A few years ago, my husband and I were heading out to enjoy the opening morning of spring turkey hunting season. The weeks leading up to the season opener had kept us extra busy. Our jobs, household projects, and filing state and federal tax returns had pushed pre-season prep off to the side. I did not discover the error of my ways until I was standing by our truck rearranging turkey calls in my vest. Then it hit me. I had forgotten to bring a box of 20 gauge shotgun shells.

Woe is me.

Turkey Hunting
Fortunately, later in the season I had my equipment act together and took this nice bird.

My husband uses a 12 gauge shotgun so no luck there. Plus, I am meticulous about putting my shells back in the manufacturer’s box when I’m done hunting. While this is a smart strategy to prevent accidentally putting a 20 gauge shell in a 12 gauge shotgun, it also meant there were no loose shells in my vest.

So, that day was spent bird watching instead of turkey hunting. No regrets, but you can bet I vowed to be more organized next time. I decided to create a checklist of turkey hunting gear because at different times I’ve also forgotten insect repellent, chalk for tuning a box call or an extra pair of gloves. This list contains a mix of necessary and optional items that will help me be safer, more successful and comfortable. Before you head afield, though, make sure you check the regulations of the state you will be hunting in because there may be restrictions on decoys, ammunition or gadgets you want to use.

Turkey Hunting Gear

  • Shotgun (with sling) or bow
  • Shotgun shells
  • Bowhunting accessories (finger tab, release, arrows, broadheads, quiver)
  • Turkey calls
  • Locator calls
  • Binocular
  • Turkey decoys (where legal)
  • Camo blind (where legal)
  • Insect repellent
  • Call accessories (chalk, sandpaper)
  • Map and compass
  • Flashlight
  • Ratchet cutters
  • Knife
  • Water bottle
  • First aid kit
  • Seat or cushioned stool
  • Rain suit
  • Extra gloves and face mask
  • Turkey vest
  • Camp shirt, pants, jacket, socks
  • Waterproof and snakeproof boots

One thing that’s not on my list but is vitally important is hunter education. If you plan on turkey hunting this spring and must pass a hunter safety course to get a hunting license, check out the state-approved training at hunter-ed.com. You can get started with your hunter education training on your smartphone, tablet or laptop, no app required.  Online hunter safety education courses are available in participating states so visit hunter-ed.com to take a course specific to your state.

Now it’s your turn to weigh in on my recommended turkey hunting gear. Is there something on your list that isn’t on mine? Let me know. I’m always looking for great turkey hunting tips.

Image courtesy Tammy Sapp

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4 thoughts on “Equipment Checklist for Turkey Hunting Season

    1. Sam, while blaze orange provides a measure of safety during fall, NWTF experts advise spring turkey hunters to avoid wearing blaze orange.

      Here’s why: orange is closest to red in the color spectrum, and it can be
      mistaken for the red on a gobbler’s head. NWTF’s Tom Hughes said they saw that happen in Pennsylvania when they still required blaze orange during their spring turkey season. A study revealed that some incidents occurred when
      hunters shot at something moving that they thought was red, when in fact
      it was another hunter wearing blaze orange. Another issue related to
      orange was hunters reported hearing a turkey and seeing movement but no
      orange, so they shot. Basically, both the presence and absence of blaze
      orange was a problem during spring turkey season.

      Your best bet when turkey hunting is to wear camouflage or drab
      greens and browns including undershirts, socks, gloves and a face mask.

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