A couple years ago my son, Cash, who was 5 at the time, was in search of his first Eastern turkey. He shot a Rio in Kansas the year before with his cousin’s gun, but this year he was using his own .410 with the HEVI-18 TSS Turkey load #9 shot.
He had been practicing out to 40 yards and we decided he could make an ethical shot at any bird within that range. The #9s patterned beautifully in his single shot .410, throwing conventional sub-gauge thoughts out the window.
We typically like to pick out a field edge with good visibility and no obstructions through his red dot scope to give him the best opportunity possible. Most of our hunts are us sitting in a blind to conceal the movements of an anxious young hunter. The run and gun method is much tougher with a youngster so that is usually a last ditch effort when we run into stubborn birds.
This particular morning, we were situated on the edge of an alfalfa field and heard a few birds off in the distance, somewhat slow for this hillside on a clear and crisp morning. There were two Toms that were closer than the others, so we were doing our best to coax them to our location. About an hour after daylight, we spotted the wary birds roughly 200 yards away. A quick call change and they were headed our direction. However, once they got in the alfalfa, they were a bit skeptical of our setup. They were older birds but slowly made their way towards us and never fully committed to the decoys.
Once we realized they weren’t interested, they started moving off, and we knew it was now or never! A few yelps and the strutter popped his head up long enough for Cash to squeeze the shot off and down he went! Cash was pumped, he had his first Eastern and it was a great hunt shared with both his dad and Grandpa. After we took a few pictures, we decided to step off the shot to see how far it was and much to our surprise, it was 45 yards! We didn’t realize it was that far due to the larger field, but the .410 did the job and then some. The bird never knew what hit him and it really opened our eyes to the new HEVU-18! We have all been believers ever since!