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This is Extremely Serious – Important Turkey Hunting Success Tips

If you are going on your first turkey hunt, and even if you are an experienced hunter, there are some things you can do, and some things you should know to make your experience awesome. This article will explain what you should wear, what you should bring and give a small intro to how to turkey hunt.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve had the good fortune of personally taking 15 women turkey hunting, and most got their bird.  I’ve learned so much over the years, and learn more every time I go out, but I have put some things together that make the turkey hunting experience awesome.  I am a self-taught turkey hunter, and when I say that I really mean, “taught by many”.  I had the good fortune for my second ever turkey hunt to be with a friend of the family, Jason Michael, who is a very experienced turkey hunter and in 65 days, he completed the Grand Slam, World Slam, Mexican Slam and the Canadian Slam. He taught me a lot about turkey hunting.  I hunted Osceola turkeys in Florida with a guide, Jimmy, and he also took time to teach me why we were doing things.

  • turkey hunting harvest
  • turkey hunting harvest
  • turkey hunting harvest
  • turkey hunting harvest
  • turkey hunting harvest

When turkey hunting – think about comfort

Keep the bugs away when turkey hunting

In spring especially, but sometimes in fall turkey hunting season, there will be mosquitos.  Get a Thermacell, this mosquito repellant devise will keep the mosquitos away.  There will also be ticks, spray your clothes with a Permethrin spray prior to the hunt, so it has time to dry; and use some spray with deet in it the day of the hunt to help keep ticks off of you.   When you spray your clothes, concentrate on tick entry points: waist bands, sleeve and pant cuffs, neck line, etc, and don’t forget your hat.

Dress for success when turkey hunting, wear TrueTimber camo or dark clothes.  You will need a face mask or to paint your face, cover your hands with light weight gloves.  Dress in layers because it is normally cool and wet in the early morning, but as the sun comes up, it will get a bit warmer. Don’t forget to treat your clothes with Permethrin spray to keep ticks at bay. 

Where comfortable boots like LaCrosse hiking boots or rubber boots.  Take an extra pair of socks.  If it rains or the dew is bad, your feet will be the first thing to get cold – it’s nice to have dry socks to put on.  Hand warmers are also a great thing to have with you.

turkey hunting, shawn Hawke, Thermacell, vortex, hunter specialities, Truetimber, Bass Pro shops

When turkey hunting think about the gear and things you’ll need:

Must have things to take turkey hunting:

  • Turkey Hunting License, Tag or Permit (depending what State you are turkey hunting in)
  • Shotgun or bow
  • Ammo or arrows
  • Turkey Call
  • Pen or cell phone to mark your license
  • Walker’s Hearing Protection
  • Headlamp (or cell phone flashlight) to see your way in the dark
  • Cold Steal Knife
  • ThermaCell
  • Water
  • Snacks

Nice to have things for turkey hunting are:

  • Binoculars
  • Turkey Vest to organize your gear
  • Shooting Sticks
  • Decoy (you can hunt turkey without a decoy, but I’ve always had more success with a decoy)
  • Camera
  • Chair, Stool or pad to sit on
  • Sometimes, turkey hunting requires a bit of waiting for the birds to get to you, so consider bringing a book.  You can get on your phone, but turn set it to silent, and don’t use it until daylight. 
phone in blind turkey hunting reading

You’ve got all the things you’ll need to turkey hunt, now let’s learn how to turkey hunt

First and foremost, Gun Safety

If hunting out of a blind, walk to the blind with your gun unloaded.  When you get to the blind, load them, but leave the safety on and keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.  There are many opinions out there about loading the gun, and riding the bolt forward so it doesn’t make a big noise.  I’m of the opinion that unless you know you are right under the roost, to load the shot gun normally.  This one loud noise might get you a locator gobble well before sunrise.  Follow the gun safety rules.   Very important in turkey hunting is to know your target and what is beyond.  You don’t want to accidently shoot two birds, or a cow.

Second to Gun Safety, is gun/bow accuracy.  Before you go turkey hunting, pattern your shotgun.  I missed my first two birds because I didn’t take time to pattern my gun or even familiarize myself with it very much.  This was a rookie mistake, that I hope you don’t make.  You want to set up a target (I love the ones by Birchwood Casey specifically for turkey hunting), and shoot it from 10 yards, 20 yards and 30 yards – this way you can see how your pellets hit the target, then you will know where you can comfortably shoot, and it also lets you get your point of aim.  You will want to aim your gun at a turkey just above the beard, when the bird is looking at you.  For archery hunting, aim there, or if the turkey is strutting, then you can also aim right up the birds rear end (there’s a bullseye target).

Birchwood Casey Turkey Hunting Target

Timing is everything when turkey hunting 

It’s hunting so you never know, but the best success comes when you are in the blind at least 30 minutes prior to legal shooting light, I prefer 45 minutes to an hour before.  You have time to set your decoys out and get situated, and let things calm down around you after the hike into your turkey hunting area.

It is important not to over call when turkey hunting

As soon as it is legal shooting time, and if you have heard any turkey gobbles, hit your call.  It is important not to over call.  These birds are smart, and they will know that you are calling from the same place, and most of the time, they are walking around the woods and gobbling, not stationary; so if you don’t move, then the birds will be like, “WTH”.  I set my timer and don’t call more than 20 minutes apart.  Of course, I have seen success with people calling all of the time, but I don’t recommend it.

When turkey hunting, stay very still

When turkey hunting, stay very still, especially when the birds are near.  They can’t smell, but their eyesight is really really good.  They can see you long before you can see them. If there are hens in the area, try to keep them around, but be careful because they can bust the whole thing up,  When the Tom comes in, make sure you know your target and what is beyond it.  You’ll want to call lightly to the Tom, and he will pull his head up to look around, and then BAM, you get a turkey.  

Be prepared for the success of turkey hunting, or not

I sure hope we get you a turkey, but hunting is no guarantee.  If you are lucky enough to get you one, I want to prepare you for the end.  When a turkey expires, it sometimes will do this very dramatic thing of flapping its wings really really hard on the ground for several seconds.  It’s normal, and I don’t want that to surprise you if it happens.  It will mean that you made a very good and ethical shot, and can enjoy a good meal and proudly display your turkey fan. If you don’t get a turkey, then I hope you sat in the quiet peace of Nature and enjoyed the great outdoors.

3 Jake turkeys

Bonus Turkey Hunting Tips

You can whisper in the blind…the only time you should make noise is for something to do with safety, then talk as loud as you want.

Walking to the blind, even though it will be dark, you need to be quiet, and try to lift our feet not to crack on every stick, but if you do, it’s ok, just pause a moment, and then start to move again.  Turkey will see movement at night. In the daytime, hug the tree lines, and try to stay concealed.

Let us know if you go out and turkey hunt! We may get a small commission for items purchased from links on this post.

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