John's Journal...

A Successful Turkey Hunterís Checklist

Equipment for the Shot

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I've hunted turkeys for more than 30 years. I consider myself somewhat of an expert, not because I know all about turkey hunting, but because I've made every mistake a hunter can make at least twice. While turkeyhunting, I've learned first-hand what won't work, and what equipment you must have for success afield. This week, I’ll share my checklist with you and discuss why each item is essential to take Click to enlargemake my hunt much-more successful and comfortable. I keep all my equipment packed in my turkey vest and my hunting pack throughout the season, adding and subtracting items as I use them. Then I know I'm ready to attack the day more confidently when I hear that first gobbler talk to the tall timbers at the christening of a new day. Turkey hunting continues through May in more than 30 states and 2 Canadian provinces, and Maine has turkey hunting through the first week of June. If you don’t already take this gear with you into the field, add it now. Today I’ll discuss the equipment I like to have close to hand when the moment arrives.

* Chokes. Many turkey hunters make the mistake of not deciding before they hunt how they want to play the game of turkey hunting. The way you play the game determines what choke and/or what gun you take turkey hunting with you. If you want to take a turkey as soon as you can see him, then you need to shoot a really-tightClick to enlarge full/full shotgun choke. If you prefer to see how close you can get the tom to come to you before taking the shot, you should shoot a modified choke. If, like me, you enjoy bagging a gobbler that's between 20- and 30-yards away from you, shoot a full choke for the best success. Determining the distance you plan to be from the turkey when you take a shotbefore you begin to hunt will allow you to select the right choke and gun for the entire season or for each individual hunt you plan to attend.    

* Extra headnet and gloves. I don't know why, but somehow Click to enlargeI always seem to lose a glove or a headnet or can't find it in all my stuff when I've got a gobbler coming in to me. By packing an extra pair of gloves and a headnet, I solve this problem before it occurs. Too, I particularly enjoy hunting turkeys with a buddy, a relative or a newcomer to the sport, and I never expect them to have headnets and gloves with them. By carrying extras of these items, I make sure that my hunting companion and I both are prepared for the moment of truth.   

* A tube of black grease paint or Hunter’s Specialties’ Camo Compact. If for some reason you have any exposed skin or bright-colored clothing not covered or hidden by camouflage, you can use black grease paint or the face paint to hide that exposed area. When I'm hunting an ole, bad longbeard, I'll put black grease paint under and over my eyelids, so the turkey can't see me through the holes of my headnet. I'll keep the grease paint in my right front pocket. Then if I know I have a turkey coming in and can't find a glove quickly, I simply can smear the grease paint on that exposed hand and be ready to take the shot in an instant.   

* Extra shells. You probably think that no one needs more than six shells when he or she hunts turkeys. However, once I did miss two turkeys and had to shoot six times in one day. If I hadn't had the two extra shells, I couldn't have taken the third bird that we called in that morning before 12:00 noon.   

Tomorrow: What You Need to Stay Comfortable

Check back each day this week for more about "A Successful Turkey Hunterís Checklist"

Day 1: Even the Best Hunter Needs a Checklist
Day 2: Equipment for the Shot
Day 3: What You Need to Stay Comfortable
Day 4: Tools of the Trade
Day 5: How to Keep Your Equipment Organized


Entry 509, Day 2