$ 11 for a shotgun cartridge? Enter the golden age of turkey hunting – Duluth News Tribune


Turkey hunters can be just like any other breed from outdorspeopolis, ranging from absolute minimalists to gimmicky gimmicky trendsetters.

John Myers.

Of course, “spending” is ubiquitous in the great outdoors these days. You see it in the range of ice fishing campers or boat electronics or, heck, even in fishing rods. You can buy a nice fishing rod for $ 50. Or you can spend $ 500 or even $ 5,000.

But in recent years, it’s the turkey hunt that has plunged headlong (some would say off the rails) into increasingly expensive gear, including shotgun shells at $ 11 apiece and decoys at $ 200. $.

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Browning’s new Super Tungsten Turkey Hunting Loads cost $ 55 for a box of five 3.5-inch 12-gauge shells. Photo courtesy of Browning Ammo

Yes, $ 11 rifle cartridges. Federal Premium TSS (Tungsten Super Shot) Heavy Turkey Loads are available at national sporting goods retailers for between $ 38 for a box of five 12-gauge 3-inch loads to $ 48 for a box of five loads. 3.5 inch. The same retailers sell Browning TSS Tungsten Turkey Shot for $ 40 for a box of five 3-inch 12-gauge cartridges and $ 55 for 3.5-inch shells. It’s $ 11 each shell. Plus taxes. (For comparison, for those of you who don’t shoot, the average shotgun cartridge for trap shooting or grouse hunting is around 25 cents. Duck and pheasant loads cost one. just over 50 cents each. So far, premium turkey fillers cost around $ 1- $ 1.50 each.)

Will turkey hunters exceed the price of $ 11 per shell as they say in the retail trade?

“Federal Premium is the ultimate in turkey fillers. The incredibly high pellet count in the 7 and 9 shots, along with the ability to carry energy further, make them ideal for 12 and 20 and .410 calibers. Tungsten Super Shot has 22% heavier density than heavy shot and 56% heavier density than traditional lead shot. She puts the maximum amount of pellets possible in a circle of 10 “to 40 yards … Long-range turkeys don’t stand a chance.”

Do they work? Probably. From the stories I’ve read in some hunting posts, the new long-range shells have dense patterns at all ranges and hold energy well beyond 40 yards, which was once thought to be the general limit of a sure shot. Literature now says that 60 yards “is the new 40”, and some claim that the shells can cleanly kill turkeys at 70 yards or more. (Be aware that you have to hit a turkey in the head or neck with several pellets for a clean kill, their heavy feathers protect their body.)

Are the new seashells worth it? I do not know. I’ve never spent more than $ 1.50 on a load of turkey and am not planning on doing it anytime soon. I’ve slaughtered over a dozen turkeys over the past 30 years – from 10 to 50 yards – and never thought I needed better shells. I might suggest that hunters camouflage themselves better, stay still, and call before attempting to catch birds traditionally considered out of range.

The last few years have also seen a huge increase in the availability of extremely detailed turkey decoys made of all manner of materials – simulating resting hens, crying hens and hens ready to mate. There is also a trend for full size Tom and Jake decoys in various strut states. (When I first started hunting turkeys using the Tom decoys, it was taboo lest another hunter would try to shoot him down and hit you. Apparently that’s no longer a problem.)

The same national outdoor retailer sells a single Oregon-based Dave Smith Decoys Jake Strutter lure for $ 199. A mating pair costs $ 299. Or buy a flock of four decoys for $ 489.

“Made from a powdered, pigmented and ultra-durable version of DSD’s proprietary ACE resin, the specialty bodies actually close their own surfaces for a worry-free, no-hesitation shooting experience,” the lure’s description reads. in the catalog. “Lightweight, compact and quiet, these field proven lures come equipped with highly detailed and true-to-nature looks and poses.”

On the other end of the spectrum is the foam lure I bought at Fleet Farm last week for $ 7.99 (on sale). It looks pretty good. Folds into your turkey jacket or jacket pocket. I have killed most of my turkeys near foam lures which never cost more than $ 15. They end up breaking down after a few years so I replace them occasionally. Would more realistic and expensive lures work better? Probably. Are they necessary? Of course not.

Sometimes it seems like in a world of outdoor opportunities rushed between work and family life, we’re drawn to trying to buy our carpentry points rather than earning them. Of course, if you have the extra money, spend it. Enjoy. But if I had one wish for turkey season this year, it wouldn’t be a fancy new lure, $ 11 shotgun cartridge, or electronic scope on my shotgun. That would be having a lot more free time to spend in the turkey woods.

But it’s something that money can’t buy. At least not yet.

Spring turkey hunting seasons in Minnesota and Wisconsin began last Wednesday and continued through May.

Browning's New Super Tungsten Turkey Hunting Loads cost $ 55 for a box of five 3.5

Browning’s new Super Tungsten Turkey Hunting Loads cost $ 55 for a box of five 3.5-inch 12-gauge shells at a national retailer. It’s $ 11 per shell. Photo courtesy of Browning Ammo Co.

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