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First Flintlock Tom

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Feb 19, 2019
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On Friday, I was able to get out to a property that I had hunted last year. Last year, my buddy took a shot at a bird on this property and missed (CF). I took my shot & failed to get ignition in the pan (lesson learned -- fresh flints for hunting). I re-cocked and aimed again, only to have my buddy take his second shot and drop the bird. That was his first turkey ever and it was a 10" double beard. I had a couple others talking to me that season but never had one get close enough for a shot.

This year, I thought I'd try again with the trade gun. It took me all day but I managed to get a bird barely within my range of 25-30 yards. There was this tom and 2 hens that came in but were all reluctant to come in the rest of the way since I had left my decoys up the hill. I was a little uncertain about taking the shot but a pellet or two managed to get in there & he somersaulted forward before landing upside down against a barbed wire fence. I'll admit, even though he was stopped in his tracks, it wasn't the cleanest kill. The bird was stunned and somewhat paralyzed but was far from dead. I was able to get a hold of him quickly but there wasn't much visible blood. I had to finish the job by hand. The load was 80g 2F, thick fiber cushion wad over powder, 1.5 oz #6 bismuth (CA regs), thin card over shot. I used cornmeal as a buffer, which has helped the patterns a little. It's unnecessary with lead but helps with bismuth shot. Sadly, the Skychief loading never showed much improvement with bismuth either. For now, I think I'll just try to get them a little bit closer & won't be leaving my decoys behind.

I saw a visible beard on the tom before taking the shot. Even after I got it in the truck & drove it home, I was guessing it at about 6-7". It ended up being 8" and had a second, smaller beard forming -- just part of the same gene pool of the tom my buddy got last year, I guess. The spurs are sharp on this guy too. We ate the first breast last night and it was definitely one of the best turkey breasts I've ever cooked. Maybe I'm just getting better about cooking. Clean plates all around.

I don't know if I'll be able to get out again this season before the general season closes and archery opens. But I'm happy that I was able to get a bird this year. And I can always appreciate a bird that makes me really work for him. Thankfully, there are plenty more where he came from.

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Sidney Smith

58 Cal.
Feb 17, 2019
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I'm hoping to drop a bird with my flintlock. I've killed deer with my flintlock rifles, but so far have not taken a turkey with my smoothbore flintlock. Have had the hammer (cock) back on a few but never got the chance to pull the trigger. Hoping this year is different.

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