Getting Ready For Turkey Shoots

Be prepared to be a winner

Check your gun

Check your gun to make sure it's in good, safe working order. Choke tubes and drop-ins should be hand tightened and lined up with a predetermined scribe mark. Check after each round.

Practice with the correct shell size

Make sure you practice with the correct shell size for your gun and shot size for the shoot that you are planning to attend. Use only the shell your gun is marked for, 12 gauge is used at most Turkey Shoots with a maximum barrel length of 36 inches. The shell shot size at most shoots can be 7-1/2's, 8's, 9's or 2-2-10's. The most popular shell is the number 9 shot size and shells by either Federal Top Gun, Winchester AA's or Wagner Skeet 9's. Some shoots offer a choice of shell brands. For some shoots, it's just whatever is on sale. Allow 3 practice shots if they don't have your shell brand.

Find a safe place to shoot

If you are not at a shoot house find a safe place to shoot, such as a public shooting range or other location with a sufficient backstop and a guarantee that nothing will cross your line of fire.

Shooting on private land

If you plan to do your shooting on private land, get permission. If on public land, check the laws governing it. Trespassing with a firearm is a felony!

Use a solid rest, take your time

Use a solid rest, and take your time. Before each shot, take a deep breath, let half of it out, and then hold it. DON'T FLINCH or jerk the trigger expecting the recoil kick. Squeeze it slow and easy not expecting when it will fire and you won't flinch.

Check if you flinch

To check if you flinch, have someone take 5 shells, 1 will have been shot and the crimp folded back like a normal shell. They load your gun several times, you not knowing when the dummy shell is in the chamber. See if you flinch on the dummy shell. You can also have another shooter fire your gun a couple of times. Check their cards against yours.

Illustration: Smiling turkey shoot winner, leaning back relaxed with  one foot up, watching the next round
Smiling turkey shoot winner

At your shoot's practice round

At your shoot's practice round, fire two or three shots dead center and note their pattern location on the turkey shoot targets. If they are fairly close together, you're ready to shoot. Have a cup of coffee, a donut, and relax. Nose around and check out other shooter's practice cards. How do you and your gun compare? Check about the side bets, most are not cut and which rounds the pools will be on, how much to get in and what will the payout be after the cut.

Accuracy is paramount

Accuracy is paramount to shotgun firing. Knowing how to adjust the sights on your shotgun is important. Adjusting the sights on your shotgun can be simple. They will help you have a better understanding of your gun and get the most shot in the turkey shoot target's bulls eye. A lot of shooters will move the point of aim to another spot on the target during the shooting match. This is called chasing the pattern. A NO NO! Stay on center and keep all your shot cards. Compare overall and readjust after the shoot is over. You may have to stay a bit longer after the shoot to go through the Gun Patterning Steps. You can be a WINNER!