Turkey season has a way of creeping up on a man like a cheap pair of underwear! It was in the 30s a few weeks ago, and now trees are starting to bud out and the pollen is really coming on strong. This certainly means that turkey season is upon us. I know where I put all my gear from last spring….I think. I don’t want to wait until the day before the opener to try and find out. Now is the time to make sure you are ready to do battle with captain hooks out there this spring. Here are a few tips to make sure you are as prepared as you can be for turkey season:
1. Make sure you are legal. Game and Fish laws are constantly changing. Check out season dates, bag limits and if there are certain areas that require permits or prohibited to hunt. Nothing will ruin a great day in the woods due to a ticket that could have been avoided.
2. Pattern your turkey gun. It is astounding to me how few people pattern their gun with the load/chokes they will be hunting with. Are turkey loads expensive? Yup. The few dollars per round pales in comparison to the gas getting there, lease dues, licenses, etc. Shoot a few shells and you will be glad you did. Do turkey loads kick? Yup. However, you need to know exactly how your hunting setup is performing at distances from 10-50 yards.
3. Inspect your vest. Go through your vest with a purpose and be certain what is in good working order. Make a checklist for things that are necessities such as box call, slate call, diaphragm calls, binos, facemask, gloves, limb saw…and the list keeps going. Did you lose a striker last year in the hills while you were trying to get ahead of a henned-up gobbler? You see my point? Double check and know that you know what you have and that it is functioning properly.
4. Look at your decoys. If you stored your decoys in the attic or shed, they may have dry rotted, or mice got ahold of them….you don’t wanna find out as you are reaching back to deploy your ol’ faithful deke. Also, make sure you have stakes, and the right stakes for your decoys. I like to get mine out, wash them off and set them up to make sure they are ready for the big show.
5. Tune up your calls. Get out your calls and get to work. Practice your mouth calls in the truck on the way to work, kids’ ballgames or wherever you can. Don’t practice your friction calls in the truck! Get out where you can get loud, sand your strikers and chalk your boxes up to knock off any debris or dirt that accumulated last year. I am sure your neighbors will know turkey season is coming soon as they hear you cutting and yelping up a storm!
These are things we can control to help us maximize our time in the turkey woods this spring. We all know there are so many variables that we can’t control, so try and stack the odds in your favor by being prepared. The day is today and the time is now, as time waits for no man. Make time to get your gear ready and you will be glad you did.