A Very Short Note – Airgun Hunting Turkeys
January 3, 2013
So, after a couple of years of waiting, yesterday finally brought my first opportunity to take a turkey with my Benjamin Marauder, .25 caliber air rifle. On my cameras, I saw where the birds had been passing through the past few days, and yesterday when I looked out, I could see a few in the barn pasture. I quickly aired up the rifle and dove into the woods to circle around.
About halfway to where I’d seen the three birds, I heard a rustling in the brush ahead. I froze and squatted down. On a well-worn deer trail, about 25 yards away, I spotted a feathery breast. The bird came right up the trail, and as she did, I realized there were several more in line behind her. I quickly took a sitting rest, leveled the scope on an opening in the branches, and waited for a shot. I decided I’d aim for the base of the neck, which should make a killing shot with this rifle. A head shot was out of the question due to the movement of the birds and the level of the brush that kept obscuring them when they’d stop and look around.
The first two birds slipped through without stopping, but then a big hen stepped into the opening and stopped. The two-stage trigger seemed to take forever to engage, but then the pellet was away! Unfortunately, the bird had started to walk again at almost the same instant. I heard the “thwack”, and realized I’d managed to hit the bird flat on the wing… about two inches from where I’d been aiming. The bird flapped and ran over a little rise, while about 15 other turkeys suddenly started racing around in chaos. When all was quiet, I went to see the damage.
Turkey wings are pretty damned tough. I’ve heard more than one story of .22 magnums bouncing off without any damage. I know, first hand, that a shotgun won’t penetrate. And after yesterday, I now know that a .25 caliber pellet, fired from my Marauder won’t penetrate a turkey’s wings either.
I’ll have another go with the air rifle, as soon as I get the chance. But I will definitely have to be a lot more careful about my shot selection.