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The Ultimate Gear Guide for Turkey Hunters

By Shaggy Outdoor Team

February 26, 2023


Ultimate Gear Guide for Turkey Hunters. Backcountry hunters looking for the best products and a few turkey tricks.

Are you dreaming about this year's turkey season? Whether you're a beginner or an "old pro" having the right turkey hunting gear will give you all the advantage you need to pursue the #bosstom, #treehanger, #mossback, #longbeard, or Thunder Chicken.

Are you on the hunt for something new to add to your turkey tote? Looking for a great gift idea for Dad for Father's Day?

My guess is if you are here reading this blog, you're knee-deep hunting already. Searching for the next turkey hunting product or a tidbit of information that will make your turkey season a success?

No magic will make hunting turkeys easier…you will need to put in the work and we have the gear and preparation tips to help you succeed. 

What's in front of you is a comprehensive turkey hunter guide that was put together to inform and educate those who are so TURKEY CRAZY.  This guide will enlighten and educate you on the necessary products needed in your pursuit of a mature tom. 

It does not matter if it is early January preparing for the spring hunt or in September dreaming about those late-season toms, if you’re anything like our team, you are always looking at new gear and gadgets to use while hunting turkey.

What is it about these birds that get our juices flowing?

I believe it’s the sounds these birds make in the early morning before we even know their location, or maybe it’s the gobble of that mature tom looking to score with one more hen. Either way, no matter what makes them sing, I can’t wait to get into the woods and enjoy observing and pursuing turkeys for another hunting season.

Before the truck gets packed, before the first sit, you need to check your gear and make sure your turkey hunting tote has all the gear. 

The Shaggy Outdoor Team put together The Ultimate Guide for Turkey Hunters as a comprehensive list of gear and accessories you will need to pursue those turkeys. If we provide just a bit of information that helps you successfully fill your tag and put a bird on the table, then all our work was worth it.  Good Luck!

Our guide gives you a list of items you may need on your turkey hunt from clothes to calls and everything in between. Don’t consider this list all-inclusive, as every hunter has some product or trick up their sleeve that we didn't cover. The idea is for each hunter to take a good look at their gear list and see what items they may need to add to their turkey gear tote for the upcoming season.

Don't have enough time to read the entire Ultimate Guide right now! No problem, click on the Table of Contents and jump right to a section that catches your interest.

Turkey Hunting Apparel

Figuring out which camouflage apparel will give the best concealment on your next hunt can be a challenge. Do you know the environment for the hunt? Are there trees? Maybe tall grass and evergreens, or is it like some of our southwest areas which have sage and tall timber? Having the proper camo pattern will blend you into the surroundings and give you the best opportunities.

Understanding this, turkeys have excellent eyesight, and they see in full color. This factor is important when deciding on a pattern.

Your clothing should consist of a full camo pattern outfit that blends in the best with your surroundings. Use full body coverage from your feet to your hat when you’re out running and gunning your turkeys.

Having the right camo design doesn’t require spending hundreds or thousands of dollars. The right camo for you should include the best design that can blend you into your surroundings. Understanding where you will be hunting will help you choose the correct camo pattern for your environment.

Mossy Oak makes several different patterns of camo. Depending on your location check out the different camouflage patterns at mossyoak.com website.

Clothing brands like Scentlok, Sitka, KUIU, and Namad make several different clothing designs with unique camo patterns. Some clothing items are more comfortable than others. Pricing for good quality apparel is not cheap. You can use the higher-dollar lines or choose to spend your money on more affordable options.

We suggest checking out your local sporting goods store or checking out what is online at Sportsman’s Warehouse for those looking to spend a little less.  

The Shaggy Outdoor Team has found different brands fit us better and have better comfort in the field. We believe a uniform pattern is vitally important when hunting turkeys.

Key clothing items you will need for every turkey hunt will include:

Camouflage Jackets 

We like the Scentlok Technologies lineup of jacks, shirts, and pants. Easy care and great patterns. Check out Scentlok Technologies and its apparel lineup and current discounts.

Camouflage Shirts

The Realtree brand makes several low-cost options for both long and short sleeve shirts. Check out the Realtree page on Amazon for pricing and options.

Camouflage Pants

I'd have to say my Scentlok pants have been fantastic. The pockets hold several gear items including gloves, range finders, and my bow release. The pants I've been wearing are perfect for those early-season sits.

Check out the selection on Amazon by clicking here. 

Boots

Here is an important item for your hunting pleasure. The boot and socks make all the difference. Are you going home with tired and sore feet? If you do, the likelihood of being excited for day 2 or 3 of the run-n-gun style of turkey hunting will diminish. 

For turkey hunters in dryer climates The Shaggy Outdoors Team suggests a hiking-style lightweight boot like the Merrell Men's Moab 2 Mid. This waterproof hiking boot is a mid boot with a Vibram sole. If you haven't hiked in a Vibram sole boot you are missing out on some comfort. 

If you’re hunting the swamps of the south, check out the Muck Boot Arctic Pro Hunting Boot. These 100% synthetic boots have a fabric lining and easily pull on and off. 

Gloves

Gloves can come in all shapes and sizes. Camo color again will be important here because the turkey’s keen eyesight will come into play. Stay consistent with your glove camo choices and pick a glove that you can use with your shotgun or bow. There are hundreds of Amazon selections click here for quick access. 

Socks

Don't skimp on the socks. This option goes along with your boots. Choose wisely the sock can impact your hunting trip more than having the right shotgun or vest. Our top choice for socks is Fox River.

This company has been producing top-of-the-line socks since the early 1900s. A "made in the USA" company is important but their quality and commitment to satisfaction are second to none. Pick up a two-pack of the Wick Dry Outlander and your feet will be happy and you will be very satisfied. 

Face Coverings

The debate here lies in using a Balaclava Face Mask, Gator, or some other style. You need to use a face cover or face paint when hunting turkey. Their sight is so good they can see your eye moving from yards away. 

Staying consistent again with your camo pattern will help you blend in. There are several choices here depending on your comfort. A combo facemask and hat option by QuikCamo. Check out the design of this 3D Leafy Camo Face Mask and Hat. 

Hat

Covering your head is not only good for blending in, but it will also save you some headaches later when you come home burnt. A head cover is worn in all situations and circumstances of hunting. We need a good hat to cover our heads in the rain and to keep from being burnt by the sun.

As a proud buyer of the Mtn Ops supplements and workout gear, we also own sever different Mtn Ops Baseball Style Headwear. They have some great options and the plus of it all is when you buy from their website they help "Conquer Hunger" by feeding a family in need. 

Having a quality hat, while hunting, will help keep your head and head movements out of sight for those eyes. When hunting turkey in the west we tend to be on the move most of the day. Calling and listening for turkeys. The Shaggy Outdoor team uses a mesh style face covering and we like the FROGG TOGGS Waterproof and Breathable Boonie Hat. The sun stays off our necks and the hat is very comfortable to wear. The price isn’t too shabby either. Check out the FROGG TOGGS Boonie Hat at Amazon.

Wrapping up Hunting Apparel

When choosing the right camo pattern for your next turkey hunt remember the weather plays a factor. A layering system consists of using the same or similar pattern of camo for all layers. The pants, shirts, and jackets work best when using the same pattern for hunting turkey. The Savanna Aero line of clothing by Scentlok Technologies provides 5 different camo color patterns and has both tops and bottoms to match. 

The proper layering can also be effective when battling different temperatures on your hunt. Cold in the morning, warming up mid-day, and possible rain are all a factor in deciding the best choices.

Great, we have you decked out in all kinds of camouflage hunting apparel, now it’s time to get gadgets that bring in those gobblers, the Turkey Call!

Slate Turkey Call by Primos - 3 Types of Turkey Calls
3 types of turkey calls. Foxpro Crooked mouth calls
3 types of turkey calls. Primos crow call for locating turkeys

3 Types of Turkey Calls

Calling turkeys can be an exciting time and the most frustrating experience you’ll have in the woods. Understanding your local birds and their typical sounds and calling sequences will help you be the most successful. For a quick review of the Top 3 Calls Every Hunter Should Own and Master Before Hunting Season Starts click here. 

In the turkey calling community, hunters use three main call types. They may use any combination of these calls or just one, depending on the circumstances of the hunt. Turkey calls are one of these three categories. 

  1. Friction Calls (Pot, Box, or Push-button Calls)
  2. Diaphragm or Mouth Calls 
  3. Locator Calls (crow call, woodpecker, or owl)

#1 - Friction Calls

The number one call type that has been used in the field for decades is the friction call. There are several different friction call types and we are going to explain each and provide you with the information necessary to decide which type is best for you. 

What is a friction call?

Great question... A friction call is two items that are rubbing together to cause friction and ultimately, in this case, the noises that a turkey might make in the woods. 

An example would be a slate stone pot call that has tiny scratches on the surface of the slate and using a striker you pull the point of the striker across the stone causing friction and the sounds of a turkey.

By understanding how each type of friction call works along with the pros and cons of each, we’ll help you determine which is best for you.

Like many calls on the market, there are different materials and styles. In the Pot Call category, there are three surfaces.

  • The Slate Surface
  • The Glass or Crystal Surface
  • The Ceramic Surface 

All three of these "Pot Calls" have a similar appearance. The difference is the surface the striker is pulled across.


Slate Pot Call


Every turkey hunter has a slate pot call in their turkey tote. The surface of a slate pot call is a slate stone. This stone, using a striker, can make a combination of yelps, clucking, and cutting sounds which are the most widely heard sounds from turkeys.

The benefit of the Slate surface is it is easy to use for beginners and you can keep it clean using a simple scotchbrite pad. The downfall of the slate is it is louder than other surfaces and moisture and oils penetrating the slate will modify or change the sounds. If you get oils from your hand on the surface, just take out your scratch pad and recondition the stone.

The best thing about working with a slate call is you can make the yelp, cluck, and cutting sounds. These sounds are found in every flock but will vary in tone based on the geographical area you are hunting.

The ESH Custom Call Turkey Pot Calls are for both experienced and beginners. This call is a 2-n-1 glass on one side and slate on the other.

Having both surfaces on one pot call allows you to mimic the sounds of multiple turkeys while having only one pot call in your vest. 

Glass or Crystal Pot Call

A similar "pot" style call to the slate, this surface is glass or crystal. This style of call is great for getting the attention of gobblers in the distance. Fondly used in the west, this sound can be heard in the big open country of the mountains.

The pro of this style call is the distance the sound travels to get the attention of a Tom. But the cons of the glass-style pot are it is virtually unusable when wet. The glass pot call is also tricky for the beginner to use when the bird is closer because the pitch the glass makes can be higher and a distraction to the bird.

To use the glass properly, the maintenance of the glass involves rubbing the conditioning stone against the surface to produce ridges. Depending on your usage you may need to replace the glass more often or have the glass resurfaced to provide better friction.

A good intermediate-priced glass top pot call is the Primos Rare Breed Glass Turkey Pot Call. Priced under $40 online at Amazon. 

Ceramic Pot Call

Similar to the stone slate style calls, this relative newcomer to the market can provide the hunter with the muted call tones they desire. But its dual capabilities to reach higher pitch tones may attract those birds from a longer distance. The ceramic material is a very universal choice when it comes to the pot call style.

The surface of the ceramic is porous and like slate, it is important to keep oils from your hands and water off the surface.

Legacy Premium Game Calls makes the Turkey Hunter Ceramic Friction Call. Pick up a call on Amazon.

How to Maintain My Friction Pot Call

Make sure the surface area is conditioned properly. Right from the box many pot calls come with an abrasive pad to condition the surface of the slate or ceramic pot. Make sure you make your scratches in the same direction every time. Do not go in a circular motion as the friction will not be as good when you are dragging the striker across the surface.

We suggest moving the scratch pad in a left-right motion. Have an idea of what determines the top of your pot call and then hold the pot with the top away from you. Begin scratching left to right.

A glass pot call will typically come with a stone to scratch the surface of the glass. When the tone of the turkey call changes, recondition with the stone. 

The groves created will clean the surface and provide more friction when using the striker.

Strikers Used with Friction Pot Calls 

Many friction calls will come with a striker or multiple strikers. Understanding the importance of the striker and how it works with your call is important for the best results.

If you’re needing a new striker there are several on the market you can purchase without the pot. The Shaggy Outdoors Team recommends for both beginners and advanced pot users alike the H.S. Strut Quick Strike Peg Pack of 3 you can buy on Amazon. 

Each striker will make different sounds. Different wood, different sound. As you get more experience working with the pot calls, pick up a few different brands and styles to experiment. You will find the best sound for you and your turkeys.

How To Condition the Striker Tip

Some pot-style calls will have a striker conditioning area where you can clean the tip by rubbing it on the abrasive area. If your call doesn’t have a striker condition area, then fine-grain sandpaper will do the trick. Rubbing gently back and forth on the striker tip will clean up the excess debris or slate that has adhered to your striker. Be careful you don't round the tip of the striker.

Pro Advice – when using the striker on the pot call, the area towards the edge of the pot will have a different sound than the area in the middle of the pot call. Understand the tone differences based on where you are using the striker on your surface. 


Wood Box Calls 

The second friction call is the Wood Box Call. This is a very popular, but difficult-to-use, turkey call. The box call is more challenging to the beginning hunter but a great advantage to those who master the call. Each box is made of a different wood material such as mahogany, cedar, or walnut.

A box is carved out on the interior and has a lid that is attached to one end of the box. The turkey sounds come from rubbing the lid to the side of the box. Some box calls will have the ability to use both sides of the bottom box edge while others may not.

The box style produces hen sounds that are an attractant to the Jakes and Toms in the area.

The negative for a box call involves having to use both hands to make the call work. When a gobbler is close to the action and nearing your Montana Turkey Decoy, you may not be able to utilize your box call as the movements of your hands will be seen.

An advantage of the box call is the surface of the call doesn’t get affected in wet hunting conditions. No worries about getting clucks, cutts, purrs, or cackles in the rain with this sure-thing turkey call. 

