About six years ago I started using sights on my turkey shotgun and haven’t looked back. Why the switch? Well, it comes down to a couple of misses where I simply got excited and didn’t really focus on getting my cheek down on the gun. I wasn’t even sure what I had done wrong, but it was an easy shot. I was excited, and the turkey got away. In the interest of now making things as easy as possible for myself, I’ve become a huge fan of putting turkey sights on guns, especially for new hunters.
I came to the realization that in my big-game hunting I’ve become accustomed to using a scope. With this in mind, I decided I needed to find a better method. I tried a low-power scope for a while, but I didn’t like the fact that I always had to check each state’s regulation on permitting magnification. Instead, I started looking into no-magnification holographic sights that are often used on turkey guns. I settled in on an EOTech because of it durability and simplicity to mount it to my gun—and even switch between guns as needed.
I primarily shoot a Winchester SX3 or SX4 NWTF Cantilever Turkey Gun. It comes with a rail so the EOTech snaps on tight and I’m set in a matter of a couple shots. But not all turkey guns have a rail. For instance, I planned to my Winchester SX4 Waterfowl Edition, so I brought it to my local gunsmith to have it tapped and drilled so I could top it with a rail. So if your current setup doesn’t feature a rail, you can add one.
The EOTech is actually a holographic sight, so even if my gun isn’t perfectly square with the world, my shot will be spot on. To me this was a game changer because it made it so simple and so similar to all my other hunting. Settle down, put the dot where the feathers meet the head and squeeze. I also recommend this sight for new hunters because its easy for them to understand what is necessary for them to take a clean shot. With standard sights, it’s often difficult to explain the concepts of having their cheek down on the gun, or lining up their front sight and back sight. With this sight, I just instruct them to put the dot where they want the bulk of their pattern to hit.
I’m also a huge believer in using shooting sticks—always. Not only does it help keep movement to a minimum as a firearm is already setup and in the ready position, but it keeps the shooter so much more steady. I use the BOG Death Grip, as it locks a gun in place and allows the hunter to be hands free when setup. Once the gobbler is coming in, hunters can get in and shoulder the gun or slowly re-situate, but they’re not picking it up all the way from the ground trying to get setup.
With this in mind, hunters do need to pattern their gun with the loads with which they intend on hunting. Take it to the range and either put up a turkey target or draw one on a piece of paper. Ensure that the bulk of the pattern is hitting right where you aimed. Also practice shooting at various distances so you can understand the limitations of your setup and ensure quick, clean and ethical shot.