I was hunting near El Paso, Texas, where you can hunt turkeys with a rifle. We had finished hunting that morning and were walking back to our vehicle. My cameraman, Scott Sawyers, took out his turkey call and yelped a few times. We heard a turkey gobble, waited about 4 minutes and called again. The turkey gobbled once more but much closer this time. We got behind a big tree with grass around it. A big Rio Grande gobbler came walking in and stopped at 45 yards. I shot and missed the turkey. I never cut a feather.
At the report of the rifle, this turkey jumped straight-up in the air. When he hit the ground, Scott purred a couple of times on his diaphragm mouth call. The gobbler took about three steps, fluffed-up and started strutting again. While the turkey was strutting, I hurriedly reloaded my .50 caliber CVA rifle. I knew the turkey wouldn’t stand there forever. In the process, I raked all my primers into the grass. I went ahead and poured the powder and the bullet down the barrel. I got down on my hands and knees, 45-yards from the turkey, and started trying to find the primer in that 2-foot-tall grass. Finally, I located the primer. I peeped over the grass and saw the gobbler was still strutting. I got in position to take a second shot, and this time I hit the turkey.
* Have everything you need in a handy location if you need to get off a second shot, when you’re hunting with a blackpowder rifle,
* Start calling again immediately if you miss the turkey the first time. If the turkey hasn’t been hit, all he knows is that he’s heard a big explosion he doesn’t understand. Even if he sees that white puff of smoke, the bird may think he’s just heard and seen a lightning strike or some other phenomenon in nature.
* Make sure you aim closely on your second shot, and take your time to make a good shot.
When hunting where the turkeys have had little or no hunting pressure, you often can get away with tactics that won’t work otherwise.