdoors