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10 Things You Need To Go Turkey Hunting This Weekend

Planning to hit the turkey woods soon? Here's a list of ten essential gear items to take with you.

10 Things You Need To Go Turkey Hunting This Weekend

There was fooling on April 1, 2024. Though I didn't fall for the many pranks my wife and kids tried to pull on me, I can't say the same for a tom turkey.

It was the opening day of Colorado's Ranching For Wildlife Season, and I was on the X. A previous scouting trip combined with years of experience on the property told me where to be.

Yet, as is often the case in the turkey woods, the situation took an unexpected turn. The toms remained cautious despite a trio of jakes and several hens falling for my decoys.

No white towel was waved, though. I regrouped and used the terrain to move in front of the birds. Thanks to my lightweight run-and-gun gear, I moved quickly, got the fakes back out, and pulled the same three jakes to 10 yards. The only difference from the morning hunt was that this time, a tom joined the jakes, making this April Fool's Day an excellent one.

If you plan to hit the turkey woods soon, here are my Top 10 go-to gear items. I highly recommend adding them to your turkey arsenal.

ALPS OutdoorZ Ambush Sling Pack

ALPS OutdoorZ Ambush Sling Pack
ALPS OutdoorZ Ambush Sling Pack

You need this sling-style pack if run-and-gun is in your springtime bag of turkey-hunting tricks. I applaud the ambidextrous, multi-position strap and MOLLE system on both sides for additional attachment. The pack holds a pair of pot calls, three pegs, a box call, and your ammo. The exterior zippered mesh pocket is deep and perfect for your phone, charger, and other need-right-now turkey gear. I love the minimalist design. 

Slayer Calls The Slayer Spring Training Kit

Slayer Calls The Slayer Spring Training Kit
Slayer Calls The Slayer Spring Training Kit

A perfect diaphragm kit for the beginner or a sage veteran, Slayer's Spring Training Kit includes the Straight Double, Split Triple, and my number one go-to, the Center Cut Triple. All three calls are easy to blow. The latex and tape promise lasting durability, and if you take the time to practice with them, they each produce all the sounds of a wild hen turkey.

Federal Grand Slam Shotshells

Federal Grand Slam Shotshells
Federal Grand Slam Shotshells (Photo courtesy of Federal Premium)

Everyone talks about how great tungsten is for turkey hunting, and they’re not wrong. What they often gloss over is the cost. Tungsten is incredibly expensive, and plenty of turkeys are killed by less-expensive lead every season. Grand Slam shotshells from Federal Premium carry optimized loads of copper-plated lead at velocities that can still reach out to reasonable ranges. And it does so at reasonable prices.

Avian-X LCD Half-Strut Jake

Avian-X LCD Half-Strut Jake
Avian-X LCD Half-Strut Jake

I've tinkered with a pile of turkey hunting decoys over the years, and my go-to boy bird fake is Avian-X's LCD Half-Strut Jake. You'll appreciate its more diminutive size, sub-dominant head, and relaxed feather positioning. I also prefer the lifelike detail and that I can deflate the decoy and toss it in a vest or pack. The collapsible carbon stake ensures easy, realistic movement without the decoy spinning wildly out of control. I have had excellent success with this decoy from the start of the season to the end.

ThermaCell MR450 Armored Portable Mosquito Repeller

ThermaCell MR450 Armored Portable Mosquito Repeller
ThermaCell MR450 Armored Portable Mosquito Repeller (Photo courtesy of ThermaCell)

Nothing ruins a good day in the woods like mosquitos' constant buzzing and stinging. The good news is mosquitoes are never a worry when you have ThermaCell's MR450 strapped to your belt or in your Ambush Sling Pack. This handy unit operates off fuel cartridges that last up to four hours and provides a 15-foot zone of protection. Inspired by plant-repellent extracts, the synthetic allethrin formula is safe for people and pets. I won't go into the turkey woods without my ThermaCell.

Mossy Oak Stretch Fit Mask and Gloves

Mossy Oak Stretch Fit Mask and Gloves
Mossy Oak Stretch Fit Mask and Gloves (Photo courtesy of Primos Hunting)

Whether turkeys are smart or just scared of everything, the fact is they are always on high alert. Good camouflage from head to toe is a must-have piece of turkey-hunting gear. For maximum concealment, invest in a comfortable headnet and a good set of gloves. Primos sells both, and we like the stretch-fit masks and fingerless gloves. The mask is designed to conceal your shining face without hampering vision, so you can catch that tom slinking in from the side. The fingerless gloves are open on the thumb, pointer and middle fingers for good dexterity when loading a shotgun or working a call.

Zamberlin 1110 Baltoro Lite GTX RR

Zamberlan Baltoro Lite Boot
Zamberlan Baltoro Lite Boot

I'm a big rubber boot guy if I'm turkey hunting the swamps of the South. Otherwise, please give me a comfy, lightweight, durable pair of boots like Zamberlin's 1110 Baltoro Lite GTX RR. I tip my hat to the Perwanger leather uppers and PU-coated rubber rands on the toe box and heel. Another win is the Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membranes, which promise waterproof protection while remaining breathable. Last year, a day after getting these boots, I walked 12 miles into one of my favorite public land turkey haunts and never got a blister or a hot spot.

Recommended


Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 10x42MM

hunter walking in grassy field
Leupold BX-5 Santiam HD 10x42MM

While some wouldn't add an optic to a Top 10 gear piece for turkeys, I wouldn't go turkey hunting without a solid bino option. Good optics are essential scouting and must-have hunting tools from east to west and north to south. Last year, while hunting the swamps of Florida, my hunting guide said, "Crap, I wish I would have brought binos." My go-to is Leupold's BX-5 Santiam HD 10x42s. Their slim, grippable design and durability won me over years ago. I like the lightweight, comfortable open-bridge design, and the scratch- and smudge-resistant lens coatings mean a run-in with some briars, limbs, etc., won't damage the optical system.

Wicked Hand Pruner

Wicked Hand Pruner
Wicked Hand Pruner (Photo courtesy of Feradyne)

A sharp, handy pair of pruners is a go-get-'em turkey hunter's best friend. These pruners have a lifetime warranty, weigh only 9 ounces, and quickly dispatch branches up to 1 inch in diameter. The rubber grip ensures no slippage, and if these pruners are in your vest, you can quickly clear a shooting lane, enhance your hide, or make your sittin’ spot more comfortable.

HuntStand Pro

HuntStand Pro at the computer
HuntStand Pro

From March through May, I wander on many public tracts while turkey hunting. Plus, I'm not afraid to go door-knocking looking for access to a turkey nirvana. When you use HuntStand Pro's app, you'll always know where the public/private boundaries are. You'll also have access to the Property Info tab and be able to ask the right landowner for permission. The Monthly Satellite feature boosts at-home scouting missions, and I appreciate the many labeled icons one can use when dropping and saving waypoints. 




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