Gear Up for Turkey Hunting
By Courtesy of the National Wild Turkey Federation
Mar 21, 2008 – 6:58:53 AM
Slate Call with Striker
Click image to download | Credit: NWTF
the spring season, nearly 3 million turkey hunters head afield in 49
U.S. states, Canada and Mexico, often traveling hundreds or thousands
of miles to enjoy their ultimate hunting adventures.
The National Wild Turkey Federation has put together the following helpful tips for sportsmen and women planning a turkey hunt.
Get Ready, Get Set ? Go!
Planning increases your odds of having a great time on a turkey hunt.
It also will help you get the most for your money: quality food,
accommodations, camaraderie and most of all, can improve your chances
for success in the field.
of the fun of turkey hunting is getting your gear ready,? says Burt
Carey, editor of the NWTF?s Turkey Call magazine. ?But with all the
gear on the market today, you?ll have to really prioritize what you
need ? especially if you?re flying to your destination.?
by deciding which of the five wild turkey subspecies you want to hunt.
Once you?ve decided on Merriam?s, Gould?s, Eastern, Osceola or Rio
Grande turkey, you?ll need to choose the specific region you wish to
hunt. Then, decide if you will hire a guide or outfitter, or go at it
Choose a Quality Guide
Guides cost money, but they also can save you time ? especially if
you?re hunting in unfamiliar territory. Guides and outfitters will know
the land better than you, and often can put you on game faster than you
could locate it on your own. Their services are invaluable, especially
in areas that are unfamiliar to visiting hunters. Amenities such as
lodging, restaurants, and taxidermy services may be better off chosen
with the help of a guide.
provide services that can make parts of your hunt seem effortless,?
says Scott Vance, NWTF director of conservation field operations.
?You?ll enjoy your hunt more if you don?t have to worry about locating
game yourself. Of course you don?t have to accept every service that is
offered. If you want to rough it, you can do that as well.?
you set your sights on a particular outfitter, do some research. Talk
to references who have used the guide in seasons past. Look up
information on the Internet and pick up brochures or articles written
about the guide.
For convenient travel, and to be the most prepared, pack lightly, efficiently and legally.
Click image to download | Credit: NWTF
Camo facenet or camo paint
Camo turkey vest or pack
Slate or glass pot & peg call
Owl hooter call
Other locator calls
|Box call chalk
Box call holster
3-D Camo clothes
The Outdoor Connection,
a partner of the NWTF, has taken much of the guess work out of choosing
a guide. Outdoor Connection specializes in customized fishing and
hunting trips with pre-inspected lodges, guides, and outfitters located
around the globe and has worked to pair hunters and anglers with the
perfect trip since 1989.
has more than 100 agents throughout the United States and Canada
working hard to provide accurate information on all destinations,? says
Dick Rosenlieb, NWTF senior vice president of sales and marketing.
?Part of what makes Outdoor Connection so confident in their trips is
that every destination has been personally visited by at least one of
During your search for a guide,
don?t be afraid to ask questions. You are paying the outfitter to give
you his or her best, and it?s only fair that they answer any questions
you may have. It?s also important that you research the rules and
regulations in the state you plan to hunt. You may trust your guide,
but you should always know the laws first hand.
you?re planning a do-it-yourself hunt, be prepared to do everything
from washing dishes to cleaning and packing out your game. Some hunters
enjoy a sense of accomplishment by roughing it. If you are limited by
time and want nicer accommodations and some professional staff support,
hire an outfitter.
Pack It In
Many hunters will agree they tend to over-pack for even the shortest
hunting trips. For convenient travel, and to be the most prepared, it?s
important to pack light, pack for specific terrain and weather, and
pack efficiently and legally.
your licenses, tickets, contact information, maps and directions
together in a bag that is accessible while you are traveling by plane
or automobile. This bag also can be used to keep valuables like
medications, camera gear, glasses and small, expensive or fragile items.
find packing lightly will make your travel easy, and packing light is
simple if you make a list of specific gear that you will need for the
trip. Lighter bags are easier to carry and store, and lightening your
luggage can prevent airlines from charging you for overweight bags.
in mind the size of the vehicle you will be traveling in once you get
off the plane. While packing for your trip, leave enough room in your
luggage to accommodate extra items you may pick up along the way.
that if your hunt is a success, you?ll possibly be bringing home meat
or other items. Some hunters bring fresh meat home in their carry-on
bags, but another option is to ship an empty cooler to the lodge or
hotel you plan to hunt from during the trip. Your cooler will be
waiting at your destination, and will be ready to load up for the
Follow the Leader
As a turkey hunter, you have a responsibility to hunt in accordance
with the law, and will benefit from packing your gear efficiently.
with firearms and ammunition, whether flying or on the road, presents a
unique set of challenges. According to Sgt. Don Reese of the South
Carolina Highway Patrol, safety should be the top priority when
carrying a firearm in your vehicle.
important thing to remember is to keep your firearm unloaded for safety
reasons above all else,? Reese says. ?The highway patrol recommends
carrying your shotgun in your trunk. If you have a truck, behind the
seat or in the bed are the best places to store your firearms. We also
recommend you carry your shotgun in a case.?
laws vary from state to state, it is important to contact the
authorities in the state in which you plan to travel. ?All states have
different laws regarding firearms in vehicles,? Reese says. ?It?s a
good idea to check with the highway patrol just to be safe.?
some cases, the car just won?t get you there fast enough and catching a
plane is necessary. Airlines will allow you to travel with a firearm,
but there are a few important items to keep in mind when traveling by
Store all firearms or archery
equipment unloaded in a locked, hard-sided case. A security officer may
need open the case before it is allowed on the plane, so keep your key
within easy reach.
Inform the ticket agent
that you have a firearm upon arriving at the airport for check-in. You
will need to open the case to show that it is unloaded and complete and
sign a short firearms declaration form to store with the firearm during
transport. If you must enter a security checkpoint prior to check-in,
inform security personnel that you have a firearm.
shotshells or cartridges in their original packaging or securely packed
in fiber, wood or metal boxes and transport in a checked bag. Whenever
possible, use the original packaging.
Check Transportation Security Administration regulations by visiting www.tsa.gov before packing for a flight with any of these items.
good measure, you should arrive at the airport at least two hours early
for domestic flights?even longer for international flights. Also, be
prepared to pick up your sporting arm from airport personnel in their
baggage claim office after you reach your destination. For security
reasons, many airlines won?t put gun cases on the baggage carousel with
regular baggage after a flight arrives. Always remember that each
airline may have different firearm restrictions?and keep in mind that
regulations can, and do, change. Always call ahead or check your
airline?s Web site for their latest regulations before packing for your
A Turkey Hunter?s Checklist
Even if you have never been a gear junkie, a hunting trip is the
perfect opportunity to try out the latest and greatest products. While
you will not need every item on the following list to bag a turkey, any
given situation can make you wish you had packed your bag a little more
checklist is just one way to safeguard yourself from forgetting
important items,? says Burt Carey, editor of NWTF?s Turkey Call
magazine. ?You don?t want to travel across the country for a
once-in-a-lifetime hunt only to realize that you forