Which Gun Will You Be Using to Shoot Wild Turkeys?



Taking Aim at Turkey Season!


Bringing down a wild turkey is one of the great highs in hunting. Your adversary is cunning and fast.

In order to be successful, often you must convince a gobbler that you are a hen, pining to mate with him.  Practicing your turkey calls is an important pre-season activity.

In many situations, your turkey calling expertise will mean the difference between failure and success.

There are lots of tools available to help you perfect  a range of calling patterns.  Pre-season (now) is a perfect time to be honing your calling skills.

Shotguns and Gobblers

Although it is true that it is legal in some states to use a center-fire rifle, most hunters prefer to use a shotgun. Although gun makers offer a variety of shotguns specifically for turkeys, you may have one that will work fine.

The goal in using a particular shotgun is to get a tight spray pattern up to 40 yards.  Generally, your old, full-choke shotgun  can do this well.

Aiming at a Wild Turkey

So we are all on the same page, do you know where to aim your gun?  Unless you shoot a gobbler at less than 20 yards, a body shot will probably only cripple the animal.

Remember, a turkey’s feathers can absorb a lot of shot. It is better to shoot at the gobbler’s head and neck; a tight pattern will strike the vital organs and fell the animal immediately.

The Choke on Your Shotgun

If you are not getting that tight pattern with a full choke, you may be able to change out the choke tubes to an “extra-full choke.”  Remember, the goal is to kill the bird quickly, not injure or cripple him.

Single, Double, Pump or Side-by-Side?

Which shotgun do you prefer?  Gobblers “take their own sweet time” coming into view.  While you are waiting for “just the right shot,”  a heavier gun can quickly become a liability.

According to some hunting experts, today’s favorite turkey hunting shotgun is  “a 12-gauge with a three-inch chamber.” *

Come back tomorrow; this subject is too broad for a single posting.

Next time: Adapting Guns for Women and Children

Soon: Choosing the Right Load for Turkey Hunting

Soon: Archery Equipment for Turkey Hunting

Coming: Turkey Hunting Clothes and Accessories

And Several Other Items ….


* This is the conclusion of John Trout, Jr., in The Complete Book of Wild Turkey Hunting, 2000, The Lyons Press.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com



  1. i will use shotgun with side by side or over under with 4 no. indian shells

  2. Dear Kr.Dushyant Dev,

    OK, I’m game.
    What are ‘indian shells’?


  3. My brother told me that if you kill a turkey that you are supposed to cut off its head and freeze it and then you can cook it… Is that true??

  4. Dear Joeli,

    Your brother is pulling your leg! I called several turkey hunters about this ~ they haven’t heard of it either!


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