Never Lose Another Fish Fight Again

Never Lose Another Fish Fight Again

Knots fail. Leaders snap. Lures pop free. Whatever the reason, if you spend enough time on the water, you’re going to lose fish—probably some big ones to boot. Even the pros suffer break-offs.

But not too often, because they learn from their mistakes. Here, six of the best share some of those painful lessons so you’re never deprived of another grip-and-grin shot again.

Largemouth Bass

A trophy largemouth takes flight.
. Field & Stream

Guide: Bernie Schultz

Home Waters: North-Central Florida

Credentials: Pro for more than 35 years

Tough Break: On the final day of a big BASS tournament on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, Schultz was in position to take first place and walk away with the prize money. “I had a strong bite going,” he says, “working a Rapala minnow far ahead of the boat, in a boat trail that cut through a massive field of mixed ­vegetation—pads, grass, and reeds. Then I hooked a huge female largemouth that headed straight for cover to bury herself deep in dollar pads.”

Instead of going toward the fish, Schultz tried to yank the lunker free—and his 14-pound mono snapped. “It was a rookie mistake,” he says. “That fish would have won me the event.”

Lesson Learned: “Often, bass anglers after big fish are flipping in heavy cover,” Schultz says. “That frequently leads to fish that become caught in matted milfoil, lily pads, reeds, or flotsam. That’s when many anglers tend to do the wrong thing—trying to muscle a trophy bass out of the cover. Rarely does anything good happen from that.”

In fact, Schultz goes on to explain, when a largemouth bass is pinned in the weeds, that can work to your advantage. “For some reason,” he says, “when they’re stuck, big fish often stop thrashing and just sort of sit there.”

Seeing the fish and its situation can allow a fisherman or his partner to reach down and get a good hold on the largemouth. Of course, bass are often hooked in relatively open water. That’s when Schultz’s other go-to tip for fighting trophy fish comes into play. “Anytime during the fight you feel that fish rising to the surface like it’s going to jump,” he says, “get your rod tip in the water.” Doing this rolls the fish downward and keeps it from breaking the surface—and possibly spitting the lure. But Schultz adds that you shouldn’t “bow to the king,” as anglers do for leaping tarpon. Instead, keep the line tight as you dip the rod.

Steelhead

Steelhead put up tremendous flights.
. Field & Stream

Guide: Frank Campbell

Home Waters: Niagara Region of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and the Niagara River

Credentials: Guide for 30 years

Tough Break: Frank Campbell recalls a day on the Niagara River nearly 20 years ago. He and a friend were catching steelhead on light lines, 6- and 8-pound-test, and with very small Rapala Origi­nal Floating Minnows. Late in the day, Campbell’s buddy hooked a solid fish. “But by that time, we were drifting toward a really turbulent stretch,” Campbell says, “and we saw that it was a big fish, probably 23 pounds.” With the boat spinning in the rushing current, the angler tried to put some heat on the monster. When one of the lure’s hook points snagged in the net’s mesh, the big fish—not yet tired out—thrashed enough to tear loose and was gone.

Lesson Learned: Looking back on that memorable failure, Campbell says the current really forced their hand. Normally, when fishing calmer water, he reminds his anglers to slow things down and finesse the fight whenever they hook big fish. “I’ve landed brown trout more than 30 pounds on little lines like that by taking my time,” he says. If they’d been able to take their time in this case, Campbell is nearly certain they would’ve landed the tired fish. Campbell notes that most anglers have a natural inclination to try a bit too hard, particularly when they know a steelhead or any trout could be a trophy and much is at stake. “Don’t rush it, and you’ll land that fish,” Campbell says. “More big fish are lost when an angler tries to rush them to the net than for any other reason.” He also believes the loss of that fish might have been avoided if they had upsized the hooks on the small lures that were proving successful. Larger hooks would’ve ensured more purchase in the big fish’s mouth, which might have kept that trophy buttoned on when it thrashed at the net.

Walleyes

To land big walleyes, it helps to have a net with a long handle.
. Field & Stream

Guide: Ross Robertson

Home Waters: Lake Erie, Ohio

Credentials: Guide for more than 20 years

Tough Break: Robertson and a friend had lucked into a school of giant walleyes. They’d already caught 23 fish over 10 pounds when both anglers hooked up again. As Robertson netted his, a 14-pounder, he saw his partner’s walleye near the boat—and it was much bigger. “The biggest walleye I’ve ever seen,” he says. Robertson called out, “Stand by! I’m trying to get this fish free of the net!” Just about then, he heard his buddy’s lure whack the outboard cowling after it flew out of the immense fish’s mouth.