The Shaggy Outdoors Team recommends the Primos Hunting Waterboard Wood Grain Turkey Box Call


Push Button Turkey Call

The Push Button Call is one of the easiest calls on the market. This call uses a box design with a dowel rod that when pushed down causes friction against the wood on the inside of the box to make the yelp and cutting call sounds.

The third of the friction calls are the push button turkey call. Like the other calls previously discussed, there are several brands of the push button call on the market including Strutt, The Grind, Hunter Specialties, Quaker Boy, and many others.

This turkey call is ideal for the youth hunter or beginner looking to get started. Since the design is basic any new hunter can be successful using this call. 

H.S. Strut Push Button Yelper in a Poplar Walnut finish is one of least expensive calls on the market. Check out Amazon for current prices. 

#2 - Diaphragm or Mouth Calls

Diaphragm calls are complex and vary in turkey sounds. For each call there are different intended sounds to mimic a turkey. You may be able, with practice, to get a variety of clucking, chirping, and raspy sounds from one call, but each manufacturer is providing a plethora of call choices depending on the sounds you are looking to make.

A HUGE benefit of a diaphragm call is your ability to be calling while setting up for the shot. No matter if you are hunting with a bow or a shotgun, mastering this call will bring in the gobbler while giving you a hands-free opportunity to take the shot.

With so many choices of mouth calls on the market, it is difficult to review each manufacturer and the sounds each of their calls produces. The Shaggy Outdoors Team has used the 3-pack being offered by ESH with success in the past and we are looking forward to using them again in the spring.

The diaphragm call is the most difficult of all the calls to master and we suggest you practice your yelps and gobbles for weeks before hitting the woods.

The ESH Turkey 3-pack comes with the Tru-Hype, React, and LongSpur mouth calls. These three reed combos come with a plastic storage case and a reed separator to keep your calls safe and effective for several hunts.

Each of the three calls has a different cut in the reeds to make a slightly different pitch and call sound. The ESH 3-pack is a good place to start for those beginner turkey callers and the advanced caller can get some great sounds from these high-quality pieces.

Pro Advice - remember each reed call or mouth call has a different call intent. Using the right call in the right hunting situation with increase your odds. Use a Yelp call to locate and attract gobblers, use a Tree call to set up on a roosting turkey, and use a Cutt call to excite or piss off another hen. 

Diaphragm Mouth Call Organizer

When you are in the field, sometimes you need to be quick with making a call. One way to get your diaphragm calls organized is by using a Phelps Game Calls PDO.

The Phelps Calls PDO is great storage and organizer while in the field. The lanyard design allows you to conveniently have up to 8 different diaphragm calls at your fingertips. This system design allows for easy access to your calls while giving them a chance to dry out when you are finished.


#3 - Locator Call

Every turkey hunter has experienced being in the wood and not knowing if there are turkeys in the area. While in the Midwest you may be hunting your land or a neighbor’s farm and you can track where the toms are roosting.

However, those hunting in the southwest or on public lands who are not familiar with the area, are most likely hiking around to find the turkey. Either way, the locator call is a tool to figure out if turkeys are in the area.

When you blow on a locator call and turkeys are around the toms will gobble back. Often used in the early morning to figure out where the turkeys are roosting, this call can be used throughout the day.

Locator calls are not intended to be a turkey call to attract. The locator call is used to get a reaction from a gobbler. Locator calls can be the sound of a crow, owl, or even a woodpecker. No matter the call, the intent is for you to find the turkey and then position yourself accordingly.

Turkey Decoys for a Successful Hunt by Shaggy Outdoors

Turkey Decoys

When you are running and gunning or setting up for the morning hunt against a tree or in a blind, decoys are a valuable tool for your success. Check out our list of the 13 Best Turkey Decoys for Hunting Gobblers. We bring you the best of the best when it comes to lightweight decoys and solid decoys. 

Turkey decoys come in all shapes and sizes. You can purchase hens, mature toms, and jakes. The materials of the decoys vary depending on the manufacturer. Many older-style decoys were hard plastic with painted colors, while today’s technology allows for a 3D quality look, HD photo transfer, and collapsible design for lightweight packing and storage.

What you need to know about decoys is that they can attract and distract the turkeys strutting in when you are calling. If a turkey hears a call in the distance but no turkeys are visible, it will be leerier and possibly move on. Using the decoy along with calling can enhance your hunting experience and get you a big mature gobbler.

Positioning your bird will make a difference in your results. If you can position your hen to look like they are eating, then the flock walking in may be less likely to be spooked. If you can position your bird to be in the breeding position, then that mature tom will come in hard looking to breed.

The team at Shaggy Outdoors recently reviewed the Montana Decoy Turkey line of products. Several outstanding options are lightweight and can be used both for hunting out of a blind or when running-n-gunning. Check out our review of Montana Decoy Co.’s available Turkey Decoys.

One of the most realistic Turkey Decoy Strutter by Avian-X

While not the cheapest, the Avian-X Turkey Decoys are the Official Decoy of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The HDR is the high-definition resolution that goes into the hand-carved designs and extreme attention to detail that goes into each and every Avian-X Turkey.

While not the cheapest, the Avian-X Turkey Decoys are the Official Decoy of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The HDR is the high-definition resolution that goes into the hand-carved designs and extreme attention to detail that goes into every Avian-X Turkey.

Pro Advice - put the decoys within 15-20 yards of where you are sitting. If you put the decoy out to 30-40 yards the likelihood of getting a good kill shot will be reduced. Get the birds into your kill zone by putting the decoys close but not too close to you.

See our Turkey Decoy Strategies later in this blog.

Turkey Blinds by Shaggy Outdoors

Turkey Blinds

The discussion of this blog has centered around the right products and gear that will help you be a successful turkey hunter. Calls, clothes, backpacks, and ammo are only a few of the tools needed to be successful. A good blind setup, in the right location, will allow you an opportunity to stay invisible while readying yourself to take a shot at a big tom.

Ground blinds are not a necessary tool needed to be successful. If you are hunting your own private 80 acres of land you most likely have a blind or even multiple spots ready to ambush those flocks. Check out the endless selection of ground blinds at Amazon

If you are thinking about modifying your location or hunting on public land, you may need to utilize a blind for cover.

There are so many choices and designs for ground blinds. Making sure you understand how they set up and take down will help you move around in your area.

Run-n-gun hunters with good camo clothing and miles of travel in their hunting area will tend to pass on the blind. Archery hunters benefit from the concealment of a good ground blind.

Have you thought about bringing your kids or significant other on your next hunt? The ground blind with some decoys will give you the best opportunity to get those turkeys moving in close.

How to Choose the Right Turkey Hunting Blind

Since no two blinds are the same, you need to figure out which blinds might be the best choice for you and your hunting situation. Quality is in the price for most blinds, but also size, structure, camouflage pattern, and design will be factors in your final decision.

When considering the design and size of the blind, consider three important factors.

  1. How difficult is putting up the blind and taking it down? How many poles, does it snap into a finished position, and how difficult is it to pack away to quickly move to a better hunting spot?
  2. How much space is inside the blind? Are you looking for a smaller single-person style blind that you will be using to hunt with a shotgun? The dimensions will influence if you are sitting on the ground or in a comfortable hunting chair. Are you planning on taking the kids out with you? A blind with a screen mesh window that you can shoot through may be a good choice to conceal any movement inside.
  3. How does the blind look in my surroundings? Does the blind have the right camo pattern for my surroundings? Is it a fall hunt or a spring hunt? The time of year will influence the pattern.

