Essential Gear For Turkey Hunters

Essential Gear for Turkey Hunters


Nicole Krueger

Killing a turkey is no simple task. These birds are notorious among hunters for being difficult to lure and tricky to take down. To get the most from the experience, make sure you have the hunting gear you’ll need for a safe and successful hunt. In addition to your shotgun and shells, you should place the following equipment on your checklist:

1. Head-to-toe camouflage. Turkeys have excellent eyesight and are highly skittish, so the slightest hint of color or movement can scare them off. Camouflage is essential in order to get close enough for a clear shot. Make sure your entire body is covered, including your head, face, and hands. Wear pants that are long enough to tuck into your boots, and whatever you do, don’t wear any red, blue, white, or black, even on your socks and undershirt, as these are the colors of a wild gobbler and could cause another hunter to mistake you for prey.

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2. Blaze orange cap or vest. With your camo on, you can stalk the woods, virtually invisible to your prey’s eye. Unfortunately, that means you’re also virtually invisible to other hunters. Most turkey hunting accidents occur because one hunter mistakes another for game. Wearing fluorescent orange can drastically reduce the likelihood of injury, and in some states it’s even required by law. It’s also a good idea to place an orange band around the tree you’ve chosen as your calling point.

3. Hunting lights. Many turkey hunters prefer to start well before sun-up, while the birds are still roosting, which makes a good LED light a necessary part of your gear.

4. Comfortable cushion. You’re going to be sitting for a long time, and it’s imperative that you remain still. Fidgeting because the ground is too hard could cost you a kill. Bring a camouflaged cushion or stool to help ensure you don’t spook any gobblers with uncomfortable shifting.

5. Turkey calls. Turkeys are highly vocal, which makes calls an important part of the hunting strategy. One common tactic for fall turkey hunting is to scatter a flock and then try to call them back individually. Many hunters prefer to use a mouth call, which sounds when air is blown through it, but it’s helpful to have several different types of calls on hand for a variety situations. On windy or rainy days, the noise from a box or friction call will carry farther. You should also have a plastic bag on hand to keep your calls from getting wet.

6. Bags for dead game. Bring a bag (preferably in blaze orange) for carrying your game out of the woods.

7. Hunting knife. Hunting knives are universally useful, particularly if you plan on field dressing your kill. Unless you wish to have your turkey mounted by a taxidermist, it’s a good idea to cut open the carcass and remove the internal organs as soon as possible in order to preserve the meat. There are many different types of hunting knives to choose from, so find the one that best suits your needs.

Having the right equipment can go a long way toward making your turkey hunt a success, rewarding you with both the pride of having taken down one of these magnificent creatures and the pleasure of devouring it during your holiday celebration.

~Nicole Krueger, 2009

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Essential Gear for Turkey Hunters

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