If you are new to the exciting and thrilling yet hard to accomplish Turkey hunting, here are all the things you need to know. Turkeys give you a relishing taste that increments multiple times if you have yourself invested your time and skills in all the scouting and hunting all day long just to get that one shot right. Here, we will discuss and learn several things about the bird, it’s behavior, skills we need, precautions we should take, things or gears we need to be equipped with, and not the last bust least the smart work we need in planning and searching in the right time or season.
Are you confused about some terms and you are about to prepare for turkey hunting? It’s fine, not bad at all. We have got you covered! Here are a few terms you might have heard before but not clearly is familiar with, especially if you are a beginner:
- What is Roosting?
We know what a rooster is, right? The term roosting refers to the resting of a bird, wild birds usually, during the night time. A roost is a place where they sit to rest for the night. It is a perch for them that can be a branch of a tall pine tree too.
- What is Scouting?
If you are a military fan, you should know that scouting is the gathering of information about an enemy area. Well, in terms of hunting, it is just gathering information about a poor bird that you have to kill. A turkey ain’t an enemy, is it?
- What is a Decoy?
This term is a small part but very important in the ‘things we need’ section. A decoy, originally duck-coy, is anything man-made to trick someone or something to make them see not exactly what it should look like. They are usually used in hunting. Archibald Rutledge says, “A turkey has such eyes that can see a bumblebee turning a somersault on the verge of the horizon”. A turkey might have a bead sized brain but when the survival instinct kicks in, it makes it really hard for the hunter to kill the bird. That is where a decoy comes in handy and becomes useful.
Alright, hunters! Before you get to know some useful tips and tricks to use for turkey hunting, here is a ‘small’ list of things we will need:
- Turkey vest: Whether you love or hate those camouflaged jeans in your wardrobe someone bought for you, a turkey vest is a must to hide you in the forest ecosystem at a certain distance from the spot where turkeys might land or wander around. Different turkey vests in the market are available with so many features and specifications, which is up to you to choose based on the price you want to lay.
- A Gun: You are not a hunter if you do not love your gun, says a famous hunter while cleaning his gun. You need your gun in all its glamour equipped with a choke on its nozzle.
- Earplugs: If you are a right-handed gunman, you will need to put on a safety earplugs for your left ear and vice versa. Sounds strange, right? Well, that is how sound waves work!
- Gobble: All a turkey says to humans is Gobble-gobble and gobble! If you are a beginner and cannot find a turkey anywhere around you, you can make different kinds of sounds so that it may respond to you in its own way. A similar sound attracts the bird towards it, it all roaches towards the sound, and if you are lucky you get that shot!
- Box Call: Another sound-making device made of wood.
- Hoot call: It is, again, a hooting device to attract turkeys or at least get their reaction. Turkeys react to basically any sound they hear.
- Binoculars: You know the reason, don’t you?
- Topographic map: There are at of privately owned lands too. And also, to better get an idea about the area you are going to, you will need this map. It also is very useful in spotting.
- Warm weather Gloves: a thin, non-woolen material made gloves so that you can feel the trigger of the gun.
- Head cap: You might want to wrap yourself up totally to hide from the turkey’s eyes. So, for this you need a head cap with an opening for your eyes.
- Decoys: As discussed above, you will need turkey-sized decoys to attract them and make them feel to see similar figures like another turkeys or hens. A lot of turkeys get killed while searching for a mating partner to breed.
Now, there is a big possibility, given that you have the right amount of dedication and patience, you end up into the jungle far from your home in the night. For those situations, you will need the usual stuff like a whistle, a knife, a flashlight, a fire burner, a LED lamp, and yes, specs! That’s right, you might or most probably would like a nice picture clicked for your Facebook with the hunted animal.
Okay, this is not a “small” list, but you wouldn’t want to miss any of them.
So, moving on, the answers to these questions are the real things to know if you are a beginner in turkey hunting.
What time of the day is the best?
Your elders always tell you that the early birds eat the worms, right? Guess what, they were not that wrong! If you want to go on hunting for a turkey, an ‘Earlybird’ will eat Turkey. While it is true you can hunt in any time of the day for a turkey before it gets dark and they go back to roosting, beginners should get there early at their roosting spots.
What season is the best?
Springtime and two weeks before the season is the best for turkey hunting. Also, easiest!
What should you expect?
You must have an attitude with patience. Quoting Tom Kelly is suitable here –“ You have to pay a cost to kill a bird and in case of turkeys the cost is your time”. You can expect fast flying turkey birds from their roosting spots from up on the hill. You can expect a predator too who is, very much like you, looking for a meal. You can also be prepared to get lost in a terrain you are not familiar with (that’s where all the things come in handy mentioned in the paragraph which you perhaps skipped). Or, you may end up spending a lot of time after the dark too.
How to spot them?
For this, you will need to first spot their roosting spots and wait for them to land on their feeding spots which are, respectively, on high and low terrains.
Bonus Tip: To catch a turkey, you will need to think like one! Does that make sense? Well, yes! Turkey basically thinks about three things – Food, Hens, and Predators. So, you must think like a Turkey, and act and set a trap before it moves.
If you use these tips and apply them well in a practical situation, you will be better more and more. Please share your experiences when you gain some, to others too! As we know and obvious it is, Every Pro was a beginner once! Happy Hunting!