John's Journal...

What to Do if You Want to Hunt Turkeys

Day 5: Other Essentials You Need 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 ViewI always carry either a fanny pack or additional gear in my hunting vest. Below is a list of what I take and why.

* A compass, a map of the area and my GPS and extra batteries. When a turkey gobbles, the hunter’s first impulse is to get to the birds. If the tom is on the move, usually the sportsman will be too. By knowing the direction you’ve entered the woods and the lay of the land, a hunter can take a compass and/or his GPS to return to his vehicle.
* Matches in a waterproof container. I’ve never spent an unplanned night in the woods, but I’ve come close several times. Matches can mean the difference in staying warm and being found or spending a dark, cold night alone.
* A space blanket. This lightweight, compactable piece of gear can be turned into a shelter from the rain, can keep you warm if a cold front hits and can provide a ground cloth if you decide to take a nap.
* Lightweight nylon rope. Rope can be handy in a variety of situations.
* Three or four bandaids. There may be a minor medical emergency.
* A pocket camera with a self-timer. Then I can photograph my turkey, my friends I hunt with and myself on every outing.
* Additional insect spray. If I fall into a creek, or rain washes off my bug protection, I can add more insect spray. One of the biggest reasons most turkey hunters spook turkeys is because they swat at mosquitoes or flies. The insect spray eliminates that problem.
* Extra shells. I have missed a gobbler before and needed extra shells to hunt another bird that same day.
* Three of four candy bars in a Ziploc bag. Because turkey hunting can be exhausting work, having a candy bar to rebuild your energy and fill up a hollow hole in your stomach sure comes in handy sometimes.
* A bottle of water.
* A small dependable flashlight and extra batteries.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewSometimes turkey hunting requires the skill of calling, the woodsmanship of stalking, the patience of Job and the tactics of a military strategist to be successful. However, I have known hunters who have bought wooden box calls, sat down with them and called toms.

The real challenge of turkey hunting is not in one’s ability to bag a bird on every trip. The joy of the sport is in the opportunity to learn on each outing more about how to hunt tough turkeys. I’ve been hunting turkeys about 50 years and never have been out in the spring woods without getting an education from an old longbeard.

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.

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 5