Turkey hunting has, over the years, become a very exciting and rewarding outdoor activity. If you ask other hunters, they’ll tell you how exhilarating and thrilling the whole experience is, right from the beginning itself.
But many beginners tend to get really confused when it comes to following each step in order to land a successful hunt. And that’s normal. I did too when I first started turkey hunting.
The most important thing to remember in such a case is that you have to do whatever it takes to overcome this confusion and fear. And that is why you need a beginner's guide to turkey hunting to make you understand that turkey preys are very smart and engaging, so chances are that you’re going to be on your toes more than you can imagine.
And if this is what’s required of you, then you should know the basic turkey hunting tips for beginners. Otherwise, you’ll be confused half the time and won’t know what to do on the field. And when was that ever fun!
Time to get started!
9 Turkey Hunting Tips for Beginners
1. Call an Experienced Hunter
One of the most common mistakes turkey hunters make, especially beginners, is think that they know everything about the hunting area. In most cases, they are wrong.
So if you really want to know how to hunt turkey in the spring, please call a friend or fellow hunter who has some experience and talk to him or her about hunting for turkey in your particular area. And no hunter will ever say no to such a request. In fact, they go as far as to even accompany you.
That’s the best part, isn’t it? When a beginner has an experienced partner to rely on during his or her first few turkey hunting expeditions. It doesn’t get any better than this! Such a partnership encourages you, as a beginner, to concentrate more on the surrounding area around you while the experienced hunter can perform the job of calling.
To make it even better, you can have the other guy call from around 20 yards behind you as that really helps in getting the bird at hand for a perfect shot.
Turkey Hunting Tips: The Best Turkey Call
2. Make a very Early Start
In this beginners guide to turkey hunting, rising before the feathered creature is one of the most valuable turkeys hunting tips.
There are many hunters who like to hunt when the sun is already high up in the sky, and that’s perfectly alright. But it turns out to be a better and much more satisfying and exhilarating experience when you take your spot in the woods before the first hint of light.
In fact, you should know that even when the sun has slightly risen and there is some light peeping along the horizon, the roosting birds will still easily be able to spot your position. So if you want to avoid one of the most common mistakes turkey hunters make, then be in your spot well before sunrise and don’t sleep in.
3. Calling to the Birds
You’re obviously new to turkey hunting and you don’t know much about calling turkeys. Well, you don’t even need to, at least for now. All you ought to know are two things; box call and push button call.
First, let’s talk the about former. The box call is considered to be the best turkey call for all beginners. Reason being, it’s the simplest to use when compared to the other complicated mainstream turkey calls. Plus, it produces sweet melody turkey music.
How To Use a Box Call Turkey Hunting?
The latter, push button call, despite being disproved by some veteran hunters, is as effective to use as it is practical. Firstly, it does the job of calling to the birds pretty neatly. And secondly, you only need one a single hand to use push button calls. Practical, indeed.
One of the most important tips for first-time turkey hunters in terms of calling to the birds is the less you call the better it works. And this rule works best only when there is a gobbler in sight.
4. Conceal your Appearance
Turkey hunting 101; concealment or camouflage. The kind of clothes and accessories you wear and carry with you play a very important role in turkey hunting. It’s the same as scent control when hunting whitetail deer.
We all know how important the scent control factor is when you want to achieve better results with whitetails. But scent lures are something you don’t need to worry about when turkey hunting. It’s concealment that matters.
Along with camouflage clothing, you should cover your face and hands as well. In short, no part of your skin should be exposed.
The best option, in this case, is to wear 3/4 face masks. They are pretty convenient to remove whenever you want to adjust it. And for the hands, opt for gloves. But not just any gloves; make sure that the gloves you select provide exceptional grip. Otherwise, your gun will keep falling from your hands.
Another helpful turkey hunting gear is an excellent turkey vest with a nice seat, so you can easily and quite conveniently sit up against a tree. Beginners can also use effective ground blinds. Now you should know that ground blinds tend to restrict your mobility, but you can always use them in some specific situations.
5. Use Decoys
If you want to know how to hunt turkey in the spring, the answer is to use decoys. Many turkey hunters, both experts, and beginners, sometimes hunt without decoys. And that can be regarded as one of the most common mistakes turkey hunters make. Because hunting with decoys has the ability to significantly increase the chances of success.
