- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Spent a week in South Carolina taking care of some family business. On the way back I stopped at a bait and tackle shop just outside of Tazwell, Tennessee.
While “looking around” in the shop I kept hearing what sounded like shotguns going off…a bunch of shotguns. Way too many to be hunting anything!
Guy running the shop obviously saw that I was wondering what was going on and said “turkey shoot out back.”
Now a turkey shoot “used” to be just what it sounds like…they actually shot turkeys.
This mostly southern tradition goes back to the days of at least Daniel Boone and the Flintlock rifle. Originally, a live turkey would be put in a wooden box with a hole in the top just big enough for the turkey to stick its head thru.
The “shooter” had to stand at the ready till the turkey decided to pop up and look around, and in doing so became a moving target!
Reflexes and accuracy required in the field was somewhat duplicated in this game.
Course the turkey was the ultimate loser with the “marksman” winning bragging rights…and supper!
Fast forward to today: Paper targets (no live turkeys) are set in a frame at a standard distance. “Standard Distance” means I don’t really know how far away the targets are!
Anyway, each shooter pays a standard fee. *“Standard fee” means…you know what it means!
For a standard fee you get one *shotgun shell and the right to shoot your target.
*Shells are provided so everyone shoots a *standard load…never mind.
The shooters line up, aim their shotguns and fire. The winner is determined by either the number of pellets in a standard size circle or the target with a pellet closest to the exact center of the target…marked by a dot, a very small dot!
Winner gets bragging rights and a turkey, ham, side of bacon or money…just whatever they’re shooting for!
When I’ve competed in turkey shoots we used “off the shelf guns/chokes.” Not so with these guys…they were way serious!
Picture your basic break action, single shot 12-gauge shotgun. Now picture that action sporting a 40-plus inch custom, stainless steel, heavy, fluted barrel.
Put in a custom adjustable target trigger and top it off with a six to 18-power high dollar scope and mounts.
Some guys had two custom barrels, one for “set” distance and another, with custom chokes, for varying distance, air pressure and shell quality…honest!
Guys said barrels could run $1,000.00 to $1,500.00 each!
That would buy a lot of turkeys…but not the most important element, bragging rights!
These guys were really serious and I was led to understand this is a year-round, circuit running game with these guys.
I know I said this was a “southern thing,” so before anyone feels the need to correct me, I have watched and participated in turkey shoots around here…but it’s been years ago!
As best I can remember, Curtis Evans had a pump-action 12-gauge that more than paid for itself with the number of birds that he, Butch and Joe won with it!
Deer season opens Saturday. There’ll be a lot of hunters in our woods and, as usual, a percentage of them shouldn’t be in the woods…especially with a gun!
Not saying the unethical hunter is you. Just saying a bullet can travel for miles and still inflict serious injury. Be careful out there; know what you’re shooting at and what’s beyond your target.
Be safe, be courteous and stay legal!
Canada Goose season opens Nov. 23 with ducks opening on Thanksgiving Day. There is a two per day limit on the Canada’s and with ducks; it varies by species and gender.
Word of advice: Get the waterfowl guide, study it, learn it, adhere to it!
Guess that’s it for now. Get out, enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer, stay safe and I’ll see ya next week!