Nebraska’s spring turkey season is still going strong. You have until the May 31 to take your gobbler!
When most people think of spring turkey hunting, they think of a camouflaged hunter in the woods with a shotgun. Most often that shotgun is a 12 gauge and there are many articles extolling the virtues of a 12 gauge shotgun for turkey hunting.
But what if you don’t like recoil? What if you want to hunt with a 20 gauge? Over the past few years, a lot of great advances have been made with the ballistics of 20 gauge shells.
For example…Federal Premium Ammunition has a 20 gauge Mag Shot shotshell with what the company calls a FLITECONTROL wad. I have used this shell for several years and I really like it.
This shotshell has a pellet density of 15 grams per cubic centimeter. That is a third more dense than lead. That translates to pellets that hit longer and harder than what you may be using now.
This turkey hunting load leaves the muzzle at 1100 feet-per-second. With this kind of velocity and a heavier mass, not only does this shell hit hard, but has more penetration.
Another thing I noticed about some of the new shotshells is that you don’t need quite as tight a choke to create dense patterns. This is due to the computer designed shot wads and various buffering materials. All this engineering adds up to keeping the shot together longer and not allowing it to spread out.
I’ve tested several brands of shotshells in size 5 and 6 shot and I have been very impressed on how many pellets I could put in the vital area of a turkey target. I tested this load out to 40 yards. I convinced myself that I would not hesitate to pull the trigger if I had a gobbler at this distance, maybe as far out as 50 yards.
One note of caution…Federal also has a new shotshell called the 3rd Degree that blends three different shot sizes. The shot column consists of 20 percent by weight of #6 FLITESTOPPER shot, then 40 percent #5 lead shot, and finally 40 percent #7 HEAVYWEIGHT shot, to carry the pattern out to the long distances. The caution is with the #7 shot. Nebraska turkey hunting regulations say that #7 ½ is the smallest shot size that is legal for use. Technically, this shotshell is illegal in Nebraska.
Winchester has improved its 20 gauge line up with the Winchester Long Beard XR load. Their secret, they use a resin to hold the shot column together, increasing the distance at which it can be lethal. Shot-Lok Technology, as it is called, is also in the varmint and upland bird shotshell lines, but I think it is best suited for turkey hunting. They are available is 12 gauge loads as well in 4, 5 and 6 shot sizes.
Good Luck with your remaining turkey season!
May is designated American Wetlands Month. We hear all the time that wetlands are important, but what is a wetland, really…and what do they do for us? Here are a few things they do:
Wetlands are unique ecosystems that are inundated by water. They offer matchless habitats, some are one-of-a-kind habitats that offer home to the many species, they filter water, they provide a natural buffer from storms; absorb the energy and millions of gallons of flood waters that could do great harm if not for a wetland buffer.
Any place that holds standing water, year-round or seasonally, can be a wetland.