Turkey hunting is my number one favorite activity in the woods. While hunting elk or bighorn sheep obviously represents a highlight of the hunting experience, it also involves a lot of effort and stress. Not so much with the gobblers. In the spring season, the weather is nice, the countryside peaceful, the vegetation lush, and if you miss one chance, there’s bound to be another on the next ridge.
Speaking of turkeys, I love hunting them but I hate losing them. It happens to everyone because opportunities often come quickly and unpredictably. And, if a big tom pounding in your face doesn’t get your heart pounding, you should probably see a cardiologist.
When gobbler rush strikes, you can send shots way too high on that big red head. That is a product of not lowering the weapon: welding the cheek to the butt, leveling the ramp, vertically and horizontally aligning the front and rear sights. A few years ago, I finally realized what many hardened turkey hunters have known for a long time: red dot sights eliminate that possibility and help target shooting much more reliably than iron sights.
Wherever the red dot points in the crosshairs, that’s where the charge will hit. Even if you’re half crouching and contorting your body around a tree, placing the dot in the lower left corner of the sight window, if you’re on target, the pellets will be too. That’s why I switched to a red dot and haven’t looked back.
I also love the precision and adjustability of a red dot. If you’re using regular open sights and have a load and choke combination that shoots high and to the left at 30 yards, for example, without any adjustment, you’ll have a hard time compensating for where the shot will hit. With a red dot, it has all the adjustability of a rifle scope. If you have 6 inches left at 30 yards, you can easily make windage adjustments and line up your pattern. That accuracy gives me more confidence every time I pull the trigger on my 12-gauge Weatherby.
I started with the Vortex Venom and now I’m using the new Vortex Sparc Solar. It is a piece of high-tech equipment. While the small solar panel on top doesn’t charge the battery, it does extend battery life. Also, if it gets enough ambient light, the solar panel can power the red dot on its own. Only in low light conditions will it use the battery. And that CR22 battery can last up to 150,000 hours, five times longer than a standard red dot.
The point on the Solar Sparc also activates with movement. If you leave your shotgun for 14 hours, the red dot will turn off automatically. However, once you pick it up again, it turns back on, with the same level of illumination as you left it.
If you want to get into the big leagues of tip gobblers, you need a red dot on your gun. You can learn more on the Vortex website or grab your own now from the MeatEater Store.