May 16, 2012, 1:01 AM EDT
By Bill Miller
I am a run and gun turkey hunter. The way I look at it, if you go sit in a blind in one place and wait for a turkey to show up there, you might as well go deer hunting! What fun is that? Spring turkey hunting is an opportunity to get out there and see some country, to use your legs and your lungs. Cover enough miles in enough good country and you’re going to find a fired up gobbler you can call in for the most thrilling encounter in all of hunting.
Just yesterday (as of this writing) I employed those very tactics to find a hot tom. I called him in so close I could feel the vibration when he drummed. He never presented a shot, but it was an encounter as exciting as hunting gets. After breakfast today, I’ll go out there and see if I can’t find him or one of his brethren and do it all over again – maybe today we’ll even close the deal.
My ultimate turkey gun is a T/C Prohunter Encore 12 gauge single-shot that I’ve covered in Mossy Oak Graphics vinyl camo. The gun is light, compact and easy to carry through any cover. Because of the T/C stock/grip design I can shoot the gun ambidextrously or one handed if I need to. I can even shoot it handily in odd positions. I’ve got a large peep sight on the back end and a bright red front sight that stands out ablaze in any light conditions. (I like red dot sights on a turkey gun, but I’m forever forgetting to turn it on, or find the batteries dead. And they create a larger profile to catch on stuff as I’m moving through cover.)
The one drawback to this definition of the ultimate turkey gun is the recoil it produces with “turkey” loads. It plain bucks when you pull the trigger. If I’m not really hanging on tight the forestock will come right out of my hand.
But now I’ve discovered a true turkey load that makes this ultimate turkey gun even more ultimate. It’s the Federal Premium 12 gauge 2 ¾-inch 1 1/4-ounce Heavyweight at 1300 fps. I prefer the load of #7 shot, because it provides nearly the same number of pellets as in the 1 5/8-ounce load of #6 lead, and because the proprietary Heavyweight alloy is more dense than lead the individual pellets weigh nearly the same. Therefore, the retained energy on target is the same. Yet the felt recoil from this 1 ¼-ounce load seems about half of what it is from the 1 5/8-ounce load. I’d put it on par with an 1 1/8-ounce sporting clays load at 1300 fps. That is much, much appreciated in my light little gun.
Equal to running and gunning to locate turkeys, is the joy I get in bringing them close. Toxey Haas and I at Mossy Oak have talked about our common desire to bring a turkey in so close there might be a chance to grab him! But in patterning this Federal low-recoil load out to 40 yards, it will consistently provide more than 3-dozen critical zone pellet strikes on every turkey head target. So it’s deadly even that far away. At 20 and in where I like my birds … well, hold tight on your target so you don’t miss.
Remember the reason for sights on a turkey gun is for killing birds at 20 yards and in, not at 40 yards and beyond!
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