When optics companies first introduced dedicated turkey scopes and red-dots about 20 years back, a lot of purists—me included—scoffed at the notion. Why the heck would anyone need a scope to hit a tom in the noggin at 30 yards? The naysayers saw it as a gimmick to sell more product or as an affectation from guys obsessed with their equipment.
I’m sure you see where this is going. Yes, I’ve come around, and it appears that so have a lot of other hunters. Here’s why:
1) First and foremost, you miss fewer turkeys. Even at 30 yards, where patterns tend to be as big as a basketball and plenty dense, it’s possible to miss. Ask me. The main reason why is nothing more than shooter error. Lack of focus on the front sight (bead), inconsistent cheeking of the stock, jerking the trigger. All avoidable of course. Nonetheless, I think an optic naturally forces a shooter to get his head into the correct position to align the crosshair or dot. And then it’s only natural to squeeze the trigger the way you do with a rifle, rather than snap it like you do when wingshooting.
2) You miss fewer turkeys at long and close range. Because patterns thin at longer ranges, it’s important to center the tom’s vital column. The edge of the pattern likely won’t do the trick. At very close range the shot swarm may be no bigger than a softball, but whoops—if you don’t take care to aim, a humbling whiff can easily occur.