Best Turkey Ground Blinds can be found at any outdoor store. Locally we shop at Sportsman’s Warehouse for many of our hunting needs. They provide free shipping to any of their stores nationwide and they have a good return policy if we have not used the product in the field.

Best Way to Hunt Turkey from a Ground Blind

Turkeys, like many wild animals, are in tune with their surroundings. Put up your ground blind early, we suggest 2-3 weeks before the season, if possible. Allow the birds to get comfortable with the new addition to the field or woods. 

A change in their environment may change their travel or roosting patterns. Turkeys have great eyesight and see in color. These factors can influence your ability to pull them into a good shot and a ground blind will help conceal your location. 

When new, take your ground blind out and scuff it up a bit. Don’t take a new blind out on the opening morning and try to figure out how to get it set up. Get rid of the newness of the material by dirtying it up a bit. Take out the shine and give the birds in the area some time to get used to the new addition to the woods.

Scout your area, if possible, ahead of time to learn where the birds roost. Once you figure out some patterns for your flock, find a good spot to tuck your blind into the environment. Make the blind fit in with other features including pine trees, oak trees, or grasses, these will help conceal the blind from the turkeys.

Turkey Hunting Seats for your Butt

Okay, you are heading to the woods have you planned on sitting? I know that when we’ve headed into the woods my thoughts are not always on my rear end. But I know that when I’m hunting turkey I tend to sit a lot and having a comfortable seat or cushion is helpful to keep me comfortable and allows me to sit longer.

The question is what is your style of hunting? Are you heading to a blind and needing a good seat to wait out the birds? Or are you going to be moving through the mountains and you need a cushion or portable chair to take with you to sit on the ground or rocks to call in those toms?

No matter the type of hunting you are planning on doing, remember your rear end… it will thank you later!!

A few styles of turkey vests including the UIIHUNT Turkey Vest will come with a built-in pad for sitting on the ground. We’ll cover vests in the next section, but wanted to remind you that some vests have built-in padded seats. Don't double up your inventory and buy a padded seat vest and a padded seat at the same time. 


Turkey Hunters Cushion

Northeast Produts Therm-A-Seat

Hunters Specialties Camo Foam Seat

A portable cushion that you can hook on your backpack is an essential part of your trip. Take into consideration your terrain and gear and make a purchase that’s right for you. A great suggestion would be the Beard Buster 3-inch Jumbo Seat. This cushion is good for all-day comfort but also has a clip and can be attached to your backpack when hiking and trekking.


Turkey Hunters Tri-Fold Chair 

GEERTOP Portable Camping Swivel Stool

Black Sierra Tri-Hunt Stool

Run-n-gun hunters may choose to pick up a tri-fold leg folding style hunting stool. Three or four legs typically with a variety of sizes and comfort levels. My choice is the Kings River Quad Hunting Stool as it has a 225 lb capacity. I’ve used mine under pine trees, in my blind, and out in the open when I need a rest. These portable stools are great for use at your kid’s sporting events or anywhere you may need to just sit for a few minutes. 


Turkey Hunting Chair for Ground Blind

Muddy MGS400 Swivel-Seat

Timber Ridge 360 Degree Swivel Chair

Having the right chair for any blind is an absolute must. A couple of factors you need to consider when sitting in a blind are how much movement or room you will need, and how much height you need. When you have your blind picked out, then the size and style of the chair will be important. 

In a recent antelope hunt in Arizona, my hunting partner picked up a brand new Rhino Blind R180 for 3 people. He was archery hunting for the first time and wanted the best blind for this rare hunting opportunity. A great blind, no doubt, but the chairs he bought to go with the blind were too tall to take a shot while sitting. 

Before you buy, consider what the dimensions are inside the blind. Are you planning on using the blind for archery or shotgun hunting or both? A good chair that I’ve used several times is the Muddy MGS400. This swivel chair has stationary feet and good butt and back support for all-day sitting comfort.

With so many types of chairs, it’s easier for you to check out a large selection online at Sportsman’s Warehouse first and purchase your chair there and have it delivered.

Turkey Hunting Vests

A staple for many turkey hunters. The turkey vest gives you the ability to store your gear and have it at your fingertips at a moment’s notice. You have places to store your mouth calls, slate calls, and even your box calls.

Every vest comes in different styles and arrangements. Knowing your hunting style will help determine which vest is right for you.

If you are a run-n-gun turkey hunter, then a minimalist style or fanny pack style may be the best choice for you.

Primos Rocker Vest

Check the price on Amazon

UIIHUNT Turkey Vest w/Seat

Check the price on Amazon

Backcountry turkey hunters know they need plenty of gear along with comfort and butt cushion. For those looking to go deep in the backcountry on public lands your best choice may be a solid backpack. 

Ultimately, you need to consider the gear you will be using. Does the vest provide enough room for all your calls and gear?

Hunters heading out to their blinds don't need a vest with several pockets and areas to store gear. Blind hunters need to get to the blind and for that, a good backpack is all you need. 

Turkey Hunting Backpacks

Like the turkey vest, hunting backpacks come in all shapes and sizes. If you are a day trip hunter on public lands, then you don’t need a larger pack for overnight deep backcountry multi-day essentials.

Many hunting backpacks start heavy. Consider the gear you be needing throughout the day and the actual weight of the pack before making any decisions. A lightweight backpack will be handy for many hunting trips, not just turkeys.

Badlands has been making hunting backpacks since 1992. They Started in a self-storage facility and now operating out of a state-of-the-art industrial building in Sandy, Utah.

One of the foremost outfitter backpacks, Badlands has what you need for your turkey hunt. Day Packs to Frame Packs for backcountry hunting. They have what you need. 

Camo patterns vary with each backpack and manufacturer. If you are out in the open, the camo pattern may not be of concern because the pack is on your back and not visible to the turkeys walking toward you. Make sure you find a pack that's right for your needs and has pockets and compartments for your turkey calls and gear.

The Shaggy Outdoor Team’s top pick for those day hunting trips in the mountains of Arizona is the Sitka Subalpine Apex 1800 Pack. The Apex 1800 has 1800 cubic inches of storage space, with a waist belt and chest clip. The waist belt has pockets for the slate call and we can hook our mouth calls to the front straps. The weight of this pack is 36 ounces or less than 3 lbs. overall and very comfortable for all-day excursions into the mountains of Arizona.

Using a backpack allows you to carry your binoculars in a chest pack. Having good bino’s at your fingertips will help you determine if that gobbler is a mature tom or a young jake. Get a good first look using the best binoculars you can afford. 


Binoculars for Turkey Hunters

The one great thing I love about turkey hunting is I don’t need to pack my big heavy 10x42 binoculars and spotting scope. While great tools when I’m in the west hunting antelope or elk, these larger optics are not necessary for turkey hunting.

Binoculars for Turkey Hunting by Shaggy Outdoors

Unlike the photo above where we are scanning for long distances looking for Antelope. The turkey hunter is looking for the best compact binoculars that are lightweight and have an excellent field of view. The brand’s structure and durability are important to every hunter because we never know when we’re going to accidentally drop our binoculars.

