In recent years, the allure of the turkey hunt has grown immensely, with more and more turkey hunters recognizing the paramount importance of the best hunting gear for every hunter. With each spring season, droves of enthusiasts embrace the wild, fully aware that the key to success isn't just skill. More than ever, it's about having the right tools in your arsenal. But when the market is swamped with an array of turkey hunting gear, discerning the indispensable from the excessive can be difficult.
In this guide, I'll shine a light on the world of turkey hunting equipment, placing a keen emphasis on the essentials that every turkey hunter should have in their collection. From the camo patterns perfectly tailored for diverse terrains to the waterproof footwear designed to keep you comfortable during those long waits and treks, and the indispensable turkey vest that organizes your calls and ammunition – I’ve got you covered.
For the turkey season 2024, let’s ensure you’re not just geared, but optimally equipped and ready for the pursuit. Ready to elevate your turkey hunt experience? Dive in, and let's ensure you’re perfectly attired and prepared for the field.
Note - I will be constantly updating this post with worthy new releases that I believe are essential for Turkey Hunts.
Why I Recommend It: Having a reliable call set in your arsenal is indispensable. Not only does it bridge the communication gap with these elusive birds, but a good call can dramatically increase your chances of luring a gobbler into range. It's the difference between an engaged turkey and one that just wanders away.
Top Pick - Primos: I've always been a fan of the brand due to its unwavering commitment to quality. Their calls are easy to use, durable, and most importantly, they sound authentic. It's a great all-around choice for both beginners and seasoned hunters.
Alternative Option - Quaker Boy: If you're looking for something a bit different, Quaker Boy offers hand-crafted calls that stand the test of time. Their unique tones and sounds offer a slight variation which can sometimes make all the difference, especially in pressured areas where turkeys have heard it all.
When it comes to turkey, there's a significant difference in tones, playability, and the situations in which each excels. Among my top choices, the Primos Early Bird Turkey Call Box Call has always stood out. This box call delivers consistent, rich tones, and its easy-to-use design makes it a favorite for both morning setups and mid-day calling. It's my go-to for those early morning moments when clarity matters most. On the other hand, the Primos Deadly Double Diaphragm is incredibly versatile and compact, perfect for hands-free operation and up-close encounters.
Shifting gears to Quaker Boy, the Full Tilt Pot Call is an absolute gem. Its unique design lets you create a range of pitches and tones, from the softest purrs to the most aggressive yelps, giving you a full spectrum of turkey sounds. It's particularly useful when you're trying to mimic different birds or when you're unsure of what the turkeys in your area might respond to. Alternatively, the Quaker Boy Old Boss Hen 3 pk is fantastic value for money. It offers multiple diaphragms, each producing different pitches, making it perfect for those who want variety without the need to carry multiple calls.
While I lean towards the Primos Early Bird for its sheer simplicity and crystal-clear sounds, I always have the Quaker Boy Full Tilt Pot Call in my vest for those times I need a broader range of vocalizations at my fingertips. The beauty of turkey hunting is that every day, every bird, and every situation can be different, so having a diverse set of calls can be your best asset
2. Hunting Footwear
Why I Recommend It: When pursuing wild turkey, the right footwear is as crucial as any calling technique. It's essential to focus on the gobble in the distance, rather than discomfort or challenging terrain.
Top Pick - Lacrosse: In my many wild turkey adventures, Lacrosse consistently proves itself as a superior choice. The Alphaburly Pro Boots, waterproof, and crafted primarily as a rubber boot, stand out for their durability and comfort. Their adjustable gusset ensures that no matter the situation — be it wading through a muddy patch or stalking on drier grounds — they've got you covered.
Alternative Option - Muck Boots: I also recommend Muck Boots for those who might be seeking an alternative. Their Woody Max Hunting Boots not only cater to the colder mornings with their insulation but also offer the convenience of slipping them on and off with ease. Their neoprene design, while different from the more rubber-focused Lacrosse, offers its own set of advantages in the field.
3. Turkey Vest
Why I Recommend It: Look, I've spent countless sunrises in the turkey woods, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that the vest you wear is as critical as any call or decoy you carry. As serious turkey hunters, we need a vest that doesn't just hold our gear but thinks a step ahead of us, keeping everything we need right where our instincts tell us to reach. Plus, that camouflage? It isn't just about looking the part – it's about disappearing into those woods so that Tom doesn't spot you before you spot him.
Top Pick - Hunters Specialties: Over the years, I've tried and tested numerous vests, but the Hunters Specialties Turkey Vest... now that's what I call the Cadillac of turkey vests. Whenever I'm gearing up for a top turkey hunt, this vest is my first choice. Not just for the smart pocket placement or its rugged build, but because it feels like it was designed by a hunter who’s been out there, and who knows the game. And trust me, the camo pattern? It’s not just a pretty design, I've had turkeys come in real close without a clue of my presence.
