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For a successful turkey hunt, you must have not only the skills but the right gear, too. With the amount of turkey hunting products on the market, it can be challenging for a beginner to know which gear to take to increase your chances of bagging a gobbler. So, if you’re ready to become a turkey hunting pro, here is a checklist of 11 turkey hunting gear items you cannot forget.
Essential Turkey Hunting Gear
This attire is essential when it comes to hunting. A head-to-toe camouflage outfit allows you to conceal yourself from your prey. Wild turkeys have astonishing eyesight, so you must be as concealed as possible when moving. For example, try and match your camouflage attire to the terrain you are hunting to give you a better chance of success. Turkey tends to inhabit open woodland, so underbrush patterned camo is ideal.
The garments also ensure you keep dry, warm, and as comfortable as possible. When hunting in adverse weather conditions, you should use insulated base layers under your camo.
Also, don’t forget camouflage gloves and hats. A neck gaiter is optional, as well as painting your face a camo color.
A well-manufactured and sturdy hunting boot is important for a strong pursuit. When choosing your footwear, ensure they fit well and stay comfortable for long periods. Suitable materials to look out for are rubber or neoprene, as these textiles work well in wet and boggy areas. Knee-high designs are excellent choices for these locations, too.
If you are covering high ground on your hunt, opt for ankle-high hiking boots for added stability. Or, if you’re planning on hunting in snake country, a knee-high snake boot is a sensible option.
In most states, the most common weapon of choice is shotguns, bows, and muzzleloaders. However, many turkey hunters also opt to take a choke with them on their hunt too. This piece of equipment allows the gun to keep the shot pattern tight.
You can specifically buy turkey choke tubes that are manufactured for categorically hunting turkeys. Modern turkey chokes and loads have a 12 and 20 gauge and work efficiently when hunting the bird.
Many avid turkey hunters pack five shotgun shells for their gun. They always use three for the gun and take two as reserves.
When choosing turkey loads, a standard 2¾” or 3” magnum tungsten is ideal for shooting turkeys past 50 yards. Tungsten shells also make 20-gauge shotguns great for hunting turkeys.
Hunting knives are used for preparing game to be used as food. They are also useful when field-dressing your turkey. Choose a hunting knife with a clip point off trailing point blade as the slender tip is ideal for removing breast meat, while the hefty edge can break through the bones.
Check out the types of knives you can use for your next hunting trip, read this article.
An age-old tradition in the sport of turkey hunting, learning to game call can increase your chances of making a catch. The most common and best coaxing call is a yelp. This is the most basic form of communication for wild turkeys, and it is the primary call of hens showing an interest in breeding.
When calling, try and sound disinterested, like the average hen walking around. However, you should also move around and call every few minutes, as it is uncommon for turkeys to sit in one position and yelp.
If your hand calls are not up to scratch, you can purchase a box call. Some are manual, some are electronic, and emulate the sound of another turkey to lure the prey closer to you.
Decoys are great pieces of hunting equipment that distract turkeys from your presence, allowing you to prepare for your shot. There are a variety of different decoys you can purchase that work best in certain situations.
For example, when hunting during the spring season, jake and hen decoys work well. This is because these decoys attract both hens and gobblers. If a dominant hen approaches the decoy, gobblers are never far behind.
Hunting Licenses and Tags
Whether you’re an experienced turkey hunter or a novice, it’s essential to be aware of the etiquette and rules of the sport. In many states, it is a legal requirement to hold a hunting license, but one hunting license does not cover all states. Therefore, if you cross state lines to go turkey hunting, you should obtain a hunting license from that state. You should also comply with the state’s fish and game department requirements.
You can easily purchase and access licenses online, with e-Licenses often available for each state. You can also obtain a hunting license at any license agent or retail outlets that provide hunting and fishing equipment.
For beginners, you can also purchase apprentice licenses. These documents are available to those who have yet to obtain their hunter safety certificate.
Licensing protects local turkey populations, ensuring there are plenty of game birds for subsequent hunting seasons. Bag limits vary from state to state because some areas have a larger turkey population than others. To check the bag limit of your state, as well as the turkey season dates, head to the National Wild Turkey Federation. You’ll find all the information you need about the laws and turkey hunting requirements of your state.
First Aid Kit
First aid kits are essential when hunting. Hunters need always to be prepared when heading out on an expedition, and first aid kits come in handy if a hunt doesn't go to plan. These kits need to include basic medical items, including pressure bandages, antibiotic cream, and painkillers. You should also pack sunscreen and insect repellant in your first aid kit to prevent sunburn, heatstroke, and bug bites from ruining your hunting expedition.
If you’re planning on a long day in the woods, you will need some supplies to keep your energy levels up. Essentials such as snacks and water are crucial. In addition, you should opt for slow energy-releasing foods such as granola bars, jerky, and dried fruit, as these snacks can keep you alert and focused for the majority of the day.
Avoid food items with intense aromas. While turkeys have a poorly developed sense of smell, pungent foods can attract larger predators, which could spook the turkey population.
In the event of an unprecedented storm or foggy day, you get lost in the dense forest. If this happens, navigational equipment is critical to lead you to safety. Always carry items such as a headlamp, maps, and a GPS.
Improve Your Turkey Hunting Skills
This essential turkey hunting gear checklist will set you in good stead to becoming a well-seasoned hunter.
Ensure you purchase the correct attire for the optimum concealment, as well as choosing the best clothing for your particular hunting terrain. Understand the environment you are hunting in and research how you can increase your chances of a catch there.
By checking off everything on this list, you’ll have everything you need to embark on a safe, successful, and enjoyable hunt.
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