Friday, April 3, 2009

The Season Opener--Turkey That Is!

I'm going turkey hunting tomorrow morning. With any sort of luck I'll come home with a turkey. I really, really need to shoot a turkey. It's a "thing" I have about being the first one in the office to bag a gobbler. Working in the Wildlife Division as I do, hunting is not surprisingly, a big deal. Deer season isn't too bad because it's nice and long, but now spring turkey season is something else. We're all avid spring turkey hunters and the season is pretty short. So my primarily male colleagues can't stand it when I come in with a turkey before any of them have had an opportunity to do so. Naturally, as a result, I LOVE it when I can whack the first turkey of the season. Oh yeah!

If I do, I will bring in the foot as "proof" and so everyone can measure the spurs. My colleagues will declare them to be "kinda short" (as they do every year and as they would even if they were 6 feet long!). I see no need to weigh my turkey, so I'll frustrate them when they ask how big it was and I haven't bothered to weigh it.

Finally, I will have the empty shotgun shell from the lethal shot because they'll ask me if I used a rifle or a shotgun. Serious spring turkey hunters only use shotguns. Rifles are a no-no and considered unethical. But it's part of their ritual to ask me. So I'll have the empty shell to plop down on the desk. Then they're going to say "Oh, you only used a 20 gauge. I didn't think you could hit a turkey with a 20 gauge. Did you hit it in the head?" Well or course I hit it in the head! That where's you're supposed to hit a turkey! A 20 gauge shotgun shell isn't as powerful as a 12 gauge--what they (and most men) use so you have to get closer to the turkey. So? Just means I had the skill to do that! DUH! But I won't say that. Instead I'll say "My turkey's dead. Where's yours?" Discussion will end.

Then I'll turn the empty shell into a keychain--just to further drag out the irritation--and give it to one of the ladies I work with. They're easy to make, they're fun, and they make a great package decoration for Father's Day or Christmas. I label them as being from our dog! Here's the directions so you can make one as well. If you don't have empy shotgun shells lying around, go to your local skeet or shooting range. They'll either give them to you or sell them cheap.

Shotgun Shell Key Chain

This keychain isn’t designed to stand up to a lot of hard wear and tear, but it makes a cute little item you can use to either decorate a package, or add to an existing gift. Certainly any hunting dog would be proud to give this to his or her “people” for Christmas!

1 used shotgun shell
Small amount of batting or pieces of foam (enough to fill the shotgun shell)
Key ring (recycle some of those old ones you never use!)
Approximately 6-8 inches of leather lacing (you don’t actually need this much, but having it makes it easier to attach the ring.)
Quick setting glue
Multi-tool, pliers, or reloader

1. Clean and dry the shotgun shell. Polish the metal for a shinier look.
2. Tightly pack the shotgun shell with batting or small pieces of foam. This will help keep the shell from getting squished, but without adding a lot of weight.

3. With a slip knot, loop the leather lacing to the key ring. Make the end of the lacing as equal as possible. (Figure 1)

4. Tie a square knot in the lacing about 2-3 inches below the key chain loop. Exact measurements aren’t necessary! This bottom knot will be put inside the re-crimped shotgun shell to hold the key ring onto the shell. (Figure 2)

5. With either the multi-tool, the pliers, or the reloader, recrimp the shotgun shell. Push the crimping further down inside the shell, just far enough the insert the bottom knot of leather lacing.

6. Using the key ring, pull up gently, but firmly until the crimping is once again level with the top. (Figure 3)

7. If necessary, secure the key ring by putting a little glue down inside between the shell and the knot.


  1. So - how did the turkey hunting go?

  2. Very good blog! Well written and very interesting! I will be following this one!

  3. yes, did the hunt go....I used to hunt also, I had a Mic loader and was in charge of reloading shells, which is fun really, you get into a rhythm and can have a few hundred done before you know it as long as you have enough wads, powder, etc.........great how big was that DEAD turkey again???