By: Justin Hunold
Turkey hunting is an exciting and challenging outdoor activity that requires skill, patience, and the right equipment. If you’re a beginner looking to get into turkey hunting, you may be wondering what gear you need to get started. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the best turkey hunting gear for beginners and provide some recommendations to help you get started.
- Turkey Decoys
Turkey decoys are one of the most essential pieces of gear for turkey hunting. These lifelike decoys are used to attract turkeys by mimicking their natural behavior and can significantly increase your chances of a successful hunt. There are many types of turkey decoys available, including jake decoys, hen decoys, and tom decoys, each designed to mimic different aspects of turkey behavior.
Different situations will call for different decoys, but as a beginner, I wouldn’t suggest running out and buying every full-body, life-like bird possible. This isn’t turkey hunting for dummies so I’m not going to oversimplify it but we are trying to do something very unnatural to turkeys. In real life the hens go to the toms, we are trying to reverse that and make the toms come to the hen sounds we are making.
A great way to make that happen is to have two different decoy styles, a hen decoy of some sort and a jake decoy of some sort. This setup will give a visual story to accompany your call for that Tom to see why that Hen he hears won’t come to him. She already has a boyfriend. Likely, that will cue that Tom to come in to either run the Jake off or at the very least inspect the situation.
Another great way to tell a similar story is to use a full strutting Jake or Tom decoy. These became prevalent about 15 years ago and took the turkey hunting world by storm. With that, the full strutting decoy has become a bit overplayed especially as the season moves on in length but this turkey hunting techniques for beginners can be deadly in the first few days of the season. Set that strutter up with a few hens and watch those Toms key in on the show, making their moves to get their chance at those hens.
- Turkey Calls
Turkey calls are another essential piece of gear for turkey hunting. These devices mimic the sounds that turkeys make, allowing you to communicate with the birds and lure them into range. There are several types of turkey calls, including box calls, slate calls, and mouth calls, each with its unique advantages and disadvantages.
For beginners, we recommend starting with a slate call. This call is easy to use, highly versatile, and produces realistic turkey sounds. These can range anywhere from a store-bought call to something like a Hardy’s Custom Call. Every single sound you need to make to call a Tom into shotgun range can be made on a slate call. There are a lot of tutorials on the web to help you along in the how-to department.
Another must-have call for every beginner is a box call. Box calls are easy to manipulate and can attain volumes that most other calls cannot. They also cut wind better than other calls and illicit gobbles when seemingly nothing else will. Our own Jesse loves his Turkey Man Aluminum Paddle
- Camouflage Clothing
Camouflage clothing is essential for turkey hunting, as it allows you to blend in with your surroundings and avoid detection by the birds. Turkeys can see up to eight times better than humans! When selecting camouflage clothing, it’s important to choose a pattern that matches the terrain you’ll be hunting in. For example, if you’ll be hunting in a wooded area, you’ll want a pattern with lots of browns and greens, while if you’ll be hunting in an open field, you’ll want a pattern with more muted tones. It is also important to match the changing of the season if you can. The early season camo you choose should match the surroundings that time of year. Think ahead will the spring woods be greener as the season grows later? Will that awesome leaf pattern be too green for the early season? Understand your surroundings before investing in your clothing.
You’ll notice a lot of our Retay guns are offered in popular camouflage patterns, along with muted cerakote colors. This will compliment your camouflage clothing well and help you fool those wary spring gobblers.
- Turkey Vest
A turkey vest is a specialized hunting vest designed specifically for turkey hunting. These vests are highly functional and allow you to carry all of your turkey hunting gear, including calls, decoys, ammunition, and more, in one convenient location. Many turkey vests also feature built-in seats, allowing you to sit comfortably for extended periods while waiting for a turkey to come into range.
Let’s put it out there, this is a hotly debated topic right now, Pack or Vest. The thing is you can’t go wrong with a vest in most situations. Today’s turkey vests are purpose-driven and built for the demands of the spring woods.
Choose one that will house your growing gear as you learn more and more about turkey hunting. Choose one that fits you well, these used to be a one-size-fits-most affair but more and more they have been tailored to fit the different bodies of the everybody. Quick tip, some of these vests house water bladders, and I have moved on from those. It’s a great feature in theory until you’re leaning against a tree, carrying a full body decoy in the pouch or hopefully carrying out a heavy long beard.
One last point, get a vest you like the look of. Let’s face it if we like the way we look we are more confident, the more confident you are the better hunter you will be.
Binoculars are an essential piece of gear for turkey hunting, allowing you to spot birds from a distance and get a better view of your surroundings. When selecting binoculars for turkey hunting, it’s important to choose a pair that is lightweight, compact, and has enough magnification.
One highly recommended pair of binoculars for beginners is the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD Binoculars. These binoculars are highly durable, with a rubberized coating that provides a comfortable and secure grip.I actually have two pairs of these a 10×50 pair and a smaller 8×32 pair. I use the 10’s a lot when checking fields and glassing for birds from the road or my kayak. The 8’s hit the actual woods with me as I run ridges and creek bottoms. They are plenty enough magnification to see everything I need in the timber but weigh considerably less than the 10’s in the rig.
Turkey hunting can be a challenging but rewarding activity, and the right gear can significantly increase your chances of success. By investing in quality turkey decoys, calls, camouflage clothing, a turkey vest, and binoculars, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle your first turkey hunting trip. Remember, safety should always be your top priority, so make sure to familiarize yourself with
It’s always a good idea to hunt with a more experienced hunter who can provide guidance and support.This can be a crash course on how to turkey hunt for beginners. Consider reaching out to local hunting organizations or clubs to connect with other hunters in your area. They may be able to offer valuable advice and insights, and hunting with a mentor can help you improve your skills and become a more successful hunter.
Furthermore, it’s crucial to practice using your gear before heading out into the field. Familiarizing yourself with your calls, decoys, and binoculars can make a significant difference in your success during the hunt. Practice using your calls to create realistic turkey sounds, experiment with decoy placement to determine what works best, and become comfortable using
Overall, with the right equipment, a bit of patience, and a willingness to learn, turkey hunting can be a highly rewarding and enjoyable outdoor activity. With these turkey hunting tips for beginners get your gear, head out into the field, and have a great hunt!