Learning how to Turkey hunt can seem like a daunting task to someone who doesn’t know the difference in between a gobble and a yelp. Here are some simple tips to point someone new to this amazing sport in the right direction.
Gear: There is a multitude of options when it comes to taking to the turkey woods. Here is what I would consider the bare minimum when heading out after thunder chickens.
Calls: If you don’t own anything yet, start with a box call. They are by far the simplest turkey calls to pick up and use. Myself,and I’m sure %90 of other turkey hunters started out this way. Also,grab a hoot owl call while you’re at the store. These are fairly cheap,but can have a huge impact on your hunting. When trying to locate birds before daylight,a good snort through a barred owl call will generally rouse even the oldest birds. Check out THIS POST for some basic calling tips.
Clothing: A turkeys eyesight is uncanny. I’ve had birds spot me blinking from 75 yards away. For this reason,dress in full,head to toe camouflage,including gloves and face mask. Generally a pattern with some green to it,as vegetation is beginning to come in during the early spring months. Both Kevin and I wear Mossy Oak patterns,and haven’t been let down by them yet, but to be honest, if all you have is a bunch of army pattern camo,don’t let that stop you from hitting the woods.
Footwear: When you are turkey hunting,you will be walking a lot. Like, A LOT a lot. You need to be comfortable in order to put in the extra miles on foot. A lot of different style boots work,but I prefer the neoprene outer style rubber boots,with a comfort in sole inside. These seem to keep my feet dry while traipsing through soaking wet fields and creeks,while still remaining fairly light and comfortable. A good set of waterproofed leather boots will work well also. A rule of thumb is as long as they are comfortable,light,and keep you dry, they’ll do.
Gun: Well,I guess it wouldn’t make much sense if we spent all this time getting our clothes,shoes,and calls together without grabbing a gun now would it? Guns vary vastly on what works for turkeys,but here are some guidelines. The most common gun you’ll see in the woods is a short-barreled 12 gauge,loaded with 3 1/2″ turkey loads. Most any “Turkey” branded gun you see on the shelf will be some variation of this style. Here is where I disagree with gun makers. I carry a Mossberg 835, a very common model in the turkey woods,but mine has a 28″ barrel on it,rather than a 26″ you see on most turkey guns, as well as an extra inch of choke tube. My reason is this: Sometimes, a Tom isn’t gonna come in to 20 yards for a perfect shot. I’ve had several hang up out at 60-70 yards, but offer me a clear, unobscured shot. The farthest bird I’ve taken with this type gun was at 67 yards. Try making that shot with a short gun. I gladly give up 3-4″ of portability for an extra 15 yards of range.
Many a old-timer went into the woods with these items,or oftentimes less,and came out with a bird over their shoulder. It just goes to show with some good woodsmanship and a little want to, anybody can become a great turkey hunter, no matter the budget. Good luck,and good huntin’!