- Fine tuning: 3 moves to help you SMACK a gobbler this spring
Fine tuning: 3 moves to help you SMACK a gobbler this spring
by Jeremy Koerber, Fit to Hunt
“I don’t hunt turkeys because I want to. I hunt them because I have to.” - Colonel Tom Kelly
I love hunting turkeys! In fact, I would go so far as to agree with Col. Kelly because I have to hunt them. There is something about a 20-pound bird screaming from a limb in the early morning light that compels me to enter into an annual chess game with these wily critters. In previous articles here at GoWild, we have talked about exercises to improve overall physical performance, how to lose weight, and even the right snacks to have in your vest. Now we focus on something a little different. Here are three moves that will help you shoot better as your gobbler closes the distance!
Dropping a gobbler with a shotgun should not be an arduous task, but misses happen. It is hard to believe with modern ammunition and aftermarket chokes, this is even possible but what top-tier gear does not take into consideration are the emotions, excitement, and physical exertion needed to mount and hold a shotgun steady as a tom struts, spits, and drums those final steps. A great example of this was the gobbler my youngest son tagged last spring. We worked that bird over a hundred yards away and Justin eventually shot him off hand at just 10 yards. Most of the time I am sitting against a tree with my shotgun on my knee for stability when a bird walks into range, but I still get the shakes; even with over 30 years experience. The best way to increase your chances of hitting the mark is to make the muscles in your core and shoulders just a little bit stronger.
HI/Lo Farmer Carry
This is one of our favorite moves because it creates a crisscross pattern in your trunk. To perform, select two dumbbells; one fairly heavy and one light. Grip the heavier weight and hold it at your side while positioning the lighter dumbbell on the opposite shoulder. Stand tall and walk for 50-100 yards then switch the weights to the opposite sides and walk back. Perform 2-3 sets.
Hinge patterns are great for archers and I toss this move into our turkey hunting DIY’s because I love how it works the upper back, core, and legs at the same time. To perform, grab a kettlebell or dumbbell, take a wide stance, and then hinge forward. With the weight in your right hand, perform a row motion while staying solid in the hinge position. Nothing moves except the arm and shoulder blade on the side with the weight helping your build both strength and stability. Perform 8-12 repetitions per arm. You can repeat the movement 2-3 times.
Rifle Stability Drill
The last move is a drill you can add to any upper body workout that will fine tune the small muscles for better accuracy. We used it to help GoWild member Erin Merrill of And a Stronger Cup of Coffee, but she was not chasing turkeys. Erin dropped a moose offhand at 206 yards! Merrill stated, “This exercise helped me strengthen my arms, back, and core to allow me to carry, lift and shoot a 7.5 pound rifle without worrying about anything. I could focus on my shot and not on trying to maintain a steady rifle and made the shot without questioning accuracy in my mind.”
Use a PVC pipe or broomstick, and a resistance band or piece of paracord to connect a small weight to the end of the PVC pipe. Then mount the PVC stick like you would your shotgun and hold for 30-60 seconds. This drill will challenge the muscles of the core and shoulder in between sets, and you will notice the difference in how you shoot.
To be effective in the turkey woods, you do need to shoot your shotgun. No amount of training in the gym can replace practice and knowing your shot pattern at different yardage but adding in a few movements that will shore up the muscles in the core and shoulders may give you an added advantage. At a minimum, you will perform better in the field and in your everyday activities.
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We hope you have extreme success in the turkey woods this spring and Stay #FitToHunt