Checklist for Spring Turkey Hunters
As turkey season approaches, hunters get ready. The following checklist helps put preparations in order.
Successful hunts begin long before the opening day of the season. A few weeks in advance, it’s time to get all the equipment ready to go.
Inspecting all hunting gear avoids last-minute problems. Favorite hunting coats have a tendency to become misplaced, socks lose their mates, and equipment mysteriously breaks or disappears. Checking all clothing and equipment, even going so far as to make a dry run of getting dressed, packing field bags, and loading the truck, assures that everything will be ready when the big day finally arrives. In addition to clothes, calls, and shotgun and archery equipment the National Wild Turkey Federation has a recommended list of turkey hunting gear:
- Shotgun Turkey loads
- Turkey choke tube
- Patterning targets
- Camo blind – where legal
- Seat, cushioned stool
- Shotgun sling
- Turkey decoys – where legal
- Ratchet cutters
- Insect repellent
- Trail ribbon
- Camo tape
- Water bottle
- First aid kit
Add New Equipment
After gathering all the equipment and giving it a thorough once-over for repair and replacement, hunters may decide they want to add a few new items. Considering the way decoys performed last season, along with new varieties that have come on the scene since the old decoys were purchased, may lead to purchasing a new, more realistic fake jake or hen to lure in the longbeards.
Blinds are another item that might need improvement. M.D. Johnson, in his recent article, “Outstanding in His Field, Three Strategies to Fool Gobblers in the Open,” (Field & Stream, March, 2009) suggests that layout blinds designed for waterfowlers work great for turkey hunting in open fields. He recommends camouflaging the blind with just a little grass or other natural material to break up the outline.
High-quality binoculars pay off in the field. If the hunter’s current binoculars don’t offer crisp focus, they are going to be too uncomfortable to use much. Glassing the birds will be much easier when checking the distance with properly focused lenses.
Although it didn’t make the list above, a GPS device is an excellent investment for anyone who spends time traipsing through the woods. Being able to mark positions and follow trails using global satellite technology makes it easier to find the way back to the truck that was parked back in the pre-dawn mist somewhere. It also allows hunters to pinpoint locations where they would like to return on subsequent hunts.
Walkie-talkies are great for contacting a buddy when there are no convenient cell-towers within range. Messages could range from, “I’ve been calling for hours and not a bird has come near me,” to “I’ve got my limit!” to “I just broke my ankle – help!”
Prepare for Success and Bag a Trophy Bird
Thorough planning yields successful hunts. Batteries should be checked for strength, insect repellents inspected for expiration dates, and adequate quantity and knives sharpened. When all the equipment is in tip-top condition, hunters are ready to seize that perfect opportunity. Early one morning, when the wind is right, the turkeys come in close, and the shot of a lifetime is right there, the hunter will be ready.