Bourjaily: Confessions of a Turkey Misser

I thought optics had finally cured me. I went a long time without a miss. I shot birds from 12 to 51 yards, standing, strutting, walking, running and once, under circumstances I will not go into here, flying. Then I missed, having gradually developed a habit of not only looking up, but of dropping the gun out of the way for an even better view.

The solution to the problem is not more gimmicks, of course, but better shooting. My turkey guns still have optics --- an Aimpoint 9000 on one, a Nikon Turkey Pro 1.5-4.5 on the other. My most important weapon in the war on missing, however, is the mantra taught to me by shooting instructor and hardcore turkey hunter Marty Fischer: "Kill them through the gun." It's a succinct, effective way of telling yourself to keep your head on the stock and follow-through with the shot. I repeat it to myself as turkeys walk into range. Fischer, a long-time competitive clay shooter, prefers the familiar view down an unadorned shotgun rib when he hunts turkeys.

Confession time: off the top of my head I can come up with seven misses and I'm sure there are more I'm blocking out because they're too painful. Does anybody out there want to admit to missing turkeys too, just to make me feel better? And who else besides me puts sights on a turkey gun?