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I have a stupid question about shot size

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I have a stupid question about shot size

Old 03-25-2009, 06:39 PM
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Nontypical Buck
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Default I have a stupid question about shot size

I've been hunting for 37 years now but I'm new to turkey hunting so don't chastiseme too bad for asking this. Why do we beat ourselves up with pattern density and head shots? Why aren't we using larger shot and taking body shots? I know that some states have pellet size restrictions that force us into hunting this way, but why. I can imagine a gobbler being any tougher to kill than a large canadian goose or one of those sand hill cranes that they hunt in Texas. Would either lead or hevishot in BB or T shot do the trick?
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:39 PM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

No, those feathers act like a flak jacket! ...that and the vitals are protected by about 3 inches of breast meat and a wide keel. You want to break their neck or penetrate the brain pan on a turkey. Also, if you aim at the head, you are wasting half of your pattern, so the aimpoint is right where the feathers meet bare skin on their neck -- right at the waddles. Go get 'em!
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Old 03-25-2009, 07:51 PM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

ORIGINAL: barefoot

No, those feathers act like a flak jacket! ...that and the vitals are protected by about 3 inches of breast meat and a wide keel. You want to break their neck or penetrate the brain pan on a turkey. Also, if you aim at the head, you are wasting half of your pattern, so the aimpoint is right where the feathers meet bare skin on their neck -- right at the waddles. Go get 'em!

Exactly!
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:03 AM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

I can't imagine a gobbler being any tougher to kill than a large canadian goose or one of those sand hill cranes that they hunt in Texas.
You better believe they are tougher to kill with a body shot. Most states restrict you to number 4 shotor smaller. And that's just too small to insure consistent penetration on body shots. I wouldn't try it with even bigger shot. Oh sure they might eventually die from such a shot. After they ran or flew 200 yards with their feathers soaking up all the blood leaving virtually no blood trail. And then crawling into the center of a downed tree top or a thicket never to be found.

It's amazing how their feathers can slow or stop shotgun pellets. I have shot them at 40 yards with no 4's and had the lower part of my pattern hit the lower feathered part of their neck and upper chest. Of course the middle and upper portions of the pattern killed them. But when cleaning them later Iwas always surprized to see how little penetration the lower neck pellets achieved. It was almost never enough to have killed them cleanly.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:54 AM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

Thanks guys, I was just curious. Tuesday I had a gobbler and a sand hill crane in front of me at the same time and the crane dwarfed the turkey, and I know that they wingshoot the cranes in Texas.
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Old 03-26-2009, 06:37 AM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

Shot larget than 4 is illegal in most states. Several threads about this in the past few days.

In Tennessee its 4 shot or smaller.

The idea is to get the max number of hits in the head/neck, breaking bones and disrupting the function of the turkeys central nervous system. The more hits the better, hence the obsession over maximizing pattern denisity.
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

Shot size restrictions are for safety. A camoflaged hunter taking a load of #4's from a yahoo shooting at his deke is gonna get pretty hurt, but pretty hurt hunter is better than pretty dead one. Of course you can die from #4's, but you have a better chance. And before anyone says, yeah, that will never happen, it has and does happen more often than you think. Someone took a shot at my friend's B-Mobile last year, and luckily my friend only got peppered with bark from the tree that got hit and didn't take any pellets.
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Old 03-26-2009, 11:55 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

You are comparing apples to oranges. You're knocking geese and cranes out of the air. Unless you hit either in the head/neck they come down alive. Most of them come down because you break a wing and they hit the ground alive, neither use their legs as an escape mechanism so it doesn't matter. They can take a lot of shot if to the body and usually just keep on going, or come down 1/4 mile away. You also have to figure in that the goose or crane takes a significant amount of shock when they hit the ground from 30 yards up.

Break a wing on a turkey and he'll be in the next county in short order by foot. To incapacitate a turkey you need to break both legs and a wing, hard to do with a body shot. Personally I've always been in the smaller shot/more pellets camp for shotgun hunting. I know my range and like my increase in odds with more pellets.
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Old 03-26-2009, 12:20 PM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

Mez is correct.

The wing butts on turkeys are like riot shields..... and they will stop pellets with shocking effeciency.

When a bird is in flight, he is showing you his underside.... which allows you to slide one into the vitals under the wing... where the breast is thin, and there are very few feathers. But even at that... it is a low percentage shot at best.... and often its nothing but luck found shooting too far behind.

When I'm waterfowl hunting.... I shoot them in the head.... or at least I try too. I don't like chomping down on metal at meal time. The head shot on a turkey is really the highest percentage shot, the most ethical shot, and certainly among the more lethal of shots to take.
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Old 03-27-2009, 12:06 PM
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Default RE: I have a stupid question about shot size

All that has been mentioned, plus it's a pain trying to get all those feathers cleaned out of the breast meat once they've been driven in by the pellets. Been there, done that. No more.....
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