Back in the 90's, if your turkey gun had a scope, then there's a strong chance that your popularity level rose by an unprecedented amount. Friends would be coming out of the woodwork to check out your shotgun and news of this would spread to neighboring counties. Alright, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but it just goes to show how rare it was to have a scope on gun that was meant for gobblers. Around this same time, turkey shells were improving at holding patterns at longer distances. So naturally, taking farther shots and having a scope went together like bread and butter. Having the ability to knock down hung-up gobblers beyond 40 yards was a great moment in the turkey hunting world. As the popularity and pro's of having a low-powered scoped increased on your turkey rig increased, the downside to these setups began to show themselves.
Yes, there's no doubt that you can kill a turkey with a scope on your shotgun. Plenty of hunters have done it and plenty will continue to do it. Where I started to stray from this bunch was when I had a gobbler sneak up from behind my setup. This forced me to shoulder my shotgun quickly, find him in my scope and pull the trigger. It didn't work out as planned because of the eye relief on my scope and my ability to "throw" the gun up quickly and be on target. Perhaps some of you are comfortable with that setup and have no challenges with it. Personally, I don't shoot my turkey gun enough to feel good about that encountering a similar scenario again. In the end, I ditched the scope and went back to a bead sight.
Red dots have come a long way since they were first introduced. From what was once a heavy and somewhat bulky mass of metal resting on top of your receiver is now so small, that they're barely even noticeable. Per usual, the team over at Vortex knows a few things about
perfecting existing optics and taking them to the next level. With practically no magnification, a bright reticle and a low-profile housing, the Vortex Venom should be marketed as a turkey crushing accessory vs. just another awesome red dot.
The Venom weighs 1.1 ounces; so yes, it's literally non existent on your shotgun. It's super low-profile, which means that as a turkey hunter, you can get on target that much quicker and it provides an extremely wide field of view. With that wide view, you won't worry about having limited vision as if you were stuck looking through a standard tube scope. The red dot has a manual adjustment for brightness or can be switched to an automatic setting, which is really nice to have in the field. Covered with an ArmorTek coating, forget about worrying about the weather since its waterproof and will withstand the elements of the turkey woods just fine. Basically, I haven't found a flaw yet that would have me skeptical about installing this on my primary turkey gun.
After a quick installation(literally 3 minutes), the Venom was up and running. This optic just seems to be an extension of the shotgun, which is really nice when you pick it up. Shouldering the firearm and getting on target can finally be one smooth motion with your setup. Not exactly something that comes so naturally with a standard scope. Next up is patterning and sighting in, which I'm looking forward to seeing the results.