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The Eastern Wild Turkey: An Evolution of the Hunter and the Hunted (Page 4)

By: Charles A. Norvell II

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Turkey with original Smoothbore
Fresh Turkey shown with original 10 bore folwer of author's collection. Photo taken by author.

The following is just a suggestion, one based on 40 years of hunting wild turkey. I've missed a few, crippled a few, and remember each one as though it were yesterday. Use nothing lighter than a 20 bore; pattern and develop a tight load; shoot at no farther than 25 yards. My personal load is 80 grains of FFFg powder and an equal measure of #5 shot (yours may differ). This load will penetrate the skull and vertebra of the largest tom within 25 yards. EVERY bird I have crippled and lost was due to shooting too soon. Every 5 yards past 25, your chance of a miss or crippling increases by 20%. A mature tom can weigh 25 pounds and stand 3 feet tall and WILL appear closer than he is in reality. Use a range marker when picking a stand. Wadding makes the load, I use the above powder and shot charge with a fiber wad moistened in peanut oil. over powder and thin card over shot or a tow flax wad moistened with tallow over the powder and a strip of paper over the shot. Swan shot may be substituted for #5, though it does not pattern quite as well. I also recommend a mix of 3/4 FFFg and 1/4 FFFFg priming powder, it lights my charge well on damp spring mornings, I replace prime often.

Spend time in the woods, turkeys don't all answer like in the videos. Many just appear after vocalizing a soft cluck. Tune in to the sounds around you. Always set up as if your first call will instantly bring your bird, you have your firelock up and ready. There are many books and writers on the subject of what to do... as for me I wish you luck and hope these words help the evolution of the hunter and hunted.

Stop by my tent at Mansker's Trade Fair, May 5th - 7th. We will talk about turkeys and other such wondrous and magical things.

Reference
  • Travels of William Bartram; Edited by Mark Van Doren; Dover Press; 1928.
  • Adairs History of the American Indians; Edited by Samuel C. Williams, LL.D.; Watuauga Press; 1930.
  • Turkey Calls, An Enduring American Folk Art; By Howard L. Harlan; 1994.
  • The Book of the Wild Turkey; By Lovette E. Williams Jr.; Winchester Press; 1981.

For More information you can contact Charles through E-mail at this address: longhunter@aol.com.


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