Turkey hunting is so fun, and its delicious too. I have always hunted big game, but I found turkey hunting was really fun, not to mention its usually warmer, and a good way to add another hunt to your year. A few things I have learned is that no two hunts are exactly the same. Turkeys have nowhere to go and all day to get there, and just when you think you have them figured out, you don’t.
Find Good Gobbler Ground, search the internet for areas of public or private land where turkey hunting is possible. If you live near turkey ground, scout early; take a Sunday drive and use your eyes and ears. If you are new to turkey hunting, consider buying a guided hunt, they are inexpensive, and you will learn a lot. Once you find a spot, actually, get out onto the property and look for turkey signs – tracks, scratch marks, droppings, feathers, etc. You can find the roosting site can be by listening for gobbling birds at first and last day light. Such spots also can be found by taking a good walk; look along rivers, creeks and streams – and searching the ground underneath tall trees. Use a trail camera if you can.
After figuring out where the birds are roosting on the property you’re going to hunt, the next thing you’ll want to do is figure out where the birds are eating on a daily basis. In addition to finding where turkeys are roosting and feeding on a regular basis, you’ll also want to be on the lookout for such spots as potential nesting grounds (usually in heavy cover on higher ground away from creeks and bottomland areas that could flood); strutting zones (where wing drag-marks are left behind by strutting gobblers); and travel areas; field edges, ranch roadways, farm two-tracks and game trails that have new turkey tracks.
Keep in mind turkeys are wild animals and they don’t take kindly to a lot of human trespassing, So keep your on-the-ground scouting to a minimum and do it in the middle of the day.
Talk Turkey- I’m not very good at it, but I’ve learned the hard way, that it is important to learn how to make all the various turkey calls and to know the right time to use them. This is where a good guide is valuable, but you can learn on your own also. Again its important to practice, practice, practice. I take a mouth call on my walks and in the car; and play with it in my mouth. Its also important to match your call to your decoys. Listen to calls online or to the real birds and try to match their rhythm. The first time I went turkey hunting they came in one second and were gone the next, I learned its important to “always” be looking for them, if its thick they come in super quiet sometimes, and be careful not to spook them (don’t blink).
Like all hunting if you aren’t having luck one day, get back out again the next. Pattern what the turkeys leave behind to nail down their daily travels. Make your setup along this reliable path. Use a blind if it’ll help you sit longer. And the “experts” say that you can’t spot and stock a turkey, but last spring we were having unusual warm weather. I shot my turkey after we spotted a small group, but they wouldn’t come to our calls very good as they were done mating, I think. I crawled 200 yards on my hands and knees with my shot gun toward them, stopping behind sage brush if I thought one was looking, while my husband stayed back using a mouth call and bobbing ms. purfect. When I finally got close enough for a good shot, I slowly raised my gun and took the shot. It is fun to call them to you, but the crawl was also very exciting.
You don’t need everything on this list before you go gobbler hunting, but the right gear will sure help. First you need a license, And if this is your first hunt, maybe find a buddy that has turkey hunted before. I recommend reading all you can to learn how to have a successful hunt before you spend the gas money. If you are not camping, of course you can shorten this list by a lot.
GUN TIP: Practice, practice, practice; and use what you are comfortable with.
Shotgun with a sling
Turkey loadsTurkey choke, if needed for your state
Turkey decoys (at least 2 a hen and jake)
Binoculars (with a Harness)
Turkey calls of your choice
- Box call
- Diaphram calls, Slate or glass pot, and peg call
- Crow locator call or Owl hooter call
- Other locator calls
- Bow *check Regulations in the state you are hunting
- Bow Case
CLOTHING TIP: The clothes you take on your turkey hunt probably won’t make or break your hunt, but they sure can make keep you more comfortable. Turkey hunting is in the spring or fall, when the weather is anything but predictable. I like to stay warm and make sure that I am ready for whatever the weather brings. I like Prois or Girls with Guns camo. Im told turkeys can see you blink, there is a lot of camo brands out there and even the new hex clothing for movement, whatever camo you use, it is important that you have it one. Make sure you are in layers, you want to be warm enough, but not too hot.
- Underwear (1 pair per day)
- Base Layer Top and Bottom (2 – 3 pairs per week)
- Lightweight Camo Jacket
- Windstopper Camo Jacket
- Lightweight Camo Shirt (3 – 5 per week)
- Lightweight Camo Pants (1-2 pair per week)
- Midweight Camo Pants (1 pair per week)
- Rain Gear
- Lightweight Gloves
- Midweight Gloves
- Camo Stocking Cap or Camo Beanie
- Camo face net or Camo face paint, I like Natures Paint from www.naturespaint.org
BOOT TIP: Be sure that you choose the right boots and socks for the type of hunt you are going on, and that they are well broken in. Where I hunt its blustery, so I wear artic muck boots.
- Waterproof Hunting Boots
- Socks (1 pair per day)
- Camp Shoes
- Ground Blind
- Folding Chair
- Bow Holder
- Water Bottle
- Hunting Knife/ tools
- GPS or soft-wear if you need it.
- Fire starters
- Dry Bag
CAMPING GEAR- (if camping)
- Tent (appropriate for the trip)
- Large Duffel Bag
- Sleeping Bag (appropriate for the season/region)
- Sleeping Pad, pillow
- Eating Utensils
- Large Fuel Container(s)
- Camp Stove
- Paper Towels
- TP/Wet Wipes
- Ziploc Bags
- Heavy Garbage Bags
- Dry Bag
- First Aid Kit
PERSONAL AND MISC. ITEMS
- Chap-stick, and sunscreen
- BALLECK gear, Dry Shower, Gunk Off, and Wilderness Warmth powder
And a Camera of course to capture your hunt, but I’m sure you won’t forget your phone.