General

Are You Ready for Turkey Season?

Are you ready to track down those elusive gobblers? Spring turkey season is just around the corner and the best hunters prepare early to increase their chances. It takes more than some camouflage and patience to bag a spring turkey. Read through our checklist to see if you’re ahead of the curve.

Those most successful tend to go out before the season starts to spot their prey. The better they pre-scout, the better their results when the opener arrives. Pre-scouting is important because the turkeys aren’t spooked as badly and will maintain their patterns on opening day. Take care not to scout too early though. Winter patterns change in the spring when flocks start to break up and bachelor toms scatter. In February, the turkeys will most likely not be in their April locations.

This sport can require a fair amount of hiking, often in tough terrain. Make sure you are physically up for the job. If you’ve spent the winter drinking soda at your computer and staring at the television, you may find yourself exhausted before you bag that bird. On top of the distances, remember that you will most likely be carrying some equipment with you. Shotguns, hydration packs, binoculars, field snacks, warm clothing, and hunting stools can get heavy after lugging them around all day.

Practice your turkey calling. Depending on what type of call you are using, it helps to brush up on your skills. A box or slate call works well and you don’t have to be an expert to make one effective. Of all the fancy calls I’ve used in the past, a box call I picked up as a teenager seems to work the best for me. Make sure you wrap that call with a rubber band, otherwise they will make a ton of noise in your pack. If you have the time to practice, a diaphragm call is an incredible tool as well, but they do take a little time to master. If you want to drive the dog crazy, try a diaphragm call—those poor mutts lose their minds.

If you threw your shotgun in the closet last year and haven’t touched it since, it is probably time for some pre-season gun cleaning. Take it out to the range and do some functions testing. Get some turkey targets and make sure you are using the optimum choke and load for your gun. Extra full and full chokes are the most common for turkey. Practice with different loads at varying ranges to give you a better idea of how your shotgun will perform. If you don’t already have high visibility sights, you might consider investing in them. If you are new to the sport, you may find that early morning and evening shots are more common while turkey hunting and visibility is often poor.

In other forms of hunting, camouflage is less important. However, turkey hunters know that good camo can make all the difference. Think of the area you will be hunting in and try to match the pattern. I recommend covering your entire body in camo, including your face. Turkeys are skittish and if they think something is off, they’ll strut off in another direction.

Last but no less important, make sure your hunting licenses and stamps are valid and up-to-date. The last thing you want to deal with is a legal problem with the game warden. Hunting is an expensive hobby, but hunting illegally is unaffordable. Good luck this season and find that trophy tom! Do you have any preseason turkey hunting tips to share? Tell us in the comment section.

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