Top 5 Takeaways from Turkey Hunting 101

As a new hunter and turkey season fast approaching, the rapid flow of information can easily become overwhelming. Even if you are fortunate enough to have a seasoned hunter’s brain available for picking, it can be difficult to digest all the information a first-timer will need. Fortunately, classes and seminars specifically crafted for new hunters are available to help pinpoint basic information and essential tactics. Even working at a hub of turkey hunting knowledge such as the NWTF Headquarters- there is still plenty to learn to be best prepared for your first turkey season. Best advice? When the opportunity arises, you grab your backpack, head to Turkey Hunting 101 and pick up a few key lessons.

  1. Consider your hunting location before purchasing camo
    1. Camo can’t do its job if you buy the wrong print for your hunting location. Make your selection based on the colors of the area around the time of your hunt. If you’re going to be hunting in different areas (brown western brush vs lush green forests) you may need more than one set to make sure you blend in.
  2. Your shotgun is your most important tool, but is ultimately up to personal preference.
    1. Turkey guns usually consist of 12-gauge or 20-gauge shotguns, though some experienced hunters choose to use muzzleloaders, bows or other gauges of shotguns. Modern turkey loads as well as extra-full chokes have given hunters an advantage through more concentrated shot patterns. Various sights can be added to firearms and are offered in numerous price ranges.
  3. Ensure that you’re comfortable in your setup
    1. Hunting is often a waiting game and ensuring you’re comfortable not only allows you to be more patient and successful, but also safe.
  4. Proper identification on both gender and range is vital to ensure a legal and ethical kill.
    1. Proper identification: Toms: have long beards, black-tipped body feathers, blue/red freshly heads and a larger size fan. 
      Hens: typically have no beard (if bearded, most likely shorter), brown-tipped body feathers, small heads with some feathers and are smaller in overall size.
    2. A turkey is within range at under 40 yards. Generally, if you can see his eyes, he's in shooting range. 
  5.   Don’t sweat imperfect calling
    1. While practicing your calls before opening day is important, and certainly increases your chances of bringing in a gobbler, don’t let a lack of calling confidence keep you out of the woods. Box, pot and pushpin calls are typically easier for beginners to handle, and help kill numerous birds each year.

If you’re interested in learning more about the basics of turkey hunting, check the “in your area” section of our website to locate classes and seminars near you.

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