When looking at the binoculars we are looking for a 10x magnification and an eye relief around 18mm. There is no need for eye strain as we are looking to find those gobblers within 100 yards or less. The compact nature of binoculars in today’s market has brand names producing the most compact of options with great glass.

Make sure you find a pair that can handle all kinds of weather. Rain, fog, sun, and heat are all weather elements you might find on your next hunt.

The bottom line for the turkey hunter. You have a lot of gear you are carrying around. Find the best option that gives you the least amount of additional weight and provides the best clarity for the money.

Best Binoculars for Turkey Hunting. Compact and Lightweight. Vortex Optics.

Vortex Crossfire HD Compact Binoculars

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Excellent Resolution
  • Shockproof
  • Adjustable Eyeclups

Click Here to Visit the Vortex Store on Amazon


The Shaggy Outdoors Team uses Vortex binoculars. The Vortex Optics Crossfire HD is an excellent choice for your next compact binocular. As a bonus, these binoculars have the ability to be placed on a tripod for steady all-day comfort. 

Binocular Tripod

Having a tripod steadies your target and gives you better image quality. The line-up of Vanguard tripods is an excellent choice in the field. Our team has two of the Vanguard Expod CX 233AP tripods that we have excellent experience with. When you use a heavier binocular or a spotting scope make sure your tripod is heavy and stable enough for what it's holding. The more stable the tripod the less movement when viewing through your binoculars.

Binocular Packs

Bino chest packs are a relatively newer product on the market. Finding themselves accepted and readily adopted by hunters only in the last 15 years. These binocular cases provide easy access at a moment’s notice to your glass. And just as quickly you can stow away the binoculars and keep moving on. 

Harness Style

The Vortex Optics Glasspak Binocular Harness is an affordable option for turkey hunters and avid bird watchers alike.

The harness comes with a straps to hold your binoculars in place. The 8 oz weight is lightweight and this harness me is  6.75 x 6.25 x 3.75 inches

Check prices at Amazon by clicking here!

Sling Style

If a bulky chest harness is not a good option for you, check out the sling-style binocular holder. This style is lighter weight but exposes your binoculars to the elements.

The Badlands Bino Basics Binocular Strap is an affordable harness that can be used for all types of binoculars. 

Check prices at Amazon by clicking here!

Compact Range Finder for Turkey Hunters

Now that you have seen those turkeys coming, it may be time to determine the distance for the shot. If you are set up in a ground blind you can use a range finder to measure your distances before the excitement begins.

But for those run-n-gun hunters, a quick check with the range finder may be necessary before you pull back on the string of that bow.

The perfect range for hitting a turkey hard is less than 30 yards for a shotgun and less than 20 yards with an arrow. Know your distance to make a solid humane kill shot on any animal.

Choosing the right range finder can be difficult. The options are endless and the prices are anywhere from $50 to over $500. Are you using this range finder for just turkey, then you don’t need a high-priced long-distance (1000 yards) rangefinder.

Vortex Optics Diamondback HD 2000 Laser Rangefinder is a good middle-of-the-road priced but high quality and a lifetime warranty.

This compact rangefinder has a 7x magnification and a 24mm objective lens. While it can reach out to over 1,000 yards, this little guy has the ability to be set on a tripod and uses an Ocular Lens and Diopter Focus.

Click Here to Check Amazon Prices

Turkey Hunters Additional Accessories

There are so many accessories that you may or may not be interested in having on hand for your next hunt. You never know the conditions you may encounter in the field. A quick list of additional accessories you may want to pack includes.

Woman Hunting Turkey. What's good options for woman in 2023.

Woman Turkey Hunting Gear Guide

Many of the items we have already mentioned are ideal for both men and women. If you are an experienced woman hunting turkey you know of the gear and necessities you like to carry in the field. If you are taking your daughter or wife out on their first turkey hunt, make sure you give them the attention necessary to make their experience memorable.

Start with a good seat. With my wife no matter the trip if she is not comfortable she is not happy. Her seat is a big decision-maker for me. Many times I’ll opt for a larger or more comfortable seat and back cushion combination just to make sure she’s comfortable. Hunter Specialties makes a combination seat and back with straps for adjusting comfort. A relatively inexpensive option that will give the comfort necessary to get through the day.

Items in pink are a good choice as ladies like the pink tones to their outfits. A good choice for color and comfort is the MAD Pink Panther Diaphragm Call is designed with a smaller frame and fit for a more petite lady’s mouth. When MAD is out of stock check out the Woodhaven Custom Calls Stinger Pro Series

If the hunt is all about your spouse or significant other, give her a call ahead of time and let her practice. She may choose for you to do the calling, but to get more "buy-in" for first-time hunters, give them all the fun parts of the hunt. Imagine she calls in her first tom, what excitement!

There are several clothing options for ladies that are pink camouflage. Remember turkeys have keen eyesight and see in color. Stay with natural color camo based on your location and she will have better success.

Turkey Hunting Kids. The Ultimate Gear Guide for Turkey Hunters

Turkey Hunting Kids

One excited kid hunting any animal or catching fish is worth the world in gold. A good friend and fellow Shaggy Outdoors Team Member @scottmyers_wi once told me, when you're with your kid, it's all about your kid. Put down the bow, the rifle, the shotgun, and the fishing pole, and make their day the best you possibly can. 

When it comes to hunting with my son, and fellow Shaggy Outdoors Team Member @kyle_shagena, I took what Scott said and applied his approach, if the boys are with me, it’s all about them. Taking the time to educate and enjoy the outdoors, and talking about animals, their behaviors, and tracks is all that matters. Share with them and let them learn to love the outdoors. 

With kids, hunting turkey can be a fun and exciting time. We suggest hunting with a blind in a high-traffic turkey area. Having a good spot with active birds and using a blind where your kids don't need to be quiet and motionless the whole time, will keep them from driving you nuts. 

Many times it's the drinks and snacks that kept my kids involved and occupied. I always had a no electronics while hunting policy when they were little. Listening to the sounds of nature was what I wanted for them. Picking out the birds, squirrels, and other animals was what the experience was all about. 

Accessories for Kids

Ear protection - A good set of ear protection will allow you or them to shoot and not be scared because of the sound the shotgun made. A good way to reduce their anxiety is to provide them with good sound-reducing earmuffs. Don't skimp on your kid's hearing. Get protection that will last a few years while they are still growing. 

Walker's Razor Slim Ultra Low Profile Compact Earmuffs

ReVO Kids Full Spectrum Electronic Safety Ear Muffs

Walker'sYouth Children's Low Profile Noise-Reducing Hearing Protection 

Seat or Stool to Sit On - Just like you they want to sit. Whether you are in a ground blind or hiking through the woods, pick up a good chair for them to sit on. I learned the hard way to not give them a swivel chair. Two times out in a swivel chair had me going nuts. They can't keep their butts still in a swivel chair. 

Binoculars – if your using binoculars then let them have a pair. Again, the more enjoyable the experience the likelihood of them returning to the woods. For less than $20 you can pick up the Brigenius 8x21 compact binoculars. This mini lightweight binocular is great for kids and for less than $20 when they're broken, it's no big deal. 

