Into the Fold

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Published on: Sep. 2, 2001

Last revision: Nov. 9, 2010

of tomato juice. As marksmanship improves, raw eggs suspended from a rubber band and string generate excitement when hit. Though it sounds silly, kids enjoy treats. Reward children with a piece of their favorite candy every time they make a good shot.

After establishing proper shooting form, a child must learn to shoot while sitting. That's the position he will most likely shoot from while hunting turkeys. Sit your youngster in your lap. Your line of sight will be close to that of the child, and when actually hunting, you will be able to whisper directions when a turkey is close.

From your lap, have your child shoot at a life-size silhouette of a turkey's head from a distance of 20 yards. Let him shoot groups of 10 shots at the proper point of aim-the turkey's wattles. Stick an orange bull's-eye on the wattles. This will help emphasize this as the proper place to aim at a turkey.

During these shooting sessions with your youngster in your lap, it's fun and productive to pretend that you are actually hunting. Whisper to your child, "There he is!... Don't move!... When the turkey steps behind that tree, get your gun up.... Okay, get your gun up... Can you see his head clearly?... Okay, shoot!" Kids enjoy this kind of practice, and through these simulations a child will learn two crucial turkey-hunting skills: how and when to move in preparation for a shot.

Sometimes, even with an adult's best efforts to make things enjoyable, a youngster will grow weary of shooting practice. At these times a child must understand that if he wishes to hunt turkeys, he must develop strong shooting skills. Killing a turkey with one clean shot calls for good shooting, and good shooting comes from practice.

When your child shoots groups the size of a softball at 20 yards with a .22, he'll be ready to practice with the shotgun that he will use to hunt turkeys. A 3-inch chambered 20 gauge is a good choice, but you shouldn't let a young kid shoot a magnum 20-gauge load during practice. The noise and recoil will be unpleasant.

With your child wearing ear protection, let him watch you shoot a light, 2 3/4-inch field load at a turkey silhouette. He'll see that the gun doesn't kick much, and then you can let him shoot the same load. With all the rifle practice, chances are very good that

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