A shotgun choke modifies the spread of the shot in order to gain better range, shot pattern, and accuracy. Which choke should you use?
There are three main types of chokes: full, improved cylinder, and modified.
A full choke creates a small, dense pellet pattern and carries a tighter spread at a further distance. An improved cylinder choke has a wider, less dense pattern, but isn’t effective at longer ranges. The modified choke falls between the other two, both in shot density and range.
The type of game you are pursuing and the type and size of shot you are using will determine which choke you need. For example, you can use an improved or modified choke when hunting doves, pheasant, or quail. If you are turkey hunting, a full or extra-full choke would be best.
Most modern shotguns come with screw-in choke tubes so you can change them out easily. The most important thing is to select a choke that will allow you to be effective in your shot. Take into consideration the range at which you’ll be shooting and the game that you are after.
Your distance from the target determines the choke you need. To learn more, check out these shotgun choke tips from Bass Pro.
Turkey hunting can be particularly exciting, especially when there’s a tom strutting and gobbling in front of you. For this reason, it also takes extra planning to stay safe during the hunt. Because turkeys have good eyesight, an effective hunter has to blend in well with his or her surroundings to be successful. But that also increases the risk of injuries or fatalities if other hunters mistake you for the bird, or fail to see you behind or in line with your decoy(s) or in your blind.
Follow these important tips to keep yourself and others safe while you bag a bird:
- Don’t wear ANY red, white, blue, or black. These are turkey colors, and another hunter may mistake you for a bird.
- Be absolutely sure of your target. That extra second of verification could save a life!
- If you do see another hunter in the area, don’t move—call out to alert them that you are there.
- Don’t stalk turkey sounds; it could be another hunter. Call the birds to you.
- When selecting your spot, protect your back with a large tree, rock, or other large natural barrier. Same thing for choosing where to place your blind.
- After bagging your bird, wrap it in either camouflage or a blaze orange bag for the haul out. A decoy should be handled the same way.
- Always leave a hunt plan telling someone of where you will be and what time you expect to be back. This way, if there is an emergency, help can arrive more quickly.
Turkey hunting is a challenging and rewarding sport, but remember, no bird is worth your health. Follow these guidelines and what you learned in your hunting safety course and you’ll have many more hunts in your future.