I have been working my way through the Winter 2008 issue of Turkey & Turkey Hunting magazine, since its arrival a few days ago.
Once again, I find it to be one of the very best hunting magazines on the market today. I really like the variety of subject matter that's covered and the different approaches that different authors take to their subjects.
I took special interest the article "Best of Both Worlds" by Jim Schlender. For several years now, I've shared a concern with several others about an obsession with "killing paper" and the quest to see how many holes a shooter can put in some sized circle at 40 yards.
A sport that I have participated in for several years, still target shooting, was begun about 18 years ago to hopefully raise awareness of the importance of patterning your shotgun. It also had as a goal, inspiring the manufacturers of shotshells, choke tubes and shotguns to make more efficient and effective products for cleanly killing a turkey at all ethical ranges.
That sport, plus good magazine articles like those that have appeared in T&TH over the years, helped to inspire many shooters to pattern their guns. Out of that came a group of folks that shoot more at paper than at turkeys and are after a shell that will deliver more and more holes in paper.
Shooting at paper is something that I spend a lot of time doing myself. The purpose of my shooting is to test a new or existing shotshell, choke tube or shotgun. That may be to see how a particular combination works, in response to a request from a manufacturer or a reader of http://www.allaboutshooting.com I always try to remember that for most folks, it's what will work in the field for them to cleanly kill a turkey at a maximum range of 40 yards.
I shoot many rounds downrange each year and mostly at 40 yards. I believe that I can be very accurate in my estimation of distance but I know that I can also make a mistake. I have confidence in the combined effect of a "swarm" of #6 shot at 40 yards and even a bit beyond if I misjudge the distance. I'm not so confident of a load of #7 shot, should I make that same error in judgement.
I remind myself that killing paper and killing turkeys are two different diciplines and that the quick, certain and humane kill is what we as hunters should always seek. If we have any doubt about that whatsoever, we should not take the shot.