Lesson Learned: Looking back, Robertson wishes he’d reminded his partner to go slower in getting the fish to the net. “As anglers, we tend to push fish too much to get them to the boat,” he says, “especially when we see a big one.” Given how hard the lure struck the motor when it popped out, he’s positive that his buddy put too much pressure on the fish.

“Giant walleyes often fight very little, so a fresh trophy can catch us off guard when it suddenly comes alive at the boat,” he says. Robertson adds that although braided line was key to getting deep for the bite, its lack of stretch also requires more vigilance on the part of an angler when fighting a fish. Since that loss of a possible record walleye, Robertson now keeps two nets on board. He makes sure those nets are big, with wide mesh, which creates less drag in the water. And they should have long handles. A 9-foot handle, for example, allows you to reach out and net the fish sooner than you could with a 3-footer. Reaching a fish that much sooner could make the difference between a fish in the net and a potentially perilous boatside lunge.

Channel Catfish

A fat cat gets released.
. Field & Stream

Guide: Brad Durick

Home Waters: Red River in North Dakota

Credentials: Guide for 12 years

Tough Break: Before he set out lines on the Red River, Durick reminded the lone fisherman on his boat not to try to set the hook, since the baits were all rigged on circle hooks. Unfortunately, that message didn’t get through. A rod next to Durick’s client started to bend suddenly under what the guide says was an enormous strike. Before Durick could react, the fisherman reached out and in one motion jerked back with everything he had. But missing the huge catfish wasn’t the end of it. In his rush, the client failed to get a good grip on Durick’s brand-new rod and reel, which launched out of the angler’s hands and fell into the river.

Lesson Learned: Durick rigs his baits only with circle hooks—quite successfully for channel cats—so he emphasizes the importance of waiting for the fishing rod to load up, then keeping it tight and just cranking. Most of the time, you’ll hook the fish. He also recommends using hooks with a gap wide enough to clear the bottom jaw. He explains that catfish tend to pick up a bait and squeeze it in a way that hinders the corner-of-the-jaw set. If the circle hook is large enough, it’ll pierce the bottom of the fish’s mouth for a more secure hookset.

“I’ve had lots of people complain to me of missing hookups,” Durick says. “It turns out this is because their hooks were too small.” And once someone’s got a giant catfish on the line, Durick says he is “constantly preaching the need to keep the fish turned away from the boat when they get the fish close. Don’t let a big catfish get under the boat. It might tangle in an outboard’s lower unit, plus once it’s under the boat, a big cat is harder to net.”

Muskies

Muskie strikes are so rare that you'd better fight the fish just right to bring it to the boat.
. Field & Stream

Guide: Steve Scepaniak

Home Waters: Mille Lacs Lake, Minnesota

Credentials: Guide for 28 years

Tough Break: Scepaniak was taking two anglers, Brad and Tom, to a spot on Mille Lacs Lake where he’d seen a huge muskie just a few days earlier. Sure enough, as Brad made a figure eight with a big spinnerbait near the boat, a giant muskie inhaled his lure. The fish cleared the water four times as Brad kept steady pressure and lowered the rod each time—until the fish’s fifth leap, when the rod stayed horizontal. The muskie shook its head one way, and the lure flew the other.

But the heartbreak didn’t end with that first lost muskie. Later on that day, Tom failed to set the hook on a fish when he thought his lure had just snagged some weeds. That mistake cost the anglers their second ­giant of the day.

Lesson Learned: Scepaniak says the loss of those two monster muskies illustrates his two fundamental rules when it comes to hooking and holding onto big muskies. “First, set the hook on everything and anything,” he says. While we’d love every strike to be a rod-thumping whack, ­Scepaniak says that most muskie strikes will be more tap than wallop, and if a lure doesn’t feel right, “they can spit it out in a fraction of a second.” So, the instant the angler feels resistance, he or she has to react with a strong hookset to penetrate the bone-hard mouth of a muskellunge.

Second, when a fish is coming out of the water during a jump—­Scepaniak says that 80 percent of muskies will jump during a fight—­anglers should keep that rod down and not stop cranking. Conversely, he advises anglers to remember to get the rod up when that big fish goes back down.