Comfortable Clothing – if they are not warm or if they are too warm your trip will be cut short and their experience will go down as being bust.

Snacks – yep, snacks are always in my backpack when I took my boys into the woods or fishing. This is an easy distraction for them when sitting and getting those turkeys to cooperate is taking longer than expected.


Turkey Hunter Gift Ideas

Do you have a turkey hunter in the family and you’re looking for a great birthday gift or a Father’s Day gift idea? Hey, I don't want to forget the hunting mom either. 

We have gone through several areas that are important to turkey hunters. You could choose any one of those prior areas and purchase it as a gift. But, here are a few gift ideas that we didn't cover that will impress your hunter and show your thoughtfulness when buying a gift for their next big day. 

  • Books - there are several books I can suggest for both turkey hunters and hunters who enjoy the outdoors. Check out these titles: Ballard of a Turkey Hunter by Hunter Farrior, Turkey Hunting Tails, Tips, & Tactics by Jace Brauserman
  • Knife - there are a million different knives on the market. But one that works well that many hunters won't buy for themselves is the Outdoor Edge 3.5" RazorLite EDC - Replaceable Blade Folding Knife. 
  • Calls - yes, we reviewed the 3 different call types for turkeys. But I wanted to put this here again because all hunters can use another call. Pick up something special like the Woodhaven Cherry Classic Series Friction Call. This is an advanced hunter-turkey call with excellent sounds and tones. 
  • Hunting Vest - A great gift that every turkey hunter will cherish for years. The Badlands Upland Turkey Hunting Vest is our recommendation. This vest comes with a 5-layer Foam Seat. This is a top-of-the-line vest that has a hydration compartment, an expandable rear bird pouch, pockets for slate, and mouth calls.
  • Trail Camera - hunters can never have enough trail cameras because we never know where the birds will come from. Vikera 4K Trail Camera with Night Vision. The camera comes with a 32 GB memory card and 4 batteries to get you started.
  • Shooting Sticks - no matter if you are on the move or sitting in a blind, a good set of shooting sticks will hold your shotgun still. Primos Trigger Stick Gen3 Shooting Support. This shooting stick comes in tall or short so make sure you know which one would be preferred. The short stick is 18" to 36" tall and the Gen3 Jim Shockey Tall Tripod is 24" to 62". 
  • Turkey Target - your archery shooting family will love the Delta McKenzie Strutting 3D Archery target. Not the cheapest option on the market, but the quality of this target and its ability to stand shot after shot will be valuable for every bow hunter.
  • Turkey Shotgun - I have never known a hunter that didn't accept a gun as a gift. Any shotgun, rifle, handgun, or 22-rim fire, no matter the model or caliber, we hunters love guns as a gift. A fantastic mid-price shotgun combo that we recommend is the Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag-Combo Turkey/Deer Pump Shotgun. This shotgun comes in two barrels. One turkey barrel 24" vent rib with an option for fiber optic sights. The second barrel is a 24" fully rifled, deer barrel with a cantilever scope base. 

Bow Hunting Turkeys

A challenging animal to hunt, the turkey just got the advantage when you decided to grab your bow. The eyesight and hearing of a turkey are excellent and their ability to see in color just lessened your chances. But you want to shoot that turkey with your bow. Damn, we are proud you are here!

Hunting turkeys with a bow will be difficult, but not impossible. Are you run-and-gunning in the West? Then you will need to make sure you have time to pull back the string and hold your string for several seconds up to over a minute to make sure you have a great shot.

Bow set-up – consider lowering your draw weight. The necessary pounds to kill a turkey are much less than you need for a deer or elk. Lowering the draw weight will allow you to put less force behind the arrow and a turkey is much more fragile than a bull moose. If you need some assistance, head out to your local bow shop and the guys behind the desk will be happy to help lower your weight.

Broadheads – an important part of the killing process but not necessarily the most important. Look at true shooting broadheads at 30 yards or less. A fixed blade or an expandable will do the trick. The shot placement is most important here.

A good broadhead for neck or headshots – Magnus Bullhead Broadheads

Standard body shot, use a G5 Deadmeat Expandable Broadhead

Arrows – In many forums, there are discussions of the arrow weight. The consensus is to keep your current arrow setup as you might use it when hunting deer or elk. Modify your arrow with a different broadhead and make a good shot. The placement of the shot will make all the difference. Practice on a smaller target like an 18” broadhead target. Check out our review of the 9 Best Archery Targets for Beginners and pick up a target that is smaller in size to make you focus on the tighter shot.

If you’d like to get a more realistic shot. Pick up a turkey 3D target. Check out our Best 3D Turkey Archery Targets for Bow Hunters blog where we provide the top archery targets to get every bow hunter ready to take a shot at a gobbler. In this blog we provide the best 3D targets including a Delta McKenzie tom. 


Hunting Turkeys with a Shotgun

The most common tool for killing a turkey is the shotgun. The different gauge guns are the only difference that hunters will debate. I typically hunt using a Remington semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun with a turkey choke tube. Having a turkey choke will keep the pellets together longer and give more killing power to the birds down range.

Turkey Choke Indian Creek Black Diamond Choke Tube 12 gauge Remington. Hunter Specialties Strut undertaker High-Density Non-Ported Choke Tubes are also good quality chokes for your shotgun.

Optics – there are abundant options for scopes or optics for turkey hunters. In my early days, open sights is all we had. Today, to increase your aim there are a variety of different scopes and sights for your shotgun.

Today, I like the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescope on my shotgun. Used for ARs, small gauge rifles, and shotguns, this small compact sight is exactly what I was looking for. The size is small and the Dual Ring Tactical reticle allows for the best shot placement. This 1X-6-24 scope will not break the bank and has a lifetime warranty.

Turkey Loads – what is important with turkey loads? Aren’t they all the same? Not true!!

Are you looking to shoot TSS or Lead Turkey Loads? Not sure the difference here is a quick overview. TSS loads are a combination of 95% tungsten and 5% nickel and iron powder. The density of TSS is greater than steel. The TSS allows for more pellets in the hull. As an example, the No. 9 TSS has approximately 360 pellets per ounce in a load whereas the lead No. 5 has 175. So, if you want a shot that packs the most punch the TSS is a good choice.

Turkey loads will differ depending on the metals and the patterns, penetration, and speed. Not every load is the same and understanding your gun and the patterns and penetration of the loads will help you decide which is best for your gun.

Beginners should look at the Kent Ultimate Turkey 3-inch, 1 ¾ ounce, No. 5 load. This is a great load for those beginners looking for the best and most consistent spray pattern. The best part of this option is the price allows a shooter to practice before they enter the field.

Turkey Shot Placement

When you are ready to start practicing you should be shooting toward the head of the turkey. The shot pattern will contact the head and hopefully the neck and parts of the body. The dense feathers of a turkey can keep some of the shot out from penetrating the vitals. But with good placement, you should be able to get a kill shot within 30 yards.

Using an arrow, you should shoot for center mass. From the side, follow the legs up to the body and then at approximately the center of the body is where you should be aiming for your arrow to hit.

