Many of you are cleaning and preparing to put away your rifles as deer season has come to an end in most parts of the country. For some, a “funk” sets in or a “deer depression” ensues. I look at this time with great excitement. Yes, I’m sad deer season is over, but for me it is almost “the most wonderful time of the year”! That’s correct; I’m talking about Spring Gobbler Season.
I approach Spring Gobbler Season with a passion. Proper scouting and preparation can be critical to your success or failure in the turkey woods. In my opinion, one of the most overlooked preparations is patterning your shotgun. You wouldn’t typically start your deer season without sighting in your rifle would you? Having a good pattern and knowing where your shotguns hits can be the difference between an ethical kill, wounding a bird or simply missing.
Most modern shotguns have removable chokes. Hunters Specialties makes the UnderTaker line of turkey chokes. They make two basic types of choke tubes for a variety of gun manufacturers, one for lead based loads and one for High Density loads. Both types are available in ported and non-ported styles and are made for most shotgun brands.
Next you want to pick out the loads you would like to shoot. There is a large variety of turkey specific loads available today. Personally, I prefer the High Density loads because that’s what delivers the best patterns in my shotguns. Different manufacturers, as well as shot sizes will vary your pattern, so you may want to try more than just one brand.
To determine what shoots best in your shotgun, you’ll need to “pattern” it. Basically, you’re shooting a turkey target at different ranges to determine the amount of pellets in the “kill zone” of a given load. Some manufacturers even have apps that will help you. Start by placing targets at twenty, thirty and forty yards. Aim for the center of the turkey’s neck as opposed to just the head. If you shoot at just the head, you will lose a large portion of your pattern. You may want to try targets at ten and fifty yards too.
Give these tips a try and your gun will be ready to go for turkey season!
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