Gearing Up for Merriam's Turkeys

by
posted on May 18, 2015
gearing_up_merriams_f.jpg

Editor's Note: Bryce Towsley discusses the gear he used on his recent Merriam's turkey hunt, detailed here.

While Merriam’s turkeys live in wide-open spaces and are known for pushing hunters to take long shots, I think the longest shot we took at one was maybe 20 yards. Most were 10 to 15 yards. Bringing them in so close with aggressive calling and Cally Morris’ decoying methods makes for heart-pounding, can’t-breathe, adrenaline-rush turkey hunting.

The trouble is, it’s the close birds that you miss. The “pattern” from a turkey gun at 10 yards is only a few inches wide and a turkey head is a small, always moving target. Over the years I have learned that an optical sight on a turkey gun is by far the best option to reduce misses. You still have hunter error. No optic can fix panic-infused stupidity, and every turkey hunter on Earth is going to experience that now and then. But the optic eliminates aiming errors common to shotguns with beads.

I used a Franchi Intensity shotgun in Realtree Xtra Green camo, equipped with the new Weaver KASPA 1X-4X-24mm turkey scope with the Vertical Zone Turkey reticle.

I stoked it with Federal Mag-Shok Heavyweight 1 5/8-ounce No. 6 shot. If you have never hunted with tungsten-based, Heavyweight turkey loads, you will not believe how deadly these pellets can be. They simply switch off turkeys. 

We were filming, so I had to look pretty. I draped myself head to toe in Bass Pro Redhead clothing in Realtree patterns. I looked like a newbie out there in my unsullied camo, but I got it blood-stained pretty fast. I can say without reservation that it’s great hunting gear.

Latest

Review Stevens 334 Safety
Review Stevens 334 Safety

Review: Stevens 334

The Stevens 334 is a robust, all-purpose hunting rifle built to get the job done without subjecting folks to the expense associated with features they can do without, and it does so while being much more than a bare-bones build.

A One-and-Done Black Bear Hunt

A dog hunt for an Arizona black bear with a magnum wheelgun proves you can’t pack too big a punch.

Lessons Learned from a Grizzly Bear Attack on the Kenai

In November 2012, Blake Gettys was tending his trap line in Alaska when a grizzly attacked him. Now, the victim and his storyteller examine the event in detail to determine what, if anything, could have gone better.

Effective Hand Calls for Predator Hunting

Hand calls shouldn’t be relegated to the dust bin just yet. Unlike an electronic call, a couple of calls around your neck provide an inexpensive, lightweight and simple-to-master orchestra of sounds on a predator hunt.

Nebraska: A Mountain Lion on the Eighth Green

The appearance of a cougar on a Nebraska golf course during a high school tournament focuses attention on activists who have prevented earnest hunting seasons for the big cats as their numbers grow.

#SundayGunday: Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum

Get a closer look at the Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Interests



Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.