If you are looking at the backside of the turkey and can see the neck, place your arrow just below the neckline of the turkey to hit the most vital area and get a good clean kill shot.

Pre-Hunt Gear Checklist for Turkey Hunters 

Don’t forget your checklist to make sure you have all your gear packed in the truck.

  • Shotgun/Shot Shells
  • Bow/Arrows/Broadheads
  • Camouflage Clothing/jacket/gloves/hat
  • Face Coverings – paint/mask
  • Backpack/Vest/Fanny Sack
  • Turkey Calls box/diaphragm/push button call/additional striker/cleaning pad
  • Shooting Sticks
  • Binoculars/tripod
  • Trail Cameras
  • Knife
  • Hunting Ground Blind
  • Seat or Cushion
  • Phone Charger
  • Headlamp/Flashlight
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Rubber Gloves - when field dressing your turkey
  • Cooler for Drinks, Food, and Turkey - Check out our Best Hardshell Cooler review

Hunting Tactics and Strategies for Successful Turkey Hunts

The internet is full of hunting tactics and strategies that you can read, review, and watch. We have a few ideas you should consider. Sit back and enjoy the read. 

For the Newbie - we welcome you to the party. You're never too late, you are right on time. The first-time turkey hunter is carefree and careless. Yep, I said it, you don’t know what to do when, where, why, and even how. Don’t be offended, we all were beginners once. Start your hunt with the knowledge that turkeys have excellent eyesight and hearing.

Use this bit of information to make sure you’re outfitted with great camouflage and you are not being seen. Now that you have blended in make sure you have several calls and a few decoys. Working on your calling before the season will help ensure you have some success in the woods. Have several calls with you, you never know which one will be the one that encourages the turkeys to come to you.

Make sure you’re positioning your decoys to entice those hens or toms to come into your shooting lanes.

Learn where the birds are roosting. Determine their typical path in the morning and get your butt out to your blind or on the edge of the field before they come down in the morning.

Blow that crow call early to make sure you have turkeys in the area. If you don't get a reaction you may need to move on or wait out the day. 

When you initially see turkeys, don’t rush to start calling. Let the turkeys do their thing and then interject in the conversation. If the turkeys are not heading in your direction, then you can start yelping and cutting. If the tom won't come in, don’t be afraid to antagonize a hen he's tight with by heckling her to the point where she brings the tom in for a shot.

The call that is most important when the woods are quiet is the crow call. This locator call will help get those roosting birds to gobble. Once you have a good idea where the birds are located you can now get set up and plan your attack.

Remember the beginner needs to learn the style of the birds. You may have to try, fail and repeat. Playing hard to get can be a good technique, but being patient is the most important part of the hunt.

Run-n-Gun Style – you are hunting public lands looking for those toms? The run-and-gun style of hunting involves moving yourself every few minutes and calling to get a response. Calls like a yelp or a quick cutt can often entice a response. But don't forget about your crow call to see if you can get a reaction.

This style of hunting involves using several calls to find a lone bird or a flock in the distance. Once you determine where the birds are you devise a plan to cut them off or set up to start calling. You want them to come to you, if possible. So you should try being aggressive with your calling.

A run-n-gun turkey hunter is on the move. So the gear needs to be light and comfortable to carry. Foldup decoys as those offered by Montana Decoy Co work well for the run-and-gun style. They are lightweight and can be put up in just a few seconds.

Vests or backpacks - use lightweight backpacks for run-n-gun hunters who are on their feet searching for the turkey flock. Having a good vest or backpack will keep your gear organized and available. 

Best Time to Call Turkeys - The best time to call turkeys typically depends on the season and weather, as well as the location. In the spring, when turkeys are breeding and pairing off, they are most vocal early in the morning. This is when they are most active and looking to attract a mate. As such, morning is generally considered the best time of day for turkey calling and can be especially effective when using yelps and cutts to sound like a hen looking for a mate.

In the summer months, turkeys will typically become more active around midday. During this period, they may be more receptive to subtle clucks or light purrs that mimic an adult bird feeding young. Additionally, during this time birds may respond better to aggressive calls such as shock gobbles that imitate a dominant tom looking for other males in his territory.

By late afternoon, turkeys may become less active as they roost for the night. However, some experienced hunters have had success by using soft yelps or clucks which imitate a lonely hen looking for her missing mate. 

Regardless of what technique or methods you use, it is important to remember that turkeys have excellent hearing, so it is important not to over-call during any period of the day. Furthermore while many consider these calls effective it is also important to remember that nothing beats good scouting and learning turkey movements to gain an advantage when hunting them at any time of day.

Should I Be Reaping That Turkey - For most of the new hunters reading the blog, are you scratching your head on this term? Reaping is a style of hunting in which a hunter will hide behind a turkey decoy and belly crawl or hand crawl toward a mature tom. Once close to the tom the hunter will pop open a fan and give the impression of a dominant strutting by puffing out his feathers.

Ideally, using a diaphragm call while moving will entice the other birds to become more aggressive and want to come in to defend their territory. When the hunter gets close enough or the mature tom puffs up and struts towards the hunter, bang… the shot will be taken.

There are conflicting opinions on reaping. There is a significant danger to any hunter choosing to hunt in this method. With public lands, the danger increases as other potential hunters in the area may become interested in you and take a shot. Not good!!

Reaping can be a good means to success if hunting private land. If there are other hunters on the property with you make sure everyone knows what strategy you are using. While safer, you just never know when someone will trespass looking for the turkeys doing the gobbling. So, safety should be your number one goal.

Check with your state’s regulations. Some states have outlawed Reaping and you need to know the laws in your state.

How to Duplicate the Sounds of a Turkey

Listen to the turkey calls here on the NWTF website. Duplicate the sounds as best as possible and learn different call sounds and techniques.

Listen to the sounds and use these tips from The Shaggy Outdoor Team to duplicate your call.

When using the slate call make the yelping sound by making a circle or oval movement with your striker. Make sure the striker is positioned flat on the surface.

Cluck calls can be made by placing your striker on the surface flat and moving the striker back toward your body in a quick and even motion.

Cutting or sequence of cutting has the same movement as the cluck but in a faster pace motion.

Use a combination of clucks and yelping calls and you will get the best results from your calling.

To get more information, check out this beginner’s guide to turkey calling provided by Josh Grossenbacher, World Champion Turkey Caller and contributor at Mossy Oak. 

Best Decoy Strategies

There are several strategies for the turkey hunter to use decoys. Is there a perfect or right way, no try different tactics and see what results you can get. Here are a few options that you can consider.

Single hen – having a single hen that’s calling may be lost and looking for its flock. Or it could be out looking for some loving in the spring. Either way, a single hen with you calling is a good choice. Look to get a hen in a feeding position. Many hunters are finding good results in this setup.

Single hen with a Jake – remember a jake turkey is a young male that is less than 18 months old. Mature toms are not worried about jakes. If they see a jake with a hen they may look to come in and take control by pushing off the jake to breed with the hen. Place the hen in a breeding position facing the jake. An aggressive Gobbler will move in fast if he thinks there is a chance he can move off that younger bird and breed with a hen.

