As any readers of the Mossberg blogs know, I have an undying love for fall turkey hunting. It’s the chase, the challenge of out-smarting these birds and learning to call. When all of these things come together for a successful hunt, there is no greater feeling. That said, I end up empty handed on most of my solo turkey adventures.
With that, I truly love fall turkey hunting in states like Colorado where the playing field is somewhat leveled for hunters like me in that rifles are a legal method of take. Don’t get me wrong, I am always up for a challenge. But I can’t lie… I get a little excited knowing I can actually have a fighting chance against these wily Colorado Merriams in fall. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic opportunity to bag that Thanksgiving turkey.
Please note: it is the hunters responsibility to read and know the regulations for his/her state. Ensure you fully understand legal methods of take, bag limits and season dates. Additionally, in states like Colorado, a hunter may shoot a hen or a tom. While many hunters prefer not to shoot hens, I can attest to the fact that a hen is quite tasty.
Fall turkey hunting can have its challenges. The birds are not as responsive to calls, thus locating them is somewhat difficult. Then, once located, they may or may not respond. It can indeed be quite difficult to get a bird into shotgun range. Often, the art of locating flocks of turkeys in the west is a matter of putting in scouting time, busting flocks and a small amount of luck and happenstance. With these challenges noted, I have to admit that being able to put a big, ole gobbler in the scope is quite exciting.
Hunting in states that do not allow baiting of any sort can make any sort of turkey hunting even more challenging. It is essentially a spot and stalk hunt, which I personally find to be great fun despite the challenges. Birds may be located in difficult to access areas where shotgun or archery shots would be an impossibility. I have personally located flocks of turkeys feeding their way up open, rocky hillsides, across ravines and in deep timber with a lot of blow down. None of these circumstances were conducive to an ethical shotgun kill, but were indeed doable with a rifle.
I, like many hunters, find that my turkey hunting time is very limited due to the fact that many big game seasons are going on at the same time. Now, I love fall turkey hunting… but certainly wouldn’t pass up an elk hunt in favor of a turkey hunt. I am often limited to a one weekend excursion with the hopes of bagging a bird and the pressure of filling that tag is eased a bit with the opportunity to utilize a rifle for the hunt. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to pop a wayward coyote should one appear.
While there are many rifle options out there, I prefer to use my Mossberg MVP Predator .223 for my turkey hunting options.
It has more than enough knock down at a bit of a distance, but doesn’t destroy the meat of the bird. Use of a bipod actually helps during the turkey seasons as I often find myself shooting from a prone position. With an overall weight of about 7-lbs, it is a good weight if I am doing a lot of hiking. Again, refer to the regulations in your state for specifics about legal ammunition. In Colorado, bullets must be a minimum of 7 grains with manufacturer’s energy rating of at least 110 foot-pounds at 100 yards from muzzle.
So with that, go on out and check your state regulations. If you are like me, you can’t resist the thought of a bird with the thrill of using a rifle. Give it a whirl!