It’s not a matter of “if” something will go wrong during a spring turkey hunting trip. It’s a matter of “when?” or “what?” will go wrong. More often than not, turkey hunting catastrophes will occur with impeccably terrible timing. Some of these events can be prevented, while others are at the mercy of the gobbler gods.
Here’s one preventative measure (within your power) you can take: Always bring a backup gun.
I’ve seen and heard horror stories, time and time again, about guns turning into paperweights during hunts. Most often, it’s hunter error or ignorance (more on that to come in a future blog post) that results in a “broken” gun. Occasionally, it’s actually the gun’s fault.
A friend of mine was hunting snow geese in South Dakota last spring. His shotgun started to repeatedly jam and he couldn’t find a fix. A single-shot shotgun is essentially worthless during the thick of a spring snow goose hunt. Nobody had a backup gun in camp, so he was forced to drive hours to the nearest sporting goods store and buy a new gun. A couple of hours stolen from a weekend hunt are priceless.
To get back to the turkey side of things, my recent beard-busting trip to Nebraska provided more anecdotal evidence that a backup gun is a necessity. Pete, a new turkey hunter, brought his “trusty” waterfowl shotgun along with hopes of shooting a much grander game bird on the ground. Our other friend (the same guy from the snow goose incident above), Branigan, brought an Undertaker choke tube for Pete to pop into his barrel. The night before our hunt, rather than arm-wrestle each other, we fought with the (unknown constriction) choke tube in Pete’s duck gun. After bending a nickel and my choke tube wrench, we finally gave up. Luckily, two guns were in my case: a Remington Versa Max and a TriStar Hunter Mag. Pete killed his first-ever turk—a strutting jake with a mature gobble—2 days later with my Versa Max.
It’s turkey hunting. If it can happen, it will. If it can’t happen, it will. Always plan to bring a backup gun … or two.