Full Flock Set-up – put out several Jakes and Hens. Add in a Full Mature Tom like a Wiley Tom 3D from Montana Decoys Co. When you use the XD Turkey Decoys that Montana Decoy Co makes you can place the hens and jakes in different head and body positions. Look to put some in the feeding position and maybe add a hen in the laying down position. Mix the positions up to get more attention when you are combining the decoy with the calls.

Fighting Setup – we like the idea of the gobbler facing off with the young Jake. Place a mature tom decoy with a puffed chest and open fan facing a smaller younger Jake decoy. Check out the decoys at Montana Decoy Co for a complete package of hens, jakes, and toms.

If you'd like more information Montana Decoys Co has a booklet you can get for free which provides useful setup information. The "Turkey Decoy Tips That Work" can be found on their website, click here for quick access. 

How to properly setup you montana turkey decoy. Tips and tactics

Jakes vs Toms How to Tell the Difference

The difference between a mature Tom turkey and a Jake turkey is vast. Toms, also known as gobblers, are typically around 18 months old when they reach maturity. They have large, broad tails with multiple hooks that easily fan out with tail feathers reaching up to two feet in length. Their wattles and beards can often be quite long and impressive, ranging from 8-12 inches in length. In addition to their larger size and longer beards, they develop distinctive facial caruncles which make them easily distinguishable from Jakes.

Jakes are much younger birds who are still maturing but have not yet reached full adulthood. These turkeys tend to possess shorter tails than Toms, usually only measuring one foot in length or less. The wattles and beards of Jakes are usually much finer and smaller than their adult counterparts, typically only growing a few inches in length at most. Additionally, the caruncles present on the faces of Jakes tend to be less distinct and pronounced than those on mature Toms.

In terms of size, male Tom turkeys will often weigh twice as much as jake turkeys due to their age difference and growth rate; an adult male Tom can weigh up to 24 pounds while jake turkeys tend to stay under 12 pounds on average. In terms of plumage, Toms typically feature more vibrant colors with greater iridescence than their immature counterparts; moreover, the breast feathers of adult males display prominently barred patterns that give them a distinctive look when compared to Jakes whose feathers may appear more muted or plain in coloration.

Overall, it’s easy to identify the differences between mature Tom turkeys and Jake turkeys based simply on size, age & development rate; however within these distinctions lies a wealth of additional information such as plumage coloration & patterning that allows us to further differentiate between these two turkey species.

Get more information here at our How to Tell if I'm Looking at a Mature Tom or Young Jake Turkey blog post where we go into great detail on the difference between these different birds.

How to Display My Turkey After I've Successfully Shot a Turkey

Congratulations you have had a successful hunt. Now what should you do to preserve the memory of the hunt?

Every hunter enjoys showing off their successful hunts. no matter if they shoot a Buck, Bull Elk, Antelope, Mountain Lion, Bear, or even a Turkey.

There are several options you can do to preserve the memory of the hunt. 

  1. Take several photos of the turkey and yourself. This is the best way to show off your conquest on social media or at home with physical photos.
  2. Take the bird to a Taxidermist. There are hundreds and even thousands of taxidermists that can preserve your memories using taxidermy. They can do full body mounts, as long as you didn't tear up the feathers and skin. They can cut off the tail feathers, beard, and spurs and put them together for you in a display.
  3. Become a DIY Taxidermist. Yes, you can do your own taxidermy and purchase a simple fan and tail feather kit. The process to DIY your own tail fan display is not as hard as you might think and the cost will be lower than having a professional complete the job. 

If you choose to display your bird's tail feathers, beard, and even spurs you have the opportunity to do this job yourself. While it is not a complicated procedure you will need some important tools. Shaggy Outdoors has a blog on the 11 Best Turkey Fan and Beard Mounting Kits Review where you can get some good plaque ideas and a few helpful tips to get you started. 

Final Thoughts on Turkey Gear, Tips, and Tactics

Congratulations, you made it to the end of our blog post. That means you got a long list of gear and tactics to use on your next turkey hunt. Now, did you need all the gear we mentioned, probably not! But, you did need some new gear or info or you wouldn't have stopped and read through the post. 

What you learned is turkey hunting can be hard, fun, and exciting all at the same time. But hunting any wild animal you have all those feelings. What we did for you is narrow down the gear and provided useful details of products that are not only necessary at times, but also not necessary, depending on where you're hunting. 

The Team at Shaggy Outdoors is experienced in hunting both private lands, typically in the 40-80 acre range in the states of Wisconsin and Michigan, and public lands in the southwest in Utah and Arizona. We're experienced with both being limited to our boundaries and having no limits to our boundaries. Having experienced both, we can appreciate both. 

Your hunt is coming up and you will be ready to go if you follow these three steps:

  1. Do your homework and scouting - onX maps or a similar map GPS program will help you discover more information about your landscape. Nothing beats getting boots on the ground. If you can be out scouting ahead of your hunt, your odds will be in your favor.
  2. Practice your calls - can you get lucky and have a flock of birds and a big mature tom show up without calling? Yes, but what if you need to move that bird across a field and within 30 yards to make a shot? Practice, practice, practice!
  3. Get out of sight - either make sure your camouflage is the best to disguise your body in the woods or get a ground blind to disguise yourself. Either way being invisible will increase your odds of success. 

Now get out there and enjoy your hunt. Stop and take in the moment and you will have fond memories for years. Take a kid hunting if you can. They need someone to teach them the importance of natural resources and hunting to survive. 

Good Luck!!

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I put out my Decoys?

If you are setting up for the early morning hours of hunting. Set your decoys out before it is light. Making a crow call will help determine if the turkeys are in the area. But once you start your calling the decoys will help distract and entice the turkey. If you are walking around, you would quickly put out your decoys once you have located the flock or single turkey. Having a compact and foldable turkey decoy will help when you need to move around to find the toms. 

What is a good distance I should put the decoy from my blind?

The max distance for a turkey shotgun is approximately 40 yards. The best shooting distance is between 15 and 25 yards. Based on this information, our suggestion would be you place your turkeys between 15 and 20 yards from you. 

As a First Time Turkey Hunter, how much gear do I need?

Only if you like awesome pages that are rapidly customizable to your needs.

Is the strategy to hunt a Tom in the spring different than the fall?

The main difference between spring and fall turkey hunting is the breeding season. The spring is when turkeys are breeding and the tactics of decoys are different in the spring than fall. You can use calling and decoys in both seasons. 

Are turkeys most active first thing in the morning?

Turkeys, like many wild animals, are active throughout the day. Success can be had both in the early morning and late afternoon. Knowing where the turkeys are roosting will help your morning hunt and knowing where turkeys roost can help your evening hunt. Get to know the birds in your area. Crow calls are helpful to locate the turkeys. 

Do turkey hens have beards?

Yes, occasionally a hen will have a small beard. 

Are turkey decoys a necessity for beginners?

No, many turkeys have been hunted and shot without the use of a decoy. They can be a valuable tool when starting out if your calling is not the best. 

What time of day is best to hunt turkeys in the spring?

Our team has had luck killing turkeys both in the early morning and late afternoon. Just get into the woods and start scouting. Where are the birds going to eat and drink? Knowing their routes will help you become successful.