Spring turkey season is a highly anticipated time of year for many hunters across the country. It is a time to venture out into the great outdoors, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and attempt to bag a wild turkey. But for those who are new to turkey hunting, the prospect of getting started can be a bit daunting. In this article, we will provide some helpful tips and advice on how to get started in spring turkey season.
When it comes to spring turkey hunting, having the right gear can make all the difference in a successful and enjoyable hunting experience. Here are some essential items to consider:
Turkey Calls: Turkey calls are essential to lure turkeys in close enough for a successful shot. There are various types of calls such as box calls, slate calls, and mouth calls. It’s important to practice with your call before heading out.
Camouflage Clothing: Turkeys have excellent eyesight, so it’s crucial to wear camouflage clothing that blends in with the surroundings. Choose clothing that is comfortable, lightweight, and breathable.
Turkey Vest: A turkey vest is a specialized hunting backpack that allows you to carry all your essential gear, including calls, decoys, and extra ammunition. Some vests also have built-in seating pads, which can come in handy during long sits.
Shotgun or Bow: Choose a shotgun or bow that is appropriate for turkey hunting. Shotguns are the most common choice, with a 12-gauge being the most popular. If you choose to hunt with a bow, make sure you practice shooting from a sitting position.
Decoys: Turkey decoys can help lure in a gobbler, making for a more successful hunt. Choose decoys that look realistic and are easy to set up.
Binoculars: Binoculars are essential for scouting and locating turkeys at a distance. Choose a pair that is lightweight and easy to carry.
Hunting Boots: A good pair of hunting boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable, even in wet or muddy conditions. Look for boots with good traction and support.
Bug Repellent: Spring is a prime time for ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects. Make sure to pack bug repellent to protect yourself from bites and potential diseases.
Hunting License: Finally, make sure you have a valid hunting license and any required permits for the state you’ll be hunting in.
By having the right gear and equipment, you’ll be well-prepared for a successful spring turkey hunting trip.
Scouting is an essential part of preparing for a successful spring turkey hunt. Here are some tips on the best ways to scout for spring turkey:
Look for Turkey Sign: Look for fresh turkey sign such as tracks, scat, and feathers. You can also look for areas where turkeys have been dusting, which is where they roll around in the dirt to remove parasites.
Listen for Gobbling: Listen for gobbling during early morning hours, which is when turkeys are most active. Turkeys will often gobble in response to a loud noise such as a crow call.
Use Trail Cameras (where allowed): Set up trail cameras in areas where you’ve seen turkey sign or heard gobbling. Trail cameras can provide valuable information on the timing and frequency of turkey activity in specific areas.
Use a Mapping Tool: Use Google Maps or other mapping tools, like OnX Hunt or GoHunt (use referral email firstname.lastname@example.org when you sign up and get up to $50 in GoHunt Points)to scout for potential hunting areas. Look for areas with good turkey habitat such as fields, food plots, and open hardwoods.
Talk to Other Hunters: Talk to other hunters in the area to gather information on where they’ve seen turkeys or heard gobbling. You can also talk to landowners or wildlife biologists for advice on where to hunt.
Use Decoys: Try setting up decoys in potential hunting areas to see if any turkeys come to investigate. Decoys can also help you determine the best location for your blind or tree stand.
By using a combination of these scouting methods, you can gather valuable information on turkey activity in your hunting area and increase your chances of a successful hunt.
Plan Your Hunt
Planning a spring turkey hunt requires careful preparation to increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable experience. Here are some steps to follow when planning your hunt:
Determine the Hunt Location: Decide on the state, region, or specific hunting property where you want to hunt. Research the area’s turkey population, regulations, and hunting seasons.
Obtain Required Licenses and Permits: Purchase the necessary hunting licenses and permits for the state and area where you’ll be hunting. Make sure you understand the regulations, bag limits, and any other restrictions.
Choose the Hunting Method: Decide on the hunting method you’ll use, such as calling, stalking, or using decoys. Select the appropriate gear and practice using it before the hunt.
Scout the Hunting Area: Scout the area before the hunt to identify turkey locations, feeding and roosting areas, and potential blind or stand locations.
Secure Accommodations: Arrange for accommodations such as a hotel, campground, or cabin rental, depending on your preferences and the proximity of your hunting location.
Prepare Your Hunting Gear: Ensure your hunting gear is in good working condition and prepare for any necessary repairs or replacements. Pack your gear in a hunting backpack, and ensure you have enough ammunition, calls, and other necessary items.
Pack Essential Items: Pack essential items such as food, water, first aid kit, and personal hygiene products. Remember to pack bug repellent, sunscreen, and any other outdoor essentials.
