Whenever I mention a .410 bore shotgun for turkey hunting, I get a considerable amount of, “Not enough gun.”
Now having taken two wild turkeys with the Taurus .410 Judge handgun (one in Pennsylvania and one in New York State), my response is, “Depends on the patience of the hunter and the distance of the shot.”
Both of my pistol-taken toms were less than 10 yards, and one was actually only 3 feet. What makes a .410 turkey hunt such a challenge is the hunter’s stealth in terms of clothing and blinds and their ability/patience to call the turkey within the range of the .410.
Sunday morning, I’ll be turkey hunting in a new area in Saratoga County with a new single-shot .410 long gun. I’ve scouted the area several times and hopefully Sunday evening, I’ll be able to put the turkeys I saw to bed. I know the birds are there because I’ve seen them.
My first encounter was when I was driving a road bordering the property at dusk and counted 15 turkeys, three of which were beard-dragging toms, across the road in front of me. The other was when I walked out of the woods into a field and 20 yards from me, out walked a pair of hens. Where there are hens, there are toms, especially this time of year.
As of now, my set up will be to enter the woods before sunup in full head-to-toe camo including a face mask. At twilight, when the crows start cawing, I’ll make a few calls trying to solicit a tom’s response from its roost.
Once I hear a gobble, I’ll move in that direction, not too close, and set up with either a big tree or some heavy brush at my back and erect a stake-out blind around me.
My decoy spread of two hens and a jake will be set out in front of me 12-15 steps from the blind. I’ll set out a decoy stake 20 steps from my blind. I won’t shoot at anything beyond that stake.
Last month, I wrote about the new Chiappa Firearms Double Badger with a .22 mag top barrel and .410 bore barrel. Sunday, the top barrel will be empty (can’t hunt turkeys with a rifle in New York), but the shotgun barrel will be loaded with a 3-inch Remington Long Range No. 6 shot shell. When I sighted-in with the Chiappa fiber optic peep and front sights and squeezed the trigger, 150 pellets left the fully-choked barrel at 1,135 feet per second.
At the range, only “two” shots were required and I was ready to hunt. At 15 yards, from a standing position I put seven pellets in the head and 16 in the neck areas of a 12×18-inch Turkey Splattering Target. At 20 yards, I had five in the head, 16 in the neck and at least a dozen just below the neck. That’s a dead turkey.
I’m definitely very anxious about this Sunday’s hunt with the Double Badger. I also hope to use the .22mag for woodchucks this summer, if I can find any, and come squirrel and rabbit season, the little .22 mag/410 and I’ll be following beagles. Check out the Double Badger at www.chiappafirearms.com. It sells for around $300.
If you shoot a tom this season and would like to share the experience with your fellow turkey hunters, send the details to me at, [email protected]. Please include your name, city of residence, area where you hunted, what you shot, length of beard, spurs and weight, gun used and anything else interesting about the hunt.