As you take on learning to hunt, there are plenty of things to absorb. One of the hardest things for a new hunter can be figuring out what gear to buy and bring into the turkey woods. Fortunately, turkey hunters have many choices in gear, and new equipment comes along each year. But for beginners, keeping it simple may be the best advice. Having a mentor is one of the best ways to ensure success early on in your learn-to-hunt journey. Mentors can help navigate the newness of hunting and help you make sense of what to do and when to do it.
• No matter what gear you do or don’t take into the field, safety should be everyone’s top priority. Safe handling of a firearm is paramount for new and seasoned hunters alike.
• Beyond being safety conscious, find a turkey call that you can consistently get good hen sounds out of and use just that one. As your experience grows, your arsenal of calls will likely grow as well, but starting out with just one is perfectly OK.
• Buy camo that is comfortable and allows you to blend into your surroundings. For women hunters, that may be a little taller order than for the guys, so try on a few different sizes, cuts and brands to find one that works for you. The beautiful greens of Mossy Oak’s NWTF Obsession work well for most parts of the country in the spring.
• With the new turkey loads, your choice for guns is ever increasing. Even with all the choices, the advice to shoot what you are comfortable with still holds true. Whether borrowing a gun or using one of your own, remember to pattern it with the ammo you will be using when hunting.
• A blind, although great for beginner hunters, is not necessary. Many hunters prefer to sit among nature without the interference of a blind. Just remember to relax, limit your movements and enjoy the hunt.
• A good knife or a pair of hand pruners is also a smart choice. It’s inevitable, the place you’ve chosen as your perfect spot to set up will have a briar or a shrub limb sticking out just a little too far. With a knife or a pair of clippers in your gear, you can clear away any unwanted debris before sitting down. Having a knife is also helpful for notching your turkey tag after you’ve shot your gobbler.
Although you can spend thousands of dollars outfitting yourself for your first hunt, it isn’t necessary. Some good camo, a gun, a turkey call and a little patience is all you need … unless you’re in the South; there, a Thermacell is a must to keep mosquitoes from carrying you away.