Before Pulling the Trigger

Turkey hunting tips and tricks that have worked and can help others.
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FalconIII
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Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by FalconIII » May 27th, 2020, 10:33 pm

Can someone tell me what they do when they have a turkey in range but their barrel isn’t lined up for the shot? Say he’s over by the side. Do you imperceptibly move the barrel for the shot or do you swing the gun quickly over for the shot? Or is it something in between where you make a slow but deliberate move for the shot?

I can’t seem to find guidance anywhere on this and would appreciate any comments or advice. New turkey hunter here.

Jstocks
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Jstocks » May 27th, 2020, 10:56 pm

Depends on the situation, and the Turkey.
Try to swing on a public land bird in Mississippi, probably not gonna get a shot.

Do a steady swing on a Texas feeder rio, probably be ok.

Usually, I try to let the turkey get behind a tree or some cover. Try to be patient and let the situation play out some before making a move.

Slow and steady has always worked better for me. Only do quick if it’s a last resort.

There’s no right or wrong way in my opinion, and my actions to be honest are usually instinctive, driven from years of experience, and are second nature. Whatever I do, I typically do without near about as much thought as I had to put into responding to your post.

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youngoutdoors
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by youngoutdoors » May 27th, 2020, 11:01 pm

If you are using a mouth call try cutting just as you swing your shotgun to the turkeys head. Usually throws them off just long enough for you to make the shot. I don't jerk the gun but just a controlled swing like leading a bird or clay pigeon.

God Bless, Louis

FalconIII
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by FalconIII » May 27th, 2020, 11:03 pm

Thank you! Incredibly helpful.

decoykrvr
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by decoykrvr » May 27th, 2020, 11:44 pm

Read the bird! Watch his head and body movements and listen to his vocalizations. Especially watch for his body turning/pivoting away from his direction of travel which usually indicates that he has seen something or senses that something is amiss and is leaving which usually requires immediate action on your part to kill the bird. If you can, it is also highly desirable to let the bird walk into your line of fire/sight so that all you have to do is adjust for elevation. Practice hunting w/ your gun's butt against your shoulder, even if the barrel is rested pointing downward, which greatly minimizes movement on an incoming gobbler to simply raise the forearm/barrel.

jsh909
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by jsh909 » May 28th, 2020, 3:59 am

Just like has been said the whole time. It is not a "One size fits all" situation. It is very situational and that will determine what your action should be.

pullit
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by pullit » May 28th, 2020, 6:49 am

Depends on the the bird and what is happening. As a general rule, slow and steady most of the time.
I may not be smart but I can lift heavy objects

I have no need for a 30-06, I have a shotgun

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hoobilly
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by hoobilly » May 28th, 2020, 7:41 am

decoykrvr wrote:
May 27th, 2020, 11:44 pm
Read the bird! Watch his head and body movements and listen to his vocalizations. Especially watch for his body turning/pivoting away from his direction of travel which usually indicates that he has seen something or senses that something is amiss and is leaving which usually requires immediate action on your part to kill the bird. If you can, it is also highly desirable to let the bird walk into your line of fire/sight so that all you have to do is adjust for elevation. Practice hunting w/ your gun's butt against your shoulder, even if the barrel is rested pointing downward, which greatly minimizes movement on an incoming gobbler to simply raise the forearm/barrel.
I will add that reading body signs a big giveaway is the wing tuck that something is up and he needs shot asap.

When a Tom pops up and standing there looking at 25-30 yards you either gotta be patient or keep the movement slow and deliberate. When they all of a sudden appear and are walking you can move slowly when they are behind trees bushes etc so that your get to ready
“Ego is the anesthesia to dull the pain of stupidity”
Spoken by someone smarter than I

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DBLGBL
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by DBLGBL » May 28th, 2020, 8:08 am

Slow as molasses. When his head is down behind a tree or when he is turned away if strutting. You won't win many quick draw contest with them. Don't panic and force the deal.

2gbl

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935
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by 935 » May 28th, 2020, 8:12 am

The times I've tried to quick draw haven't gone well. If he's focused on a decoy you can get away with a lot, if he's focused on the exact spot the "hen" was just yelping from, not so much. I'm a wait for the tom to line himself up with the sights kind of guy.
Thank you Lord for creating these wonderful birds and allowing us to chase after them.

decoykrvr
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by decoykrvr » May 28th, 2020, 8:23 am

The "wing tuck" and the leg pivot are my primary indicators that something is going to happen really fast. The first time I tried to swing/move my gun on a standing gobbler at 25 yards, unsuccessfully I might add, I was amazed that a 20 lb bird could go straight up, get air borne, and be out of range so quickly. A famous, "What happened? I feel so alone!"

