My dad came home from the shot show this year with a new shot gun shell he wanted me to try. PMC turkey load. Being new this year I had never heard of them but agreed to try them out. I used them to shoot both my turkeys this year, and was very impressed. Not only did they pattern well but the power they displayed was amazing. One of my birds, shot at 35 yards, had shot that went completely through the breast and into the skin on his back. The other bird was knocked flat out of the air, with shot going through his legs, literally, there were pellets that went through the leg bone and were stuck half way out the scaly skin on the other side. I had definitely found myself a new turkey load. PMC uses a high grade nickel platted shot that is protected by a polymer buffering to assure strong pattern density at longer ranges. PMC also uses an extra clean burning powder. I have shot the size 4 and 6 3" mag shells.
Decoys are essential gear for turkey hunts and they’re relatively easy to bring along, however once you pack your turkey vest full of box calls, slate calls, a water bottle or two, mouth calls, shotgun shells, a snack or two, (and of course toilet paper), every little essential tends to quickly add up in terms of weight.
If I can cut down on weight and bulk when hunting, I will. So this year I chose to pack my back vest pocket with turkey decoys by Montana Decoys, and give them a try in the field.
Some people are skeptical of Montana Decoys’ one-dimensional design. But just look at the photos I took of my setups; the decoys are remarkably realistic, enhanced even more by their ability to be blown by the wind, mimicking real-life movement; something heavier decoys are not always capable of.
Montana Decoys currently offer these turkey decoys: Tom Turkey (in full strut), Jake Turkey and the Turkey II (Mating turkey). Prices range from $29.95 to $39.95.
This year I used the Jake and the Tom Turkey and hope to experiment next year with the Turkey II. The one drawback is the lack of a hen decoy in their offering, a decoy, which I feel, is essential on a turkey hunt and one which I hope will be added to their lineup before next year’s turkey season winds around.
These decoys compact design enables you to pack and carry them safely tucked away and secure, unlike some bulkier decoys, which protrude from your vest. In fact, I lost a foam hen decoy I carried in my back vest pocket as I ran across a dirt road and up a steep ditch bank pursuing a hung-up, hot Tom in Wisconsin. After crossing without being detected, I quickly set-up my Tom Turkey decoy, sat down, did a little cutting and yelping, and shot my Gobbler minutes later; a nice 23 ¼ lb., 9 ½" bearded Eastern.
Not bad, heh?
© May 2004
In 2006 we see a new innovative turkey mouth call put out by the hugely popular and much loved Primos Hunting Calls. The Sonic Dome has received much attention since debuting at the Archery Trade Show this past January, and I had to try it out myself for the upcoming spring turkey season.
The Sonic Dome is available in your standard mouth size and a smaller version called the Mini Sonic Dome for us whose roofs of the mouth are just too small to handle the regular size. This is a great product for women and youth turkey hunters who also enjoy calling for themselves when out in the turkey woods and fields.
With a little practice, even a novice mouth caller can attempt to make a few turkey sounds that sound realistic. I’ve found the Sonic Dome seems to have a crisper, more voluminous quality than other mouth calls with which I am familiar.
I was also looking for a new slate call and discovered the Jackpot with glass, and thought I’d try it. Now THIS call had a lot of volume to it and knew I could use it on windy days, should I need that extra volume. It comes with the Triple Seven striker, which makes the Jackpot score big.
Being a big fan of Primos, I couldn’t settle on just one slate call for my turkey arsenal, so I also picked up The Freak with Frictionite and the Grave Digger striker. This call will strap on my leg (or gun stock) and needs only one hand to operate it effortlessly. This call had a higher pitch that sounded very seductive.
April 12 was the turkey opener in my home state of Minnesota. After watching my “Primos The Truth, Chasing The Spring” turkey hunting videos, I was ready myself, and I headed for the fields well prepared to start sounding like a turkey.
Using a combination of these Primos calls, yelps and purrs, helped me bring in a beautiful tom in full strut regalia, to within 4 yards of my ground blind. Now I wish I could say that I bagged that tom, but due to operator error, he was “one that got away.” With Easter the following day, I had to cut my hunt short so I could spend the remainder of the weekend celebrating with my family. Despite coming home lacking a tagged turkey, I have found some great turkey calls that will remain in my call “goody bag” for years to come.
For more information on these, and other great products from Primos, check out: http://www.primos.com/
© March 2006
So You Want to Talk Turkey…
The first diaphragm mouth turkey calls I had cut into the sides of my cheeks and made calling very uncomfortable and difficult. I cut my original calls down on the edges to fit better. At the time it was fine and served its purpose. One day shopping at Cabela’s I noticed Quaker Boy had offered calls in an extra small frame. I was not hesitant by purchasing a pack to try out. They offer a four pack called the "Mini Mag" which includes an Old Boss Hen, Double, Triple and V cut reeds. These calls are only $14.99 plus tax for the entire pack which is very reasonable as long as you take proper care of them. You can find them in most outdoor sporting good stores or online.
As Quaker Boy advertises them as "The answer to a narrow palette!" Yes indeed that is very true dependent on the size of your mouth. These calls offer complete comfort and air sealing capabilities to allow for controlled volume calling. I like them because I can also flip them to the inside of my cheek when I am not using them and it doesn’t create an irritation. Each call has a different tone and rasp to them allowing particular sounds that the Gobbler’s can’t resist when it’s primetime in the spring. This call is also cost efficient and not expensive. Now I have become accustom to the mouth calls because it frees up my hands and is one less factor I need to worry about when being set up while hunting turkeys. You can also buy them separately however I would suggest buying the entire pack as one. Look for the yellow!
© February 2006
Most hunters are always looking for that extra edge against their competition. This is usually the quarry they are pursuing. With spring turkey season upon us I thought it would be a good time to pattern my new Thompson/Center Encore turkey gun. I headed to the range with some Shoot.N.C turkey targets and plenty of shotgun shells. Here’s the results from patterning the gun with 3" Winchester Supreme High Velocity turkey loads and 3" Remington Premier Hevi-Shot Magnum turkey buffered loads in the traditional shot sizes of 4,5 & 6.
The Winchester Supreme copperplated, buffered shot has a velocity of 1300 feet per second @ 3 feet with 1 ¾ oz of shot.
The Remington Premier Hevi-Shot turkey loads are made up of an alloy of tungsten, nickel and iron. This combination allows for a 10% higher density than lead, which in turn means a denser pattern and higher energy. The Hevi-Shot shells have a velocity of 1225 feet per second @ 3 feet with 1 5/8 oz of shot.
After shooting 20-23 rounds through the Encore here are some pictures of the results. As you can see the combination of the turkey barrel with the factory screw-in turkey choke tube produces an extremely tight pattern. The #6 shot from the Hevi-Shot and the Winchesters both seemed to be the ideal shot size for my set-up.
When turkey hunting I like to place my decoys around 15 to 20 yards from where I’m setting. As you can see from the targets any of these shells would be adequate to make a clean kill on a turkey. I also tested the ammunition at 30 yards for those stubborn turkeys that just won’t come on in those last few steps.
The above targets show that the pattern starts to open up quite a bit at 30 yards on all the shells. With the number of pellets still in the kill zone I would not hesitate to take an open shot at a big gobbler out to 30 yards. This spring I will definitely be hunting with my Thompson/Center Encore and some #6 shells. And just for that extra punch I will use the Remington Hevi-Shot.
© April 2004