This week we are going to touch on one of the least thought of things in our hunting chest — the choke tube.
When I was growing up you bought your shotgun with the choke built in for the game you were hunting. Full choke and modified were by far the most common. They were used for small game, such as squirrels and rabbits. The modified was also used for hunting grouse. Then along came the screw-in choke.
The restocking of wild turkeys and the need for a tighter shot to bring them down gave birth to the extra-full turkey choke. I hunt with a Model 9200 Mossberg, 12-gauge, with a 26-inch barrel. It is chambered for a three-inch shell. My turkey choke of choice is the Undertaker made by H.S. Strut in America with a .657 bore. This gun and choke acting as a team has brought down well over 400 wild turkeys in a dozen different states since the eighties.
There are several different chokes that will get the job done as long as your gun patterns the shot well. The choke constriction will range from .575 to .685, and your gun — not you — must decide which choke it likes best, just the same way your gun tells you what size shot it likes best.
The Carlson’s choke tube is popular, and the price is within reaching distance, normally around $50. If you are using Hevi- Shot, make sure a choke tube handles it before you buy it. I have different tubes in different turkey guns, but like I said, my longtime favorite is the Undertaker.
I know I will have some Struttin’ Time readers tell me, “Steve, I just use a regular old Model 12 shotgun and kill turkeys every year.” You are right; you can catch fish with a net, but I am sure you don’t.
While flying out to the west once for an antelope hunt I asked a hunter in the St. Paul airport in Minnesota why all the people going bird hunting in South Dakota were dressed alike. All had on the same the brown and orange outfits. “Even if you are not a good hunter you need to dress like one,” he replied. Point taken.
What I am saying is you can kill a turkey with any shotgun, but you need to look like a turkey hunter with a camo turkey gun equipped with a turkey choke. It will make you hunt better and feel better just knowing you have a for-real turkey gun with a turkey choke.