Let’s face it, when entering a pumpkin-growing contest big is better. Much the same can be said about growing roses and sumo wrestlers.
Many people would say that Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest boxer ever to set foot in a ring. He decided to move up from the weight class where he was the greatest and he promptly got pounded by a much bigger opponent. This was a case of a great fighter who got womped on by a bigger man regardless of skill. You see my point?
Sometimes size matters, sometimes not. Some people say it happens in rifle cartridges and even more so in shotgun shells.
It is currently turkey season and shotguns are the weapon of choice. When arguing shotgun shells, one finds the three common ones are 2 3/4, 3, and 3 1/2 inches that are used on turkey. There is little question that the longer case holds more shot. Some think it should perform better at longer ranges, however, it doesn’t always work that way.
A gentleman I know was telling me about how he downed a turkey at 60 yards with No. 4 shot and 3½ chambered shotgun. I listened for a bit and finally broke away and headed home. While the man insisted that big is better, and it may hold some truth as in the pumpkins in this story, it is more complicated than that. Pattern density is more important. If the pattern is not evenly spread, then you could miss because a turkey head is a mighty small target. Shotgun shells must be available but there are questions that need to be answered at the range. Only by shooting at a plain white paper target can you check the pattern of these shells. There are only so many shots in the shoulder, so it’s important that the job of patterning is done smoothly for the recoils catch up quickly. While the turkey is a large target, the head and neck – where you want to hit the bird – is not. The larger-chambered gun throws more pellets, but it is the smaller one that usually allows the tighter pattern. Only the paper and the range will tell.
Have you been hearing a lot of turkeys this year? My area has been quiet. I have not heard much.
Turkey gobblers call in hens. You can hear him gobble and her answer. The good turkey hunter can perk like a turkey hen and call that male to him. Turkeys have very keen eyesight, but they cannot smell at all. Being a bird, do not forget they see in color, too. Some people say they are smart birds as they mistake eyesight and instinct with intelligence. Either way, it is great fun to call a turkey to you. You perk, he answers with that unmistakable gobble. If you have patterned the gun, then your confidence is there. Just be sure to check before shooting in case you call up another hunter. I once had a man with another turkey call answer my call. Which is why I mention that you are usually imitating a hen turkey. People have been known to shoot each other during turkey season. So put a tree behind you if you are in the woods.
This year’s turkey harvest should be a good one. There seems to be a good amount of food for the birds, so maybe the quiet is just my old ears. I will be calling turkeys on my porch for fun, practicing with a call just to see who answers.