I always enjoy seeing all of the camouflage clothing hanging on the racks and all of the excitement in the air whenever turkey season gets close. I can hear the hunters standing around having conversations about the type gun they use.
“I use a 12-gauge Remington with a turkey choke tube,” or “I bought a box of three-inch, number six shot, so I can reach that old gobbler,” or “Man, I was out scouting the other day, and I could hear three different turkeys gobbling at the same time. I am ready to go get them.”
Well for me, the electricity that comes from all the turkey talk and seeing the turkey calls and all of the camo clothing makes me recall when my interest first peaked.
I had never been in the woods during the months of turkey season, so hunting turkey was a completely new adventure for me. I generally hunt deer in November and December, and then never go back into the hunting woods again.
The first thing I did was to start getting my Remington model 870 ready for the season. I went to a local sporting goods store and looked at all of the shotgun shells. I finally settled on a box of 2-3/4 shells with 1-1/2 ounces of No. 4 shot. I recall thinking, “Man, this shell will knock off any old turkey.”
I already had all of the camo clothing from my deer hunting days. I updated my hunting license and bought my first turkey caller, which turned out to be a box call. I would sit around the house and practice with it, driving my wife crazy.
After several days of planning and figuring, I thought that it was time to go after that bird that I had heard so much about.
I arrive at this place that I had gotten permission to hunt on Lookout Mountain, and it was still dark outside. The sun was starting to come up, and I could see a little through the woods. I parked my truck and started putting on all of my camo clothing and removed my shotgun from its bag. I opened the box of shells and put several in my pocket. I started walking to this spot where I had previously hunted deer; I thought that it would be a good spot to start.
I had barely left my truck when I heard this booming sound just in front of me, about 100 yards or so.
“Gobble, gobble, gobble.”
I could not believe what was happening. I had already heard my first turkey calling not five minutes from my truck. I went into that mode that all experienced hunters go into, walking quietly and trying to get set up as soon as possible. I was loading my gun, and I sat down on the edge of this field, because now I could hear the turkey gobble again.
I laid my gun across my lap and picked up the box call off the ground and began to make all of the sounds that would attract this bird. I laid the caller back down, looked up and standing right in front of me was the first turkey I had ever seen during the hunting season. The tom was just standing very still, not moving. I slowly raised my gun, and when the turkey turned his head a little, I aimed and pulled the trigger.
The sound of the mighty 12-gauge broke the morning quiet. The turkey turned end-over-end like an airplane crashing to the ground. I thought that I had gotten him for sure. I immediately jumped up and ran over to where I last saw him. I looked and looked, and he was not there.
Where did he go? I saw him go down. Well, after about an hour of searching, I could not find him. There was no evidence that I had hit anything. I stepped off the distance from where I took the shot, and it was about 50 steps.
Well, dejected and wondering what had gone wrong, a few days later I put up a paper target at 50 steps and fired a shot at it just to see where the shot would hit. I couldn’t believe my eyes; there were probably only about six shot that had hit the target at all. I fired another shot, and the same thing happened.
After experimenting with different shotgun shell lengths and shot size, I purchased a new turkey choke tube for my gun to try and increase the pattern of the shot. I settled down to taking no shot beyond 40 yards. This was the best distance for this particular gun; beyond that, the shot simply disappeared.
I would suggest that before you start turkey hunting that you pattern your shotgun first and see just where it holds up. I have taken a few turkeys since my first encounter with that ninja turkey that got away and probably fell over laughing telling this story to his turkey buddies.
I can just hear him saying, “Do know what happened to me today?”
Get off of the couch and go turkey hunting; you just might have the time of your life.
Roger Sherrill lives in Ringgold. He can be reached at email@example.com.