With each new spring comes yet another opportunity for the veteran turkey hunter to be humiliated by a bird that’s dumb enough to be duped into lovin’ up a piece of foam, yet more than smart enough to send us on many, many walks back to the truck with our tails tucked between our legs.
Each new spring also brings with it the opportunity to make wise use of those gift cards we’ve been hoarding since Christmas. New gear and lots of it. That’s what turkey hunting is all about.
Rather than simply run down the list of what’s hot and new, I thought I’d put a different twist on the same old gear roundup. So let’s do this: Let’s pretend the nation’s economy isn’t in a freefall and imagine for a moment that President Obama’s stimulus package included a turkey hunter’s allowance designed to outfit each of us with an entirely new arsenal for the season.
BOOM, BOOM, BOOM
Benelli offers some of the best turkey guns for guys like me. You know, guys that would rather spend far more time getting guns dirty than cleaning them.
Bennelli has a couple of new options worth checking out.
The Super Black Eagle II is a smooth-operating autoloader that comes dressed in Realtree AP. You have two options for stocks—the Steadygrip or the Comfortech. The Steadygrip ($1,680) is a pistol-grip stock that’s comfortable and easy to handle.
The Comfortech ($1,759) features gel inserts in the butt pad and stock and, when combined with the gas-operated cycling action, greatly reduces the punishment delivered by high-velocity turkey loads.
If your stimulus package is a bit more reserved, you can get the same configurations in Bennelli’s pump-action Supernova ($599 for Comfortech, $618 for Steadygrip).
For information and specs, visit www.benelliusa.com.
For years, I’ve been toting a classic Mossberg 500 to the woods. It might be time for an upgrade.
Mossberg has unveiled the new 935 Magnum. The gun features Mossberg’s new self-regulating gas system that makes the autoloader cycle reliably while reducing recoil.
It also has a pistol grip stock and a specially angled receiver that makes target acquisition quick and comfortable.
You can get the gun, which will handle 3 ½-inch loads, in Realtree Hardwoods HD Green or Max-4.
Check it out at www.mossberg.com.
We’ve all heard about multi-tasking. Well, the new Remington 887 Nitro Mag Waterfowl plays that game. Yes, it’s dubbed a waterfowl gun. It will make one heck of a turkey gun as well.
For starters, it’s a Remington pump so you know it’s going to cycle and perform.
But what’s cool about this gun is the fact that it features Remington’s new ArmorLokt coating which is a polymer armor that makes the gun impervious to weather, moisture and all but the hardest knocks. It won’t rest. Ever.
It comes with a waterfowl-specific choke but you can easily swap it out for your favorite turkey choke and it’s dressed in Realtree’s Max-4. The turkeys won’t mind being smacked by a gun built for ducks. Trust me on that one. Check it out at www.remington.com
LOADS OF FUN
You’ll need some shells to fire through that new gun and there are some new options for 2009.
Federal now offers its Mag-Shok HEAVYWEIGHT loads in 10- and 20-guage as well as the standard 12-guage loads. The shells feature dense HEAVYWEIGHT shot and the FLITECONTROL wad. The 10-guage is available in 3 ½-inch shells with two ounces of shot while the 20-guage is available in a 3-inch version with 1 ½-oz. of shot.
Federal is also offering its Mag-Shot Lead loads in 3½-inch 10- and 3-inch 20-guage shells. For details, visit www.FederalPremium.com.
Another great load to try out this spring is the Xtended Range HD Turkey from Winchester. Available in a variety of load selections, this turkey killer is one of the more popular loads on the market. Xtended Range Hi-Density shot pellets weigh more than lead, allowing for better downrange performance and a quick kill. Check out www.winchester.com for more information.
You’ve got the gun, got the shells, now you need to hit that bird in the beak. Tru-Glo, www.truglo.com, has a new multi-reticle red-dot sight that features dual-color illumination, four reticle styles and has five brightness settings.
If you prefer a more standard sight, Tru-Glo has a new fiber-optic bead sight that uses tritium to increase the brightness of the pin even in low-light conditions.
Binoculars may not be on your list of must-have turkey hunting tools. But a good binocular can help you spot distant birds, tell whether that strutter is a longbeard or a jake and it can help you spot roosted birds from afar.
Nikon’s new Monarch X is one to check out. Fully multi-coated and with enhanced new lenses, the X is an affordable binocular that performs really well in low light. The 8.5X45 is ideal for turkey season and weighs less than 26 ounces so it won’t weigh down your vest. Check the specs at www.nikonsportoptics.com.
When it comes to turkey hunting, scouting out for new gear to cram into your vest or throw over your shoulder is half the fun. Begin your shopping now. Or if the tough times have got you on a tight budget, then make your wish list for the future. Keeping up with the latest goods will make you a better turkey hunter, but it’s still up to you to make the shot count. Technology will never cure that.