Fall Turkey Hunting with a Rifle

Fall Turkey Hunting with a Rifle

As any readers of the Mossberg blogs know, I have an undying love for fall turkey hunting. It’s the chase, the challenge of out-smarting these birds and learning to call. When all of these things come together for a successful hunt, there is no greater feeling. That said, I end up empty-handed on most of my solo turkey adventures.


With that, I truly love fall turkey hunting in states like Colorado where the playing field is somewhat leveled for hunters like me in that rifles are a legal method of taking. Don’t get me wrong, I am always up for a challenge. But I can’t lie… I get a little excited knowing I can have a fighting chance against these wily Colorado Merriams in the fall. Not to mention, it’s a fantastic opportunity to bag that Thanksgiving turkey.

Please note: it is the hunter's responsibility to read and know the regulations for his/her state. Ensure you fully understand legal methods of taking, bag limits, and season dates. Additionally, in states like Colorado, a hunter may shoot a hen or a tom. While many hunters prefer not to shoot hens, I can attest to the fact that a hen is quite tasty. 

Fall turkey hunting can have its challenges. The birds are not as responsive to calls, thus locating them is somewhat difficult. Then, once located, they may or may not respond. It can indeed be quite difficult to get a bird into shotgun range. Often, the art of locating flocks of turkeys in the west is a matter of putting in scouting time, busting flocks, and a small amount of luck and happenstance. With these challenges noted, I have to admit that being able to put a big, ole gobbler in the scope is quite exciting.

Hunting in states that do not allow baiting of any sort can make any sort of turkey hunting even more challenging. It is essentially a spot and stalk hunt, which I find to be great fun despite the challenges. Birds may be located in difficult-to-access areas where shotgun or archery shots would be an impossibility. I have personally located flocks of turkeys feeding their way up to open, rocky hillsides, across ravines, and in deep timber with a lot of blowdowns. None of these circumstances were conducive to an ethical shotgun kill but were indeed doable with a rifle.

I, like many hunters, find that my turkey hunting time is very limited due to the fact that many big game seasons are going on at the same time. Now, I love fall turkey hunting… but certainly wouldn’t pass up an elk hunt in favor of a turkey hunt. I am often limited to a one-weekend excursion with the hopes of bagging a bird and the pressure of filling that tag is eased a bit with the opportunity to utilize a rifle for the hunt. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to pop a wayward coyote should one appear.

While there are many rifle options out there, I prefer to use my Mossberg MVP Predator .223 for my turkey hunting options.

It has more than enough knockdown at a bit of a distance but doesn’t destroy the meat of the bird. The use of a bipod actually helps during the turkey seasons as I often find myself shooting from a prone position. With an overall weight of about 7-lbs, it is a good weight if I am doing a lot of hiking. Again, refer to the regulations in your state for specifics about legal ammunition. In Colorado, bullets must be a minimum of 7 grains with the manufacturer’s energy rating of at least 110 foot-pounds at 100 yards from the muzzle.

So with that, go on out and check your state regulations. If you are like me, you can’t resist the thought of a bird with the thrill of using a rifle. Give it a whirl!


About the Author

Kirstie Pike

Kirstie Pike is the founder and CEO of Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women, the leading edge for women’s performance hunting gear for nine years and running.
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