Turkey Hunting Gear
After a long winter, the start of spring turkey season is the welcome beginning of a new year out in the field. Because it is relatively accessible, for many hunters it is an introduction to the sport, and it is a welcome occasion for parents to bring young hunters into the field for the very first time.
No matter whether you are an experienced hunter or this is your first foray into this sport, it is important to put some thoughts into the turkey hunting gear you need to be successful.
Here, we give you an overview over the items that can help you make the best out of turkey season.
Turkey Hunting Vests, Bags or Backpacks
The question of vests is hotly debated and in the end it comes down to what fits your needs the best. Some like to carry everything they need in a fanny pack, others go for a bulky backpack with countless pockets.
A vest is something in between and you can find one for every preference. Some vests double as a backpack with integrated seat, but you will also find harnesses that can be folded into fanny packs. It always depends on the kind of equipment you carry and how long you plan to stay out.
Discover: The Best Turkey Hunting Vests
Your choice of footwear is dependent on the weather, season and your location. In most areas, you can simply go for tall rubber boots that have some ankle support and which should fit well – you do not want to be slowed down by blisters.
If you are hunting mountain turkey, it makes sense to get something more durable that gives you a good grip of the ground. Hiking boots or boots designed for military use are a good choice here.
Discover: The Best Hunting Boots
Different Types of Hunting Camo and Clothing
Turkeys have really good eyesight, so camo is definitely recommended, especially since turkey hunting is such a close-up game. You need to lure those strutters close to you while staying hidden yourself.
Your choice in texture or pattern should be informed by the territory and season you hunt in. Better go out and take a look at the vegetation before you buy camo – when the ground is still brown and covered in frost at the beginning of spring, you don’t want to stick out as the only fresh and green element in a sparse landscape. The same applies for other types of turkey hunting clothes.
Some people also recommend camo hats or balaclavas. When it comes to choosing a hat, be careful not to go for one that draws attention to your head movements, since turkeys have a sharp eye for detecting movement.
Discover: Turkey Hunting Camo
Turkey Hunting Calls
Here, you have three options when it comes to mimicking different wild turkey calls:
- Box calls
- Slate calls
- Diaphragm calls
Box or slate calls are good for beginners because they are easier to master than diaphragm calls. Of those two, slate calls tend to be the cheaper option.
Diaphragm calls, sometimes also called mouth calls, are the cheapest kinds of calls, and also the ones that offer you the most control over the calls you produce. You can control the sound and volume very efficiently and, from clucks to gobbles and yelps, mimic close to any noise a turkey makes. They are a bit more difficult to master than the slate or box calls, but if you look up some instruction videos online and make time for a couple of practice sessions, you will soon acquire an extremely useful skill.
Diaphragm calls give a huge benefit in leaving your hands free, though.
There is, technically, a fourth option, but their legality differs from state to state. Electronic turkey hunting calls are now a thing – yes, it’s true. While most hunters would never use one, some find them very beneficial. They are, at a minimum, worth checking out just to see them in action.
Discover: The Best Calls to Use For Turkey Hunting
Different Hunting Blinds
Blinds are not necessary for a successful turkey hunt but depending on your environment they can be pretty useful. If your location offers little by way of cover, a blind can help you stay hidden from even the most observant tom.
If you are hunting on your own land, you can even set up a heavier and more durable blind in a semi-permanent location, but there are also many options for lighter blinds that are easy to pack and set up.
Discover: Recommended Turkey Hunting Blinds
Decoys are also not a necessity, but they can significantly increase your success if you chose to go for them. Not only will a decoy attract turkeys in your range, but it also distracts the gobblers from noticing you. For such a short-range game, this can be very practical.
There are many decoys out there that look just like the real thing, and more realistic ones are being produced every year. Depending on your hunting situation and the time in the season, you might choose one that looks like a passive and smaller tom, or a threatening and aggressive one. Add one or several hens to elicit jealousy.
Some decoys even let you switch out or adjust parts like heads or the fan tail, so you can have all of these in one. High-quality decoys can be really expensive, but they can be more than worth it for the difference they make.
Discover: Great Turkey Decoys for Hunting
Weapons and Ammunition
Shotguns are the most popular weapons for hunting turkey. A 12-gauge gun is standard for turkeys, but a smaller gauge like a 16 or 20 also works.
You can also buy special turkey chokes for your shotgun. These tighten the shot pattern, which is useful since turkeys are rather big and you hunt them on the ground – a wider, more spread-out shot pattern makes more senses for smaller birds in flight.
There are also special turkey guns available. You can make do without them, but if to choose to go for one, they have neat features like mounts for a sight or larger accessories to make them easier to handle when wearing gloves.
When it comes to turkey loads, there are several good options on the market. In the end it depends on the gauge and shot pattern you have chosen.
Hunting turkeys with bow and arrow is also popular. There are broadheads that are specifically designed to immediately kill a turkey with a shot to the head or neck, but you can also choose ones that have a wider range of applications and with which you can also hunt game.
As you can see, the possibilities are sheer endless. Since every state has different rules about what you can hunt turkeys with, though, always make sure to check local regulations before you decide for a weapon.
Other things to include in your turkey hunting gear
- Tick repellents
- A good-quality thermos
- Hand warmers
All in all, when you are dressed for the weather and location and understand your local hunting regulations, you are good to go and put some gobblers on the table. No matter which season, turkey hunting is an exciting memorable experience for new and experienced hunters alike.
Here are some of the more common questions you might have when looking for your turkey hunting gear.
How Much Gear Will I Need to Go Hunt a Turkey?
Well, it depends on you, and your budget. At a bare minimum, you’ll need: a weapon, appropriate clothing, a water container, and preferably a mouth call. While this is the BARE minimum, it would technically be possible to nail a beard dragger with only this.
Is Turkey Hunting Gear Expensive?
It can be, but you don’t always need to buy the best of the best accessories to be successful. There is always a price friendly option of gear that will work well without breaking the bank.
What Does Gear-do Mean?
A gear-do is someone who gets all of the nicest pieces of gear, camo, attachments, accessories – everything is the newest and best of the best technology. They might not be the best hunter, but they sure as hell look the part!