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Twice As Nice: Turkey Hunting Doubles

It won’t happen evDoublezery day, but it will eventually happen.

At some point, you and a friend will have two or more gobblers coming to your setup, and you’ll have a chance to double. Savor the moment, but be aware: That’s when things can get interesting.

Doubling with a buddy isn’t as easy as it might seem. First, both gobblers must be within comfortable range and present sure shots. Sometimes, one bird will lag behind another or be obscured by cover. If that happens, you must make a quick decision. Are the birds still comfortable and fired up, or are they getting “goosey” or eyeing your setup nervously? If the latter is true, it’s better to have one shooter take one of the gobblers rather than let both get away. If, however, the turkeys seem relaxed and a double remains possible, stay patient and wait for the perfect opportunity.

Perhaps the toughest part of doubling is coordinating the shot. Conventional wisdom holds that both hunters should count down, “One, two, three,” with three initiating the shot. However, I’ve learned the hard way that one hunter’s 2.5 is another guy’s three. Years ago, a good friend and I watched two pepper-hot longbeards pop into the open not 15 yards from us. We counted down together, but he shot right after “two,” startling me and sending my shot wide of the mark. Thankfully, I was able to recover and take the gobbler going away, but it was almost disaster. If possible, try to practice before the moment of truth. Synchronize your count, and instead of saying “three,” have that next beat be the shot: “One, two, boom.” Just be ready if your friend quick-guns you.

In the right situation, it can work for one hunter to take his turkey and have the other hunter then shoot his bird immediately thereafter. Often, other gobblers will scatter or flush at the shot, but that’s not always true. Sometimes, the birds aren’t quite sure what happened, and they might just stand still or trot a few steps and stop. I’ve actually taken part in more doubles of this nature than with the classic “one, two, three” tactic. Just make sure you decide beforehand to go this route. The first shooter doesn’t need any last-minute surprises.

Every now and then, in areas with liberal daily and season limits, you’ll have a chance to kill two birds yourself. Sometimes, that might happen with one shot, provided the cards — and their heads — line up. Other times, as mentioned, other gobblers might not flee immediately after you shoot one, and a follow-up shot can net a second longbeard. Provided it’s legal, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure your second shot is sure-kill solid. Don’t take a flyer in the hopes of getting another bird. One dead gobbler and one cripple is not a desirable double.

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