As with any type of hunting, you need to be prepared before taking the field. This pre-hunt preparation requires taking a hunter’s safety course, getting a license, and being aware of your local rules and regulations. You also need to find an area to hunt, spend time scouting and determine the turkey’s roost tree and feeding pattern.
Then it’s time to make sure you have all the gear needed for a turkey hunt. Traditionally, spring turkey is hunted with a shotgun, but some experienced hunters may choose to use a bow or crossbow. The most common weapon used is a 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotgun with a choke tube for a tight shot pattern with turkey load ammunition. Some hunters may also prefer high visibility fiber optics sights or a scope over traditional bead sights.
It’s important that you understand how your gun shoots and the shot patterns you get at various distances. Turkeys have great eyesight, so you want a shotgun that is a flat color or camo pattern. This is the reason why you also want to wear gloves and a facemask or face paint. Your apparel should be lightweight so you can cover ground quickly when you look for and hear birds. When it comes to hunting boots, make sure to wear a comfortable, waterproof pair, which is ideal for combating the springtime dew.
You’ll want to practice a couple calls until you are comfortable using each one. Pot, box and mouth calls are the basics, but there are other variations like glass surface, tube or push calls available. It’s always good to try different calls that have various pitches and tones to see what the birds respond to.
Turkey hunting requires a lot of gear, so it’s a good idea to keep it all organized with a turkey vest. They even typically come with a seat attached to the back as well.
Locator calls can be used to roost the birds at night. They can also come in handy early in the morning to give you an idea of where the birds are roosting and narrow down where you need to go.
If you are hunting in open areas or scanning fields, binoculars are a must. Decoys will help bring the gobblers in closer in these open areas. It’s recommended to carry your decoys in a camouflage bag as well.
You have the option of using a blind if placed correctly and the birds are close in the area. Blinds hide movement and allow you to maneuver for a better shot. They are also a good option for youth who are sitting for long periods. If you choose to take the bow approach, blinds also allow you to draw your bow. Be sure to use a stool or blind chair for a more comfortable hunt.
Insect repellent is always a great option with the ever-changing spring weather.
Having a GPS will allow you to mark where you hear birds or get you to where you want to set up in the dark. You can upgrade and get an understanding of terrain or purchase software that will supply live records of boundaries if you are close to posted property.
An action camera allows you to capture your hunt for future reference or to show your friends. And don’t forget about the after-hunt items as well like gutting gloves and sheers.
Check out the list below so you’re better prepared to go out and hunt some gobblers.
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