There are so many turkey hunting products in the stores, online and in catalogs that it will make your head hurt just thinking about it, but every turkey hunter needs a few pieces of gear to be successful. Plus, some things just make life easier. Here’s a good list to go from:
- Shotgun, ammo and choke
Get a gun that doesn’t shine or stand out, a camo or black-matte finish work best. Otherwise, use camo tape to hide shiny metal surfaces. Install a sling, so it’s easy to carry.
Camo that conceals you from turkeys and keeps you dry and comfortable afield is a necessity, including a hat, gloves and a facemask. Layer your clothing to match the weather and if it’s raining, you’ll want good raingear.
- Good Hunting Boots
Make sure your boots fit well and keep your feet comfortable. Use knee-high rubber or neoprene boots in wet areas, ankle-high hiking boots if you cover a lot of ground while hunting and knee-high snake boots in snake country.
- Game Calls
Calling is the heart and soul of the turkey hunting tradition. You don’t have to sound like a pro, but make sure you are skilled and confident with your calls.
Helpful Turkey Tools
People who hunt in thick woods won’t use them as much as people who hunt open or mixed areas, such as fields, pastures, prairies, clear cuts or open woods.
They can be controversial, and many people don’t use them, but if you sit and call at open areas, you’ll need one or more. A gobbler needs to see there’s a hen calling before he’ll come in. The best decoy mixes are an upright, feeding or breeding hen and a jake or gobbler. Those should cover you for almost any situation.
- Pop-up Blinds
Like them or not, blinds are useful in many situations, such as field hunting, sitting for long periods, hunting in bad weather or taking young or new hunters who might move around.
- Seat Cushions
Buy the best seat cushion you can afford. You can sit on the ground and shoot a turkey, but if you sit longer than an hour, your fanny will beg for some padding.
- Ratchet Clippers
They may be bulky, but they make clearing brush or undergrowth for a shooting lane or cover a breeze.
- Range Finders
Light, packable, easy to use and they remove questions about distance. You don’t want to shoot at a gobbler 45 yards away when your gun is good to 35 yards.
You’ll need a good system to carry and organize all of this gear into the woods. Turkey vests are useful and let you tote calls, shells and decoys, while keeping things where they’re easy to access.
Over time, you’ll decide what you need in the woods and what you can leave at home. Whether you carry only a mouth call and a gun or go with a vest full of stuff, make sure your gear is in good working order and improves your time afield. Your knowledge and skill will define your success, but having the right equipment sure helps.
Download our Turkey Hunter's Checklist here and don't forget a thing this season.