Prior to the start of hunting season, many hunters head to the range, set up a turkey target at 40 yards, pull the trigger and are satisfied that their pattern is more than adequate. So they put their shotgun back in its case until opening morning.
But I say, "Not so fast."
I can't tell you how many birds I've seen missed, not because a hunter was shooting at a bird at the limit of his range, but because it was too close. That's right, too close.
With today's choke tube offerings and tight-patterning turkey loads, the shot that covers a pie plate at 30 or 40 yards can be smaller than your fist at just 10 or 15 yards. Shoot a little to the right or the left of a gobbler's head and all you're going to see is flapping wings and tail feathers as that ol' tom takes flight.
Be ready for any approach by a wary longbeard this spring. Know how your gun patterns at 10, 20, 30 and 40 yards by practicing on targets at those ranges before the season. Then, you'll be prepared to take the proper shot. Remember, you don't have to shoot. He'll be there again for another try.