(Do you know the correct decoy placement for turkey hunting?)
During the early season of turkey hunting, you can use a gobbler or a jake along with a hen decoy to bring out your game. This will arouse jealousy that will inevitably cause the atom to appear within sight. And as time passes, using a hen or maybe two is one of the most effective turkey hunting tips for beginners.
During this stage, it’s okay to keep the male decoys back at home. It’s during the last stages of the turkey hunting season that gobblers lose the interest to fight for mating purposes. And that is why they simply don’t feel the need to fight with the jake decoy to get a chance with the hen.
On the other hand, if you have some money to spare, then buying a useful feather system as a decoy can be really helpful for beginners. A feather system has the ability to imitate the physical appearance of a new decoy, which can make a huge impact at fooling the gobbler.
Turkey Hunting: Decoy Set-Ups
6. Select your Bird
Every beginner’s guide to turkey hunting states that picking out a bird or two from a group of birds is among the most important tips for first-time turkey hunters. Hens are completely out of the picture in the spring. This is because they appear smaller with more pale-colored and difficult to spot heads.
On the other hand, male turkeys appear bigger while at the same time their heads appear brighter with distinct colors like red, blue, and white. These are the ones that grow beards. Pretty fascinating, no?
Jakes are the juvenile male species. They have comparatively shorter beards that normally grow on their chests. They grow incomplete tails and the feathers found in the middle tend to literally stand out more than the side feathers. Full grown gobblers have full tails and a longer beard, mostly 8 to 12 inches long.
If you’re a beginner, then shooting a gobbler that has the longest beard might not be the best option. It’s what veteran hunters do.
As a beginner, you should opt for a gobbler that you think offers the best chance at success. It doesn’t matter how long the beard is, shooting any gobbler will turn out to be a huge achievement at your first successful turkey hunting expedition.
7. Carry Proper Guns and Ammunition
Many beginners use shotguns with 20 gauge when learning how to hunt turkey in the spring. A 12 gauge shotgun is also popularly used as it is considered to be the most basic gobbler gun. Newbies should select #5 shot as that gives them more knockdown power along with deadly patterns.
Another turkey hunting 101 tips for you is to carry an additional complete turkey choke in order to create a more dangerous pattern for the game. Using high-quality chokes for hunting turkeys can prove to be quite helpful.
8. Aiming your Shot
Since you’re using a shotgun, taking head shots seems like the only best opportunity. Every beginner’s guide to turkey hunting asserts that, for a beginner, the highest range should be at least 45 yards. As soon as you spot a gobbler within sight, you simply hold out until he lifts his head.
Over time, you will learn how to cause their heads to pop up. This usually happens when you spend a lot of time around turkeys and know what sort of sounds and actions they quickly respond to. (Some unusual and interesting facts about wild turkeys)
Anyway, chances are that you’ll be hunting alone so you should simply wait for the bird to lift his head on his own. And this shouldn’t be such a problem because gobblers have a knack for keeping their heads up while they’re strutting or gobbling. So as soon as you spot the head, you know it’s time to take the shot.
9. Perform the Post-Shot Duty
In this guide to turkey hunting, the final step is as important as any other on the list. If your shot is on target, the turkey will fall to the ground immediately. But if he doesn’t, you might have to take another shot in order to ensure that the bird doesn’t run too far from sight.
Once you’ve got the bird, tagging him instantly before even slightly shifting him is one of the most important turkey hunting tips for beginners that many hunters don’t practice.
Place a blaze orange cloth inside your vest during your journey back towards the truck or cabin. Put on a pair of hunting gloves or a baseball cap. This makes carrying the turkey safely from the wild. Also, it’s turkey hunting 101.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never gone turkey hunting. In this beginners guide to turkey hunting, I have clearly mentioned all the essential tips for first-time turkey hunters. As a beginner, this should help you get started and teach you how to hunt turkey in the spring.
You should know that the moment you experience your first spring chasing toms, you will stop worrying about everything else, including how good or bad you are at turkey hunting. Just remember to honor the conditions of private property owners and fellow hunters in order to keep yourself out of trouble.
As a beginner, was this all that you were looking for? Is there anything else that you might like to add?
Please don’t forget to share this piece of useful information with as many turkey hunters as you like, both veterans and beginners.
Looking forward to reading your comments below.