It's time to hit the spring woods for turkeys. You've patterned your shotgun, purchased shells and determined the location for your first turkey hunt of the season. But that's not all you need to make your turkey hunt a successful one. With over a thousand items available on the market today, finding the essentials can be an intimidating task, but this list of turkey hunting basics should give you a good head start.
Smaller items that are a must-have for the turkey hunter:
- DECOYS - Available in materials that are lightweight and easy to carry, decoys are an essential item for your set-up.
- CALLS - There are varieties of calls from friction to air to locator, so choose the ones that work best for you. Reliability and versatility are key factors.
- SAFETY - For safety, bring along a blaze orange vest and hat in order to carry your kill safely out of the woods.
- KNIFE - When looking ahead to victory, make sure you have a knife that is sharp enough to field dress your bird.
- HEADLAMP - A headlamp (along with extra batteries) also comes in handy for early morning set-ups or if you're taking a youngster with you. The recommendation being to use LEDs for their efficiency, but shut it off as quickly as you can.
- GPS - A map, compass, or GPS system allows you to note locations of importance and help you get around the woods, if you're in unfamiliar territitory.
- PERSONAL CARE - Anything the hunter will need to have a comfortable day out in the field should never be overlooked. Basics such as food, water, sunscreen and bug spray should be in your vest or bag.
Turkeys have extremely good eyesight. The wild turkey is not color blind like most species, so anything that does not blend in to the surroundings will give you away. Camouflaging your entire body is important. You also want to dress for comfort and any potential weather.
BOOTS. Waterproofing is something to take into account, as well as strong ankle support as terrain and weather conditions vary dramatically depending on location. The springtime is mild, so having a lightweight, un-insulated boot is a popular choice. Many hunters in the Deep South, however, choose high rubber boots for lowland areas; and a hunter in more rugged, rocky terrain looks for those boots offering the most support.
PANTS are along the same line as the boots. You'll typically want something lightweight and comfort is a must for long sits. Waterproof pants or camo rain pants allow for hunting to continue rain or shine.
SHIRTS and JACKETS should also be chosen based on temperature and habitat conditions. Most turkey hunters recommend layering; that way when weather changes, additions and subtractions can be made to the wardrobe. And although a safety vest should be purchased, a camouflaged turkey hunting vest is also essential because of the many pockets for holding all the small gear a hunter needs at a moment’s notice.
If you liked this checklist, and want a guide to help you choose the best gear, be sure to check out the products featured on our Best New Turkey Hunting Gear of 2018 article! Any obsessed turkey hunter is sure to find this gear list incredibly useful. Enjoy!