Had Brad and Tom remembered those two rules, ­Scepaniak says, and had the fish stayed hooked, he would have advised them of his third rule: Back off the drag, particularly if you’re fishing with braided line.

Tarpon

Tarpon will often just and shake their head to shake off a lure or fly.
. Field & Stream

Guide: Mark Bennett

Home Waters: Southwest Florida

Credentials: Guide for 48 years

Tough Break: At the end of a long and so-far-fishless day, outside of famed Boca Grande Pass, one of Bennett’s anglers finally brought a good tarpon, in the 100- to 150-pound range, boatside. “As soon as I grabbed the leader, out of nowhere, a 15-foot hammerhead raised its front half out of the water, like in the movie Jaws, and grabbed that tarpon,” Bennett says. “His hammer actually whacked my hand. It was that close.” The huge shark began shaking the tarpon back and forth into the side of the boat, using the boat for leverage as it shredded the fish, until both shark and tarpon were gone.

Lesson Learned: Big sharks, primarily hammerheads and bulls, are a fact of life for tarpon enthusiasts who fish in Southwest Florida. When encounters with sharks do happen, the concern is less about landing a tarpon to score a release than it is about saving the fish, and Bennett has become an expert at that. Hammerheads—with a dorsal fin sometimes taller than the bow of his skiff—often show themselves before launching a tarpon attack. Big bull sharks, however, are notorious for staying down and suddenly grabbing a fish near the boat. Bennett relies on side-imaging sonar to scan the area while an angler fights a tarpon. “If I spot a big shark moving in,” he says, “I’ll break the line to let the tarpon go while it still might have a chance.” Or, if a tarpon is already at the boat and Bennett sees a shark, he’ll keep the tarpon close to the boat while he motors to shallower water, where he’ll revive and release the fish.

Written by Doug Olander for Field & Stream and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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Tip of the Spur: New Cutting-Edge Turkey Tactics

Tip of the Spur: New Cutting-Edge Turkey Tactics

The tips, gear, and hunting strategies you need to have your most successful and wildest turkey season ever

On the cutting edge of turkey hunting, the most obsessed gobbler fanatics are pushing the boundaries to be more successful and have more fun. Today’s trendsetters are toting crossbows and .410s, pressing their own mouth calls, tackling tough public birds by choice, busting birds on purpose, and generally doing whatever they can to make the madness of spring last a little longer. If you want in, these are the hot tactics, tricks, and gear you need to try.

Game Changer: Carry a .410

Yes, carrying a .410 to the turkey woods is now a thing. Guys do it to prove they’re good, and the successful ones can teach you a thing or two about getting super-close to gobblers.

Even with quality loads, a .410 shotgun forces you to get pretty tight to a tom. But a couple of springs ago, Realtree’s Phillip Culpepper took the small-bore trend to the extreme and set the online turkey crowd abuzz when he killed an Osceola longbeard on camera with a Taurus Judge .410 revolver. “Shooting at a pie plate, the pattern started getting sketchy at seven steps,” he says. “So I knew I’d have to get close.” For that, he used a specialized reaping tactic. All the usual open-field safety rules apply.

Beat It

Culpepper uses a Flextone Thunder Chicken, which is a compact reaper-style decoy. In addition to a real fan, he zip-ties dried turkey wings to the fake. They provide extra concealment—but they also allow Culpepper to employ another trick.

“Michael Waddell showed me this,” he says. “If you’re crawling in close but the gobbler’s not breaking, you can pop the decoy stake hard against the ground. It makes those wings beat against the decoy, and it sounds just like turkeys flogging in a fight. Do that while making a fighting purr, and it’ll drive him nuts.”

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OnX Hunting App OnX Hunt

Get Ready

When the bird does break, Culpepper stakes the deke in front of him, sits back, and pokes the barrel through the tail fan or eases it over the top of a wing. “When a tom is locked in, he won’t notice that movement.”

Culpepper killed his Osceola at two steps. “I love to see how close I can get to them,” he says. That’s the whole appeal of the small-bore trend. “Still, I think I’ll leave the Judge home and go with a shotgun from now on.”

