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Turkey Hunting: How Close is Too Close?

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Turkey Hunting: How Close is Too Close?

How close is too close?
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Our youth turkey season opened a few weeks ago, and I heard three reports from friends who had taken kids into the field. Three kids had shots at birds. One missed, one killed, and one decapitated his bird. The shots were taken at 10, 12 and 7 yards respectively. That brings up the question: how close is too close?

The closest shot I ever took at a turkey was five yards. I missed. After I missed the bird up close I found a piece of cardboard in my car and shot a pattern with it at five steps. It made a hole under two inches in diameter which, I can attest, is easy to miss with when a turkey is almost close enough to touch and your heart is hammering.

The closest bird I ever shot was at 12 yards. The head didn’t come off, but there was a hole in the neck you could fit a golfball through. I have never taken a turkey’s head off and I never want to. One of the many things to love about turkey hunting is having a bird in hand and marveling over the iridescent feathers, the saurian feet and the sheer size of the bird. If the turkey’s neck ends in a bloody stump it kind of tarnishes the moment. It is true that both the 5- and 12-yard turkeys I shot at didn’t present me a shot until they were that close. Perhaps the answer is an O/U or double with two triggers and IC and Turkey-Full tubes.

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