John's Journal...

What to Do if You Want to Hunt Turkeys

Day 3: Having the Right Equipment – Calls, Clothing and Boots for Turkey Hunting

Editor’s Note: Turkeys don’t have teeth. There’s no report record of a bird charging a man and eating him. Neither do turkeys have supersonic hearing which allows them to detect a fly lighting on an oak leaf at 200-yards. Turkeys can’t see through large oak trees. But many newcomers to the sport may believe some of these myths because of the hype associated with hunting Meleagris gallopavo. I have heard a sportsman say, “I’d really like to get into turkey hunting, but I can’t call.” Or, “I’m afraid I’ll move and spook the bird.” Or, “Maybe that old gobbler is smarter than I am.” All of these ideas are nonsense.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewA turkey hunter must have a turkey call. I’ve seen very few turkey calls that won’t call a turkey. For the beginner, the ability to make the sound of the wild turkey simply and easily is essential to his success as a turkey hunter. Therefore I recommend either a box call or a pushbutton call for beginning turkey hunters. By sliding a paddle across the lid of a box or by pushing the button of a pushbutton call, a hunter can yelp, cluck, purr or cackle. Next, buy a calling tape that tells you what the sounds of the wild turkey are and how to make them, and a DVD that will do the same plus give you tactics for successfully hunting turkeys. Then purchase a suit of camouflage. I’ve found that camo patterns are much like ladies’ blouses. You can show the same four blouses to 20-different ladies, and each of the ladies can tell you exactly why one blouse is better than the other. And the same is true of camo patterns.

The late Uncle Roy Moore of Evergreen, Alabama, who hunted turkeys for 80-years and finally gave up the sport in his mid-90s, once explained to me, “All I ever used for a camouflage suit was one of those Sears & Roebuck gray work suits that I daubed brown paint on, and it always worked well for me.”

Although most experienced hunters spend a lot of time talking about camo, they don’t say much about footwear. Yet the turkey hunter’s success or failure often is determined by his ability to get to a place to call a turkey or his ability to move to another calling position. On slow mornings when gobblers are hard to find, an aggressive turkey hunter may cover six to 10-miles trying to locate a bird to work. Therefore footwear is a critical ingredient to a turkey hunter’s success.

I prefer a Vibram soled boot instead of a lug sole. Lugs pick up and hold mud and dirt and add extra weight that the turkey hunter doesn’t need. I like the lightweight, waterproof Cordura boots. Inside my boots, I put an innersole, which absorbs moisture from my feet and keeps my feet dry and warm while adding a comfort factor that makes long distance walking much easier.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewFor underwear when turkey hunting, I prefer lightweight polypropylene that wicks moisture away from the skin and aids the hunter in remaining dry as well as warm all day long even if he has to run to gobblers. If the spring is warm, the mornings can be cool, and that lightweight underwear can make hunting more comfortable. I like a full headnet to keep mosquitoes away and to hide my face better. I use cotton gloves with the fingers cut out to camouflage my hands, protect them from briars and prevent mosquitoes from biting. I wear some type of insect repellant with 100-percent Deet like Ben’s 100, Cutters, DeepWoods Off and Musk Oil. Another insect repellant that I use that is very effective, especially in keeping off ticks and redbugs, is Skin-So-Soft made by Avon. Although this liquid is a lady’s bath oil that will make you smell kind of sweet, it runs off biting insects. Even members of the Armed Services are using it now. I always take a ThermaCELL ( with me to keep mosquitoes off too.

I also like some type of turkey vest to carry my bird out of the woods and to hold all my equipment while I’m in the woods. I like a vest that features specially-designed pockets for box calls, a padded back and a padded drop-down seat. The beginning turkey hunter, who has absolutely no equipment, except a gun, should be able to purchase the equipment he needs for under $300 or so.

To get these Kindle ebooks by John E. Phillips, including: “The Turkey Hunter's Bible, click here; “PhD Gobblers; click here; and “Turkey Hunting Tactics, click here, or go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: The Best Guns for Turkey Hunting

Check back each day this week for more about What to Do if You Want to Hunt Turkeys"

Day 1: The Quickest Way to Learn to Hunt Turkeys Is to Hunt Them with Lovett Williams
Day 2: Learn How to Become a Turkey Hunter and How to Find a Place to Hunt
Day 3: Having the Right Equipment – Calls, Clothing and Boots for Turkey Hunting
Day 4: The Best Guns for Turkey Hunting
Day 5: Other Essentials You Need for Turkey Hunting

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Entry 758, Day 3