Trending: Breeder Hens

Decoy companies have been making “breeding pairs” for some 20 years. After all, if a jake decoy just standing there upsets old gob, then the sight of one on top of his girlfriend should really create issues. Problem is, those decoys have historically looked so fake that I doubt some manufacturers have ever witnessed a real round of turkey coitus.

Today’s top makers must be more voyeuristic because they are now making highly realistic breeder-hen decoys that can be used with or without a jake. Late in the season, I leave the jake home and add a breeder to several feeding and alert hen dekes. I position the breeder for my best shot. The other decoys help draw gobblers in from a distance, and when they finally spot that hen on her belly, they’ll strut right in to do God knows what. Be ready to shoot—or cover your eyes.

Game Changer: Go Public (On Purpose)

Believe it or not, some top gobbler killers hunt public land because it’s harder. On some pressured Tennessee public land that I hunt, the seasoned locals swear that all the gobblers wired to go to hen calls have been culled out of the flock. I’m not sure I believe that, but I know these toms are tough. Here’s how I’ve managed to bag a few.

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Brian Grossenbacher

Fools Rush In

Most public-land hunters hear a gobbler and rush to sit down, eager to make the first yelps and “claim” the bird for themselves. But pressured birds learn that a hen calling from one spot means trouble. Instead, I call occasionally while sneaking ever closer. You’ll bump some turkeys, but you’ll kill some too, if you still-hunt along at the speed of fungus. Use your binoculars to glass constantly for a fan. Don’t be afraid to make him gobble with aggressive yelps and cutts, but keep them infrequent. Be safe, of course. And never utter so much as a cluck without a setup tree and shooting lane in mind. know when to Shut Up

Once the turkey gobbles at you inside 50 or 60 yards, sit down and be quiet. Don’t bother with a decoy, and put your call in your pocket. The bird assumes that he’s about to see a hen walking to him, and when he doesn’t, he’ll get anxious. Don’t scratch in the leaves. Don’t cluck. Make him think his hen is gone. Keep watch with your gun on your shoulder, and if he quits gobbling, don’t move for a full 30 minutes. Odds are, he’ll sneak in silently before then.

Trending: D.I.Y. Mouth Calls

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Kerry B. Wix

“A serious flyfisherman doesn’t want to buy flies at Walmart. He wants to fool a trout with a fly he tied himself,” says Tennessee turkey nut Kerry B. Wix, who’s been pressing his own diaphragm calls for the past five seasons. Wix says the first yelper he ever made sounded awful. But the learning process has paid off.

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Robert Harding / Alamy

Virtually all mouth calls consist of just an aluminum frame, latex reeds, and tape. “The big differences in sound come from the call’s side and back tension, layering, and reed cuts,” Wix says. “Increasing side tension by a ten-­thousandth of an inch can completely change the sound. Everyone blows a call a little differently, so finding your perfect combination of reed cut and stretch off the shelf is random. But when you’re making your own, you can tweak the numbers to get them just right, and then build your perfect call over and over again.”

Wix says that his calling improved dramatically once he learned to build his own calls. “I enjoy making them for myself and my hunting buddies,” he says. “When they choose my call to kill a gobbler—well, there’s a lot of satisfaction in that.”

Game Changer: Carry a Cross

If you’re one of the many hunters who’s jumped on the crossbow train recently, take it turkey hunting. A crossbow provides the point-blank thrill of bowhunting with the run-and-gun capability of shotgun hunting. And in some states with archery-only seasons, like Nebraska and Kansas, it’ll get you extra time in the woods too. I’ve killed a slew of gobblers with a crossbow. Here’s what I’ve learned.

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Kerry B. Wix

Set a Ruse

To kill a turkey with an arrow, you want the bird standing still inside 25 yards. Good decoys are the name of the game. I place a DSD 3/4 Strut Jake or Avian-X 1/2 Strut Jake 15 yards out and quartering to me. Then I stake a hen deke at 18 yards. Aggressive gobblers will walk past the hen and square off with the jake head-on, giving you a 12-yard shot. Passive birds that strut just beyond the hen are still easy pickings for a crossbow.

Rest Easy

When you fidget, the wide limbs of a crossbow will move enough to spook any turkey. A rest, like the Primos Trigger Stick ­Monopod, is essential for keeping comfortable and still while working a bird, and for 10-ringing a turkey’s small vital area.

