© 2013 Aaron Atkinson

Five Shots of Wild Turkey

One of my favorite things of being a Kansas bird hunter is never really know what kind of bird will be at the end of Indie’s point. Most often it’s either a pheasant or a covey of quail, but every once in a while something takes us by surprise. Last season it was a prairie chicken. Two weeks ago it was a turkey.

We were quail hunting, so my Wingmaster was filled with five shells of light a load appropriate for the quail’s small stature. So when the turkey rocketed out of a small patch of grass I knew immediately that I was undergunned – kind of like trying to shoot down a jumbo jet with a handful of sand. So I made up for my lack of firepower by doing something I’ve never done in all the years I’ve been bird hunting, I emptied all five shells, round after round, at the bird.

Turkeys are tough. The optimal shot hits them in the head. But they’re also big and it takes them some time to get their heft into the air. And I used every second available to try to bring the bird back to earth. While all five shots knocked off feathers, it was the fifth and final shot that took out a wing and sent the bird crashing back down into the dry riverbed it had originated from.


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