Interested in trying out turkey hunting? While somewhat similar to other forms of bird hunting, there are some things specific to turkey hunting you’ll need. In this article, we go over everything you’ll need to turkey hunt so you aren’t left wishing you brought something on your next hunt. Few things are worse than going through your kit, and realizing you didn’t know you would need an item, or forgetting an item. Don’t let this happen to you.
What Do You Need to Turkey Hunt?
You’ll end up finding that there is a ton of different turkey hunting gear and accessories out there right now. While a lot of the things you may need are somewhat situational, there are some items (like turkey calls) that you will want to have on you regardless of when you hunt.
Being properly prepared is the first step of a successful hunt. Also, if some items are small, consider going by the rule ‘two is one, and one is none.‘ This is a military saying that revolves around the fact that you might end up losing something, or a piece of equipment may malfunction. If you only brought one of something, there is a chance that the one particular item will get lost, or won’t work – which leaves you with none.
Related: How to Turkey Hunt for Beginners
Don’t go overboard here; you don’t want to end up packing a completely separate item for everything. But something like a mouth call, batteries, gloves, face covers, and similar items may be worth bringing two of.
List of Things You’ll Need for Turkey Hunting
Honestly, you could end up writing down a huge list for everything you could possibly need in any scenario when it comes to hunting gobblers. In this list, we will give you an idea of the more essential items needed to have a good hunt:
- Weapon (Archery or Shotgun)
- Camouflage or Form of Cover (cover vs. concealment)
- License / Tag
- Form of Communication
This is the barebones, minimum list of things you will need to turkey hunt. You can add to this list, but never take away from it.
1. Weapon of Choice (Archery or Shotgun)
If you want to kill a turkey, you are going to need a weapon to do this – unless you’re a savage barbarian in which case do whatever you want, and also contact us so I can hunt with you.
Most hunters choose between a bow (archery) or a shotgun. Some hunters prefer both, so they can hunt both seasons.
There are obvious pros and cons to both weapons, but we will cover them in a different article. Beginners should stick with the shotgun of their choice.
You are going to need a way to call in the turkeys, so you can get them within striking range of your weapon. There are several different calls. The most popular are the mouth call, box call, and slate call.
Related: Different Types of Turkey Calls
While it is possible to hunt near food plots (no call is needed here), where you just wait for the birds to come eat, the real adventure is in running and gunning, or sitting put and calling in the birds. You need a turkey call for this.
3. Camouflage or Form of Cover (Cover vs. Concealment)
Did you know turkeys can see incredibly well? According to Mossy Oak, one of our trusted brands, “The wild turkey has a field of vision of about 270 degrees, and with just the slightest turn of the head, it can see nearly 360 degrees around itself.”
Related: Turkey Hunting Camo
If you do not hide behind something (cover) or camouflage yourself with the proper clothing, you will most likely be seen, and you will not kill a beard dragger.
Do not go out hunting without having water, or some form of hydration (no, beer doesn’t count as proper hydration, despite what the hunters around the camp say). Part of going out hunting for turkey requires some safety consideration, and staying hydrated is one way to combat heat stroke, or severe dehydration.
Find yourself a nice water bladder with a drinking tube attached to it (similar to a CamelBak), or a water bottle that can hold at least a quart of water.
5. License / Tag
Don’t go out poaching birds. Get yourself a license and tag in the state you’ll be hunting in. Each state has slightly different requirements for getting either a license, or a tag, so be sure to prepare well in advance for your turkey hunt.
6. Form of Communication
This comes brings us back to another safety discussion. Always, always have a way to communicate with other people if you go out and hunt. If something were to happen, and unfortunately things happen, you must have a way to let people know where you are.
Now days, most of us have a cellphone we can bring, and we’re lucky enough to get service almost everywhere. If you are hunting in an area with no service, try asking for a two way radio that you can give to someone at the camp.
Before departing, let someone know where you will be hunting, what time you’re heading out, and what time to expect you back.
Archery vs. Shotgun Seasons
Depending on your weapon of choice, you’ll need to hunt during that specified season. Archery seasons always come first, followed by shotgun. This is one many advantages to hunting with a bow over a gun. However, bow hunting is extremely tough, and it comes with another set of unique challenges that we won’t get into today.
Related: When is Turkey Hunting Season?
Regardless, make sure you’re hunting in your designated time period.
What Calls Do You Need for Turkey Hunting?
I would highly recommend you get good with at least one type of turkey call. You’re going to want to get to the point where you can mimic at least a few different types of turkey calls. This way, when the birds start chatting, you can call them in effectively.
If you can’t call, you basically just have to sit and wait, or stalk the turkeys you may end up hearing.
For those brand new to hunting, I recommend to get a mouth call and start practicing ASAP. Practice all the time. I find that practicing your turkey calls while driving is a great way to kill the time, and hone in on your bird calling skills.
Box calls and slate calls are relatively simple to learn for those that struggle with the mouth call. Look into these, and see what you think you’ll prefer. They all have their own pro’s and con’s.
What Camo Do You Need for Turkey Hunting?
Some people get REALLY into their outfits when they hunt. The choices for different camo patterns can be downright confusing, too.
Since the eyesight of a turkey is phenomenal, you should highly consider using the appropriate camo. You don’t have the go fork out several hundred dollars on the latest Sitka gear, but you should consider buying a camo pattern that matches your landscape and season.
For example, the patten known as mossy oak obsession is very popular for spring hunting, and even early fall hunting (depending on the region).
Think of your surroundings that you will be turkey hunting in, and try to find a pattern that matches that particular foliage. If you go hunting in late fall up in Northern Kansas, you probably won’t want much vibrant greens in your camo pattern, would you?
Summary – List of What You’ll Need for Turkey Hunting
And there you have it! As long as you take the following items, you will set the conditions for a great turkey hunt: weapon, proper calls, clothing/camo, water source, license/tag, communications equipment.
Realistically, you can bring whatever you feel you need to hunt. Feel free to add to this list, but I would not recommend taking away from it. These are the bare essentials for most people to have a successful hunt.