Cut Big

I’ve killed a bunch of birds with fixed-blade broadheads, but I’ve come to prefer hybrid heads with a fixed bleeder blade and two big mechanical blades, like the Bloodsport Gravedigger or Muzzy Trocar HB. Even the slowest crossbows have the oomph to push those heads through a gobbler, and they open devastating holes.

Wild Tactic: Bust a Move

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pack of pesky jakes Donald M. Jones

There are days, often late in the season, when we promise to spend the rest of the year becoming a better person if only we can get a shot at a turkey. A jake with a beard just long enough for the game warden to see would work fine. Problem is, jakes and even 2-year-old gobblers tend to bunch up late and can be surprisingly difficult to kill. Unless you bust them up first.

The key is to actually scatter them, not just spook them. You need individuals to fly away in multiple directions. I’ve had my best luck by getting within 100 yards of a flock and then running at them head-on. Yelling and cussing, a lot, seems to help.

Next, sit as close to the break site as you can and stake out a single jake decoy. Give the woods 10 minutes to settle down, and then make long, loud strings of jake yelps, kee-kee runs, and gobbles. And when that turkey is finally flopping at your feet, remember your promise about the rest of the year.

Written by Will Brantley for Field & Stream and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

CROSS POLLINATION

CROSS POLLINATION

by Marc Peruzzi and Dave Cox

The outdoor industry and the backcountry bowhunting worlds have been commingling of late, driving innovation. Here’s a look at some products shaking up both categories—tested.

SITKA APEX PANT AND APEX HOODY 

This kit was designed for mid-season elk hunting where temperatures spike from the low 30s on the predawn approach, to the 60s on the hike out in late afternoon. You might think that they’re not much different than your everyday hiking kit, but you’d be wrong. Backcountry hunters need rugged but light apparel that moves with them without making noise or stinking like so many synthetic fabrics do. Here, a polyester face backed by a grid of lightweight fleece is treated with Polygiene—an antimicrobial that eliminates odor. The Apex Pant is the least restrictive pair of hiking pants of any kind that I own. And the breathability is also unmatched. I wore them with a baselayer on colder days and as is on warmer afternoon hunts. Over 14 miles a day and many thousands of vertical feet, they let me move through the subalpine (which is also the name of the camo pattern shown here) more freely. The merino and nylon Apex Hoody features a built-in neck tube-like swath of material that you can pull over your head for better concealment and a touch more warmth. I wish my winter midweight hoodies had that feature. Pant: $209; Hoody: $220 —M.P.

FIRST LITE SEAK STORMTIGHT RAIN JACKET AND PANT 

The company was founded by some former outdoor industry folks from Smith Sport Optics. Their first products in hunting were merino wool knicker-length baselayer bottoms that any skier would dig. Now, First Lite has expanded its line to include the type of 3.5-layer waterproof breathable rain (and snow) wear we’d never head into the mountains without after Labor Day. Fully featured with cinchable hoods, cuffs, and waterproof zippers, the Seak kit is rugged enough for moving through the snags of standing dead lodgepole forests. Pit zips let you ventilate on the climbs. So how does it differ from top-of-the-line waterproof breathable layering we’d wear backcountry skiing or backpacking? First Lite knows camo: their Cipher pattern is designed for western big game and is shown here. The sleeves, too, are cut in such a way as to not interfere with bow strings. Built-in stretch allows for a full draw. Jacket: $350; Pant: $335 —M.P.

MYSTERY RANCH SAWTOOTH 45 PACK

I’ve tested backpacks on and off for much of the past 20 years, and I can honestly say that the Sawtooth 45 is the best carrying pack of any size that I’ve ever owned, and that includes many lighter weight ski packs. The no-bullshit fit system—you adjust the yoke to your shoulders and back in seconds—delivers a custom fit that makes any heat-moldable or more complicated takes on customization irrelevant. In 10 days of backcountry hiking carrying about 30 pounds of gear, I all but stopped thinking about the pack after the first hour in the woods. That’s great, but Mystery Ranch—which was founded by outdoor industry legend Dana Gleason and is based in Bozeman—offers similar packs in its backpacking line. The truly remarkable feature of the Sawtooth is what the company calls its Guide Light MT Frame. Unclip the pack from the frame and you can haul quarters or just slip the pack farther back to haul game bags. Variations of that design are now available in Mystery Ranch’s other lines. The upside should be obvious: Think about slipping your sleeping bag and bivvy into the space between the frame and the pack. It obviates the need for a 65 liter pack. $450 —M.P.