Alternative Option - Knight and Hale: Now, I’ve got to give a shoutout to Knight and Hale. Their vests are a solid choice, offering a blend of comfort and readiness that reminds me of my early days in the field. They understand the rhythm of the hunt, the ebb and flow of a turkey's behavior. If you're looking for a great option beyond the tried and true, their vests certainly hold their own.
4. Turkey Decoys
Why I Recommend It: Listen, when you're out there in the woods, every little detail matters. From the calls you use to the decoys you set up, it all has to align with your style of hunting. I've had mornings where the right decoy setup made all the difference between a gobbler strutting into my setup or slipping away unnoticed. And for those of us into bowhunting turkeys, a decoy isn't just an accessory—it’s a game changer. The right decoy can keep that bird's attention, giving us that crucial moment to draw our bow undetected.
Top Pick - Avian-X: Over my years of chasing gobblers, I've tried a to many of decoys, but AvianX? They've got it dialed in. Whether it's their Jake decoys that drive those dominant toms crazy or their lifelike feeding hen that lures in those cautious birds, AvianX understands the nuances. For different scenarios and needs, they've got a decoy that fits. I've had many a day where their decoys played a crucial role in my bowhunting success.
Alternative Option: Now, while I have a soft spot for AvianX, I've got to tip my hat to Primos Hen Decoy. They've been in the game for a while, and they know their stuff. Whether you're setting up in a field or tucked into the timber, it offers some solid options that can match your hunting style. Their Gobstopper series, for instance, has worked wonders for me in various situations, especially when I'm out with my bow, looking for that perfect shot.
5. Turkey Load (Ammo)
While I've always been a devout bow and crossbow hunter, cherishing the silent precision they afford, there's an undeniable allure to the raw power and tradition of shotguns. Every so often, especially in thick woods or when distances are unpredictable, a shotgun brings a trusted edge. It’s not merely about the tool, but the unique experience each offers. Occasionally, resorting to a shotgun feels like a nostalgic journey back to my early hunting adventures and the rich legacy of turkey hunting. And when I do, the choice of ammo becomes paramount.
Why I Recommend It: Selecting the right turkey load is a game of nuances, especially when you’re hunting with turkey shotguns. It's that silent partner that works in the background, ensuring that when the moment of truth arrives, you've got the best shot possible.
Top Pick - Remington: Over the years, one name has remained synonymous with consistency and reliability for me: Remington Premier. Whether I'm in the dense thickets or an open clearing, this ammo has consistently offered a balanced mix of pattern density and knockdown power. Designed for turkey hunting with Muzzle Velocity 1300 fps It's like having an old reliable friend by your side, ready to perform whenever called upon.
Alternative Option - Winchester: And for those days when I feel like switching it up or need a bit of extra punch, I turn to Winchester Double X. They've been a staple in my ammo stash, delivering high velocity and impressively tight patterns. It's ammo that speaks to the heart of what turkey shotguns are all about precision, power, and tradition.
6. Turkey Broadheads
When it comes to turkey hunting, I've always held the belief that your choice in broadheads can be as pivotal as your choice in bows or crossbows. While the market is flooded with an array of turkey hunting equipment, the broadhead remains a personal choice, and over the years, I've found my preference rooted in firsthand experience.
Why I Recommend It: Picking the right broadhead isn't just about sharpness, it's about flight consistency, penetration, and overall construction. Now, I've had my fair share of experimentation with weights, and I've come to realize that while many folks rave about the 125gr options, my sweet spot is the 100gr. It gives me the balance I need between speed and impact, without sacrificing the pinpoint accuracy I crave.
Top Pick - Magnus: Magnus broadheads have been a mainstay in my turkey hunting gear. Their build quality, consistency, and the sheer effectiveness of their blades are unmatched in my book. I've taken gobblers at various distances, and the 100gr variants have always delivered, cutting through with precision. While some might argue for the slightly heavier broadheads, I find that I don’t need the extra weight, the 100gr from Magnus has always given me the results I'm after.
Alternative Option - SWAT Turkey Vector: That being said, SWAT's Turkey Vector has also found a place in my quiver. Their design philosophy is evident in the efficiency of their broadheads. They fly true, have a commendable cutting diameter, and the wound channels they produce? Let's just say I've been impressed. It's another solid choice for those looking to expand their options in the broadhead department.
7. Hunting Blinds
I've always believed that hunting is as much about stealth and strategy as it is about skill. That's where a good hunting blind comes into play. It's not just about concealing yourself, it's about integrating into your surroundings, merging with the landscape, and patiently waiting for that perfect moment. While I always ensure I'm up-to-date with hunting regulations and only set up blinds where they're permitted, having the right one is crucial for my spring turkey hunting gear.
Why I Recommend It: Selecting the right blind is about more than just concealment. It’s about protection from the elements, keeping those pesky insects at bay, and having a sturdy shelter that also provides that all-important field of view.
Top Pick - Ameristep: When it comes to blinds, Ameristep has been my go-to for years. Whether it's their durability, their intuitive window placements, or just the way their camo blends seamlessly with the surroundings, they've never let me down. Plus, their design ensures I have room for all my spring turkey hunting gear, and it's surprisingly effective as an insect repellent – a blessing during those early spring hunts.