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kythunter
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by kythunter » May 28th, 2020, 9:51 am

FalconIII wrote:
May 27th, 2020, 10:33 pm
Can someone tell me what they do when they have a turkey in range but their barrel isn’t lined up for the shot? Say he’s over by the side. Do you imperceptibly move the barrel for the shot or do you swing the gun quickly over for the shot? Or is it something in between where you make a slow but deliberate move for the shot?

I can’t seem to find guidance anywhere on this and would appreciate any comments or advice. New turkey hunter here.
Depends on the situation but generally try to move the barrel while the bird is coming when he can't see you like going behind a tree etc. You can move your gun a few inches usually on an unspoked bird and get a shot before he leaves.
You'll learn when to move and when not to move. When a gobbler sets his wings and he's leaving you better get on him and try to get a shot. You can cut at him with a mouth call and get by with movement. If your gun is 12 o'clock and the gobbler is 11 or 1 o'clock you can move slow and kill him. Also depends on foliage and how good you're concealed.
You're gonna have to move most of the time and you'll kill some and you'll get busted believe me we've all gotten busted by a gobbler, that's part of learning and hunting.

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GLS
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by GLS » May 28th, 2020, 11:24 am

Here are two examples in my experience and they boil down to the difference between birds. First bird, sneaked in from my right, and stood in the clear. I had the 835 shouldered. I couldn't get the damn tang safety off. I dropped the gun to my lap for better leverage and removed the safety from "off", re-shouldered the gun and fired. He went down, dead. All the while the bird stood flat-footed looking at me as if to say "this is interesting". Second incident involved two birds coming up a hill with a tree downed across my field of vision. I knew where the birds were and had gun shouldered and pointed in the direction of gobbling. His head and neck cleared the tree about 30 steps from me and about a foot from where I expected. I moved the gun barely to sight him. His head went down just as I fired as he spooked at the slight movement. I didn't hit him. I have never killed a bird I didn't shoot act and conversely, I have missed birds I have shot at. Sometimes you've got to do what you can. All the above advice is good.

LAturkey
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by LAturkey » May 28th, 2020, 2:17 pm

Definitely a different situation for every bird. I usually wait until they’re behind something but sometimes you can’t. The three birds I killed this year were all different. The first was in strut and when I swung to my left to shoot him he never moved even though I could see his head. The second also came from the left and had me nailed from the side but just stood there looking at me, I swung over to 9 o’clock and shot him and he never moved. The last bird came straight in and took off running when I moved the gun just a couple inches. You never know what’s gonna happen but if you decide to swing and shoot make sure to follow through. If you hesitate he’ll be gone for sure

Hobbes_mobile
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Hobbes_mobile » May 28th, 2020, 2:59 pm

I quick draw most birds that my barrel isn't already on, but I'm in more open country. I'm also picking the time to do it and not just doing it at random. I've done it to Easterns and Merriam's, but it's probably easier to get away with a Merriam's that has less pressure. It's more likely to go wrong in thicker country or if the bird is too close. There is usually more opportunities to have the gun pointed in the right direction if there is plenty of cover.

There are those birds that turn inside out at the slightest movement. The best bet is to move when they can't see you, but that's not always possible. If a bird gets to a spot in range where he knows that he should see a hen, they usually get pretty suspicious if there isn't one there. If he hits that suspicious posture, I figure that I don't have anything to lose.

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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Kylimblifter » May 28th, 2020, 7:04 pm

I almost always try to start easing my gun towards the bird as slow as possible. If he goes behind a tree or bush where I’m sure he can’t see me then I’ll swing quickly. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. If I have to swing hard on a bird that doesn’t know I’m there I usually yelp at him while I’m doing it


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RES1956
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by RES1956 » May 28th, 2020, 10:35 pm

I'm one of those guys who should never kill a turkey. I seldom have my gun up or on my knee when working a turkey. I do hunt mostly thick woods here in Alabama, and try to get a decent hide. When the turkeys appear, most are usually in easy range, so I just let them get to where I want to kill them and raise my gun and shoot them. For the most part, they have no idea a bugger is going to get them and if they do notice movement, they will raise their head long enough for me to take a good shot. I think too many folks are afraid to move and try to move very slowly. That has cost me more turkeys than has gained for me.
I did go to a red dot (Burrus FF3) this year and was pleasantly surprised how fast target acquisition was with this gizmo. It has really been a Godsend for my old eyes and really compliments my way of shooting turkeys.
I'm sure my mentors of nearly five decades ago would cringe at my technique, but 48 springs and a whole bunch of turkeys tell me something must be going right.
This may not be for everybody, but it has worked for me.