FIRST LITE X NEMO COLLECTION: STALKER 0 SLEEPING BAG 

Those of us who prefer to err on the side of camping with a warmer bag often find ourselves overheated on warmer nights. Enter the Stalker: This zero-rated, 800-fill down bag has zippered gills running vertically above your chest. Rather than unzipping the bag in the traditional manner and being hot on one side and cold on the other, you open and close the gills to regulate heat. The drawstring hood, with its additional down baffle around the neck, and the added waterproof synthetic insulation in the footbox, were great on cold nights. Side sleepers will love the way the bag stretches at the knees. $520  —D.C.

FIRST LITE X NEMO COLLECTION: NEMO RECURVE 2P TENT 

Several years ago NEMO Equipment founder Cam Brensinger started hunting with his dad, which led to trading gear and ideas with the hunting apparel maker First Lite. A co-lab grew out of this friendship and the Field Collection was born. On my recent mule deer hunt, I set up a spike camp on a point to glass and pattern the animals as they transitioned from grazing to bedding locations. The Recurve weighs less than two pounds and pitches via a two pole system that forms a “T” where one pole runs along the tent ceiling, and the other drops down into a hole in the tent’s floor. You can access the canopy from both vestibuled sides. Carbon fiber struts in the tent shift to upright when guyed out, creating vertical walls where your head and feet end up when sleeping. No more sloping tent wall in your face as you lie down. $460  —D.C.

For Turkey Hunters, 70 Yards Is the New 40

For Turkey Hunters, 70 Yards Is the New 40

Actually, that’s an obvious lie. But now that we have your attention, let’s discuss the effective range of today’s ground-breaking turkey ammunition.

Coming up with blog post topics every week is a struggle sometimes. So I Googled “great blog posts” and found a list of “101 topics that will make your blog hot.” For obvious reasons, number 80 was my favorite: “Abandon your blog for a week and make others think what happened to you. It’s pretty risky, but if you are famous blogger—this will get you a lot of buzz.”

I loved that suggestion for so many reasons, but ultimately I decided getting paid and keeping my job was preferable to a week off and the slim possibility that my absence would generate buzz. Besides, I recalled that turkey season is open in some places and I have already been hearing about 50-, 60- and 70-yard turkey kills. I am going with hot-blog suggestion No. 43: “Tell an obvious lie.”

And that lie is: 70 yards is the new 40.

New turkey loads—notably Winchester Longbeard, but now Federal, Apex, and Nitro Co. have all introduce Tungsten Super Shot loads (more about TSS in an upcoming column, it’s insane)—make turkey guns lethal to 70 yards. To put that in perspective, when I started in 1987, my Browning Double Auto loaded with Remington short magnum 5s would and did kill a turkey at 35 yards. Full-choke 3-inch magnums might kill to 40. Effective turkey gun range has almost doubled in 30 years. A turkey at 50 yards could just as well have been on Mars when I started hunting. Now it’s a dead bird, and while I’m not proud of taking 50-yard shots, I’ve made four or five, and believe they are totally ethical and within the killing power of my gun, which I have patterned a lot.

The new ammo pushes that maximum distance out to 60 to 70 yards, or more. One outfitter told me he made a 98-yard shot on an injured Osceola with TSS, backing up a client. Does that mean we should all let fly at 70-yard turkeys as if they were standing 40 yards away?

Uh, no.

First, recognize that even a shot as basic as hitting a stationary turkey with a shot pattern gets harder with every yard, and 70 is a lot of yards.

Second, you need to spend a lot of time at the range with your gun, fooling with chokes, sights, and ammo to come up with a combination that is reliable at 70. The rigs capable of 70-yard kills are out there, but it’s not just a question of putting expensive shells in your gun.

Third, you’ll want a rangefinder, because who’s to say the turkey standing at 70 isn’t actually at 78? Not many of us can eyeball 70 yards accurately.

Finally, I hope we can all agree that a hunt that ends at 20 yards is much more exciting than one that ends at 70.

There’s no denying the effectiveness of Longbeard and TSS, and I’m not going to pretend we can’t kill turkeys a lot farther away than we used to. Should we? That’s an ethical question up to each one of us.

Written by Phil Bourjaily for Field & Stream and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Field & Stream

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