Plan for Emergencies: Plan for any emergencies by bringing a fully charged mobile phone, a GPS device, and a map of the area. Inform someone of your hunting plans and expected return time.
The camo required for spring turkey hunting will depend on the regulations of the state or area where you plan to hunt.
When selecting camo for spring turkey hunting, consider the vegetation and terrain of the area where you’ll be hunting. Choose camo with colors and patterns that mimic the local vegetation, such as greens, browns, and grays.
It’s important to choose camo that is lightweight, breathable, and comfortable, as you may be sitting still for long periods. Look for camo clothing that is specifically designed for turkey hunting, with features such as padded knees and elbows, built-in cushioned seating, and specialized pockets for calls and decoys.
In addition to clothing, consider wearing a camo facemask or hat to conceal your face and hands. This can help to further blend in with the surroundings and avoid detection by the sharp eyesight of turkeys.
Before purchasing camo, be sure to check the regulations of the state or area where you’ll be hunting to ensure compliance with the required clothing and gear.
There are several types of turkey calls available for turkey hunting. Here are some of the most common types:
Box Calls: Box calls are one of the easiest and most versatile turkey calls to use. They consist of a rectangular box with a hinged lid that is rubbed back and forth to produce a range of turkey sounds.
Slate Calls: Slate calls, also known as pot calls, consist of a circular slate or glass surface that is stroked with a striker to produce turkey sounds. They are known for their versatility and can produce a wide range of turkey sounds.
Mouth Calls: Mouth calls, also known as diaphragm calls, are inserted into the mouth and operated by air pressure and tongue movement to produce turkey sounds. They are the most compact and hands-free option, but also require some practice to master.
Locator Calls: Locator calls are used to locate turkeys before the hunt begins. They include crow calls, owl hoots, and woodpecker calls.
Electronic Calls (Check Local Regulations): Electronic calls use pre-recorded turkey sounds and can be operated remotely, making them an excellent option for beginners or hunters with limited mobility.
It’s important to note that different types of calls may be more effective in different situations, so it’s a good idea to have a variety of calls available and to practice using them before the hunt. Additionally, always check the regulations of the state or area where you plan to hunt to ensure compliance with any restrictions on the use of turkey calls.
Turkey hunting requires a great deal of patience, as turkeys can be notoriously difficult to hunt. Here are some aspects of patience that can be helpful for a successful turkey hunt:
Waiting for the Right Moment: Turkey hunting often requires waiting for extended periods for the right moment to make a shot. It’s important to remain calm and patient during this time, even if it means sitting still and remaining quiet for several hours.
Being Persistent: Turkeys can be elusive and difficult to locate, so it’s important to be persistent and keep trying even if you don’t see or hear anything for a while. This may mean scouting multiple locations or returning to the same spot multiple times.
Being Flexible: Turkey hunting requires adaptability and flexibility, as turkeys can be unpredictable and may not respond to calls or decoys in the way you expect. Being patient and willing to adjust your strategy can be key to a successful hunt.
Avoiding Impatience and Frustration: Hunting can be an emotional experience, and it’s important to avoid becoming impatient or frustrated if things don’t go as planned. Remember that patience and persistence are key, and that a successful hunt may take time and effort.
By cultivating these aspects of patience, you can increase your chances of a successful and enjoyable turkey hunting experience.
Turkey hunting can be a safe and enjoyable experience when proper safety precautions are taken. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while turkey hunting:
Wear Hunter Orange: It’s important to wear at least one piece of hunter orange clothing, such as a hat or vest, to increase visibility and avoid accidental shootings.
Know Your Target and What’s Beyond It: Before taking a shot, make sure you have positively identified your target as a turkey and that there is a safe and clear backdrop beyond it.
Be Mindful of Other Hunters: Be aware of other hunters in the area and avoid hunting near them. Be cautious when moving in and out of hunting areas, and make your presence known with vocal calls or whistles.
Use Decoys and Calls Safely: When using decoys and calls, be mindful of your surroundings. Make sure you are visible to other hunters when moving decoys.
Practice Safe Firearm Handling: Always treat your firearm as if it is loaded, and keep the safety on until you are ready to shoot. Never point your firearm at anything you do not intend to shoot, and keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire.
Communicate with Hunting Partners: Before hunting with others, establish clear communication and safety protocols. Make sure everyone is aware of each other’s locations and movements, and agree on a safe zone of fire.
Be Prepared for Emergencies: Carry a first-aid kit, a means of communication, and a map or GPS device in case of emergencies.
By following these safety tips and using common sense, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable turkey hunting experience.