George Little: Prepare now for turkey season

George Little

Spring fever is approaching epidemic proportions.

The only known cure is to get outside and do something, now that there’s more daylight than darkness.

Turkey season is coming up fast. Whether you have some new places in mind for set-ups or plan to stick with your productive old favorites, go out some evening and look those places over.

Sit down at the base of your favorite tree and check out the shooting lanes. Trim the back branches and clean out the brush that might have grown up between you and last season’s clear shot. Pile the trimmings up in front of your set-up. Make sure you can shoot over them.

Take an old decoy along. Pace off some distances from your set-up and stick the decoy in the ground. Then go back and take a picture of it, so you will know what a turkey looks like when it’s 20, 30 and 40 yards away.

Many hunters think things are farther away than they really are. Those visual references might be a big help when Tom Turkey is not coming any closer, and you’re wondering how close is close enough to take a shot.

Nobody enjoys punishing their shoulders by practicing with 3 1/2-inch turkey loads. Still, it remains a good idea to pattern your gun again just to make sure, especially if you’ve decided that this year you’re going to screw in a tighter choke.

Even though it can get expensive, pattern the shells you’re going be taking to the field. If you don’t do that, you’re beating yourself up for nothing.

Put on your turkey-hunting clothes. Don’t forget your coat. Go outside and set up your decoy.

Make certain your gun is unloaded and keep the chamber open. Sit down and practice mounting your shotgun. Getting your gun to your shoulder with a minimum of effort and movement is an important part of taking a shot that will bag a bird.

The experts say to keep both eyes open and mount your gun with your eyes on the target. In a real hunting situation, you may not have much time to shoot, but you probably have more time than you think.

A good rule of thumb is that you have three seconds between the time you acquire the sight picture and the time you should be squeezing the trigger. Of course, the bird may have something to say about that, and you may have to snap off a shot or hold on target longer before you get the shot you want. Make those scenarios part of your practice.

For many of us, the turkey-hunting window doesn’t stay open long. Preparation and practice can make a big difference when it comes to heating up the peanut oil a couple of weeks from now.

George Little can be reached

State Journal-Register