Alternative Option - Primos: Now, it is another brand that deserves recognition. Over the years, I've had some memorable hunts from within its blind. Their attention to detail, especially in terms of usability and adaptability, is commendable. They've got blinds that cater to every hunting style and scenario, and the protection they offer, both in terms of camouflage and from insects, is top-notch.
Other Turkey Hunting Gear
... But while every piece of equipment has its unique role, some brands and patterns have left an indelible mark on my hunting journey. Their performance, durability, and effectiveness have earned them a special place in my heart and hunting pack.
Binoculars - Bushnell: Every hunter knows the importance of a clear and precise vision in the field. My trusty Bushnell binoculars have been a testament to that. Their clarity, durability, and ergonomic design make them an invaluable tool when scouting or tracking a game from a distance. The distant world becomes sharply vivid, ensuring I never miss those crucial details, be it the subtle movement of a tom or the shimmering of a distant water body.
Hunting Clothing - Mossy Oak and Realtree: In the realm of camo patterns, Mossy Oak and Realtree stand head and shoulders above the rest. Mossy Oak’s intricate patterns blend effortlessly with various terrains, while Realtree’s balance of shadow and color offers versatility across different hunting environments.
Turkey Chokes - Carlson's: For those moments when precision is paramount, Carlson's chokes have always been my go-to. Their unmatched consistency and transformative effects on shot patterns have turned many an outing into a memorable hunt.
Game Bags: Often overlooked but essential, a good game bag is the unsung hero post a successful hunt. Its role in preserving and transporting the harvest is vital, marking the difference between a satisfactory and exceptional hunting experience.
While the world of hunting gear is vast and varied, these particular brands and patterns have consistently proven their worth in the field. As you compile your list of turkey hunting gear, these gems are definitely worth your consideration.
When turkey hunting where should you sit?
When turkey hunting, it's essential to sit in a location that provides both concealment and safety. Ideally, you should sit with your back against a large tree trunk that's wider than your shoulders. This offers two main benefits: it conceals your silhouette, making it harder for turkeys to spot you, and it provides protection from other hunters who might accidentally target movement or sounds. Ensure that you have a clear line of sight to your decoys and the surrounding area. Also, choose a spot with minimal vegetation directly in front of you so it doesn’t obstruct your view or shooting lane. Remember to remain still and patient, as any sudden movement can alert turkeys to your presence.
Why is Turkey hunting hard?
Turkey hunting is a test of patience and skill, and I'll be the first to admit it's one of the toughest games out there, unless you are Steven Rinella from the Meat eater, just kidding. From my own experiences in the woods, I've realized that turkeys have an uncanny ability to detect the slightest of movements; their eyesight is something out of this world. It's like they have a built-in radar for anything out of place in their territory. I've had days when just shifting my weight seemed to send them darting away. Couple that with their unpredictability - you can have a gobbler respond enthusiastically to your calls one moment and then go completely silent, leaving you second-guessing every move. And let's not forget about mastering the art of calling. Each turkey has its own personality, and what works for one bird might not for another. Throw in the challenges of varying terrain and unpredictable weather, and you've got a hunt that requires strategy, patience, and a whole lot of perseverance. But, at the end of the day, it's this very challenge that makes bagging a turkey one of the most satisfying experiences for any hunter.
Who is the best Turkey hunter in the world?
Well, if you're asking me, the best turkey hunter in the world has to be... yours truly! Just kidding! In all seriousness, it's a title that's been claimed by many but truly belongs to those passionate souls who've dedicated countless hours and energy to understanding and pursuing these elusive birds. One name that often comes up in the turkey hunting community is Harold Knight of Knight and Hale Game Calls. His decades of experience, innovation in turkey calls, and numerous successful hunts have earned him a revered spot among turkey hunting enthusiasts. However, the beauty of hunting lies in the personal journey and the stories each hunter brings back from the field. So while some names stand out, every dedicated turkey hunter has their own claim to the title in their own right.
Over the years, hunting has taught me numerous lessons — about nature, about patience, and about the delicate balance of ecosystems. But if there's one lesson that stands out above all, it's the significance of being prepared. The right gear can make the difference between a missed opportunity and a memorable hunting experience.
From the precision of Bushnell binoculars to the impeccable Sitka camo designs of Mossy Oak and Realtree, from the reliability of Carlson's chokes to the functionality of an equinox turkey vest, every piece of equipment has a story to tell. A story of countless hunts, close calls, and cherished memories.
As we look forward to the 2024 turkey season, I urge both seasoned and novice hunters alike to consider their gear with diligence. It's not just about the brands or the patterns, it's about how these tools augment our skills, enhance our experiences, and bring us closer to nature.
To all my fellow hunters gearing up for the next season, I wish you clear skies, steady hands, and a game bag full of memories. Here's to the hunt, the thrill, and the timeless dance between man and nature.