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How to Start Turkey Hunting: Turkey Guns, Gear, & Calling

How to Start Turkey Hunting: Turkey Guns, Gear, & Calling
January 27, 2022

By: Dylan Hayward

Spring turkey hunting has held a special place in my heart since I was 10 years old. In my family, it was pretty much expected that when late April rolled around, you were going to be in the woods chasing what we call “Easterns”. As the youngest of 4, it was pretty intimidating when I went on my first hunt. I had to learn the hard way how cautious these birds are and just how amazing their eyesight truly is. Although turkey hunting can be overwhelming at first, that should not stop you from getting out there and experiencing the excitement and intensity that comes with hunting this beloved North American animal. There are a few pointers that I like to point out to anyone that tells me they are going turkey hunting for the first time.

Know Your Turkey Gun

I’ve heard countless stories of people going turkey hunting and they haven’t taken the time to shoot their shotguns, research what chokes they should be using, or know how to pattern their shotgun. Most people that you talk to will more than likely recommend that you use a 12 gauge, in fact, some will be offended if you even suggest that you will be using something smaller, but with the right choke, a 20 gauge can be very effective turkey gun. Regardless of what gauge shotgun I am using I always use a “Full Choke” on turkeys. With a full choke your range should be comfortable well past 30 yards with your shot spread being around 30 inches.

Invest in the Right Turkey Gear

One thing that always hurts new hunters is that they aren’t ready for unpredictable hunting conditions. With spring temperatures fluctuating greatly, especially here in the midwest, it’s crucial that your gear will keep you comfortable and hidden during the hunt. I’ve seen many hunters cut a hunt short because they are either too cold, getting bit by mosquitoes, or they get picked out by a Tom from far away. There are tons of brands out there that have amazing lines of turkey hunting camo that will be able to keep you comfortable during your hunt. Treezyn has an early season camo pattern that is extremely breathable and lightweight, while also being quiet and blending in well to the green of the spring woods. Treezyn also makes a really great early season face mask, which is something that I will never go into the woods without, due to how quick these birds can spot any sort of bare skin.

Turkey Calling

There’s a big debate among turkey hunters about which turkey call is best to use. Generally speaking, there are 3 types of calls that every hunter should be familiar with. First is the box call. What it lacks in versatility and tone it makes up for with its ease of use and volume. Second is the slate call or pot call, which with some practice can be extremely effective in getting a Tom excited when you throw in some purrs and cuts. This takes some time to learn, but it’s a call I always have in my vest. And lastly, the diaphragm call. While this call is a little more complicated and takes some time to master, the hands free aspect of this call gives you the freedom to have your gun in position, while still enticing that longbeard to take a few extra steps closer to you. My old man used to always say to me, “Use your mouth to call, not your hands.”

My main advice for turkey hunters is and always will be to get out and experience how fascinating these animals are. You will learn so much about them as well as how to effectively hunt them by experiencing it first hand. You’ll quickly find out what works and doesn’t work for you. Happy Turkey Hunting! 

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