Prospector
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Prospector » May 30th, 2020, 6:25 am

Sometimes you just get caught out of position and each situation is different. If the bird is strutting or stopping to pick then you can wait and move slow as his head is down or behind obstacles. If he is advancing in a place where there is only air between you and him then wait til he is in gun range, start your movement slow and smooth ( say like 3long seconds to mount, aim and fire). Maybe call as you move to freeze him. Look he’s probably going to see you move but he is expecting to see something ( a hen) move. First second he sees the move, second second he goes , “ahh, there she is....”, third second,” ...heyyy, something ain’t right...”BOOM! The key here is don’t move when he is out of range, don’t move when he’s standing tall and laser beaming your position and by all means don’t make your move quick violent and predatory.
Go early, stay late, keep a low profile, be a student of the woods; listen to what he’s saying, don’t talk too much, and if you’re lucky- you might get a chance....

Swamp Hunter
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Swamp Hunter » May 30th, 2020, 8:21 am

Prospector wrote:
May 30th, 2020, 6:25 am
....and by all means don’t make your move quick violent and predatory.
I think this is a key point. I hunt in the relatively thick woods of south MS and a bird rarely shows up where I'm expecting him to. If I can, I wait until the bird is behind a tree or some obstruction before making my move but if that isn't feasible I've found that a smooth, controlled movement will usually freeze the bird long enough for you to get a shot. He's going to see it, freeze, and maybe putt but his curiousity will get him killed. If you snap the gun to the target like you're shooting ducks they'll usually leave like their tail is on fire and if you try to move at a snails pace the bird will decide to leave before you get around on him. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.

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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by turkeyinstrut » June 1st, 2020, 2:17 pm

Kylimblifter wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 7:04 pm
I almost always try to start easing my gun towards the bird as slow as possible. If he goes behind a tree or bush where I’m sure he can’t see me then I’ll swing quickly. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. If I have to swing hard on a bird that doesn’t know I’m there I usually yelp at him while I’m doing it


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I have used the "yelping at him" technique several times while swinging the gun, not a real fast swing or real slow, just kind of deliberate. It has worked every time I have tried it.........So far.

Fullfan
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Fullfan » June 1st, 2020, 2:45 pm

I have found that you can not quick draw on a gobbler, have had positive results just by swinging the gun ever so slowly. And then saying you should have run prior to pulling the trigger.

Hobbes_mobile
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Hobbes_mobile » June 1st, 2020, 3:11 pm

I either hunt really dumb birds or I'm just wicked fast. I like the sound of wicked fast.

FalconIII
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by FalconIII » June 5th, 2020, 9:36 pm

Thanks to everyone that posted. This is all incredibly helpful information. And is the kind of information that I can’t get anywhere else but here at Gobbler Nation. Thanks all!

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hoobilly
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by hoobilly » June 5th, 2020, 11:14 pm

Hobbes_mobile wrote:
June 1st, 2020, 3:11 pm
I either hunt really dumb birds or I'm just wicked fast. I like the sound of wicked fast.
For me it’s either half deaf turkeys or they think I’m a really sexy hen. More than likely they half deaf but I feel better thinking I can call decent 😆
“Ego is the anesthesia to dull the pain of stupidity”
Spoken by someone smarter than I

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Southern Sportsman
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Re: Before Pulling the Trigger

Post by Southern Sportsman » June 6th, 2020, 1:10 am

It's been covered pretty well already -- no two situations are the same. Over time it becomes instinctive, but if you're fairly new to turkey hunting the reality is you're just going to spook a few figuring it out. A few general beliefs I hold. (1) I've never seen a gobbler go from full-strut to full-tilt outta' Dodge without a pause. In my experience they always pop out of strut and stand tall for a split second before they gather their wits and take off. I don't mean long - maybe not even a full second - but there is a pause. So if you're well practiced with a shotgun and just need a pause to line up and kill him, just raise your gun steady stead and deliberate. Don't rush, but don't waste time. You should have long enough to get off a clean shot. (2) They can be nervous and calm back down, but if they pop/shuffle their wings it's now or never. That seems to be the highest level of nervous they reach before they take off. A snap move and he's going to be sprinting or flying. A steady deliberate move and he's still leaving, but he may just start fast walking that still presents a shot. But a super slow move and he's going to be gone before you ever get the gun on him -- which isn't always bad, especially if it's a turkey you know you can hunt again. To state the obvious, it's better to let him go behind a tree or cover before you move, but they don't always go behind trees when I need them to.
I go stubbornly into error by myself, and reach my own fallacious conclusions using my own faulty data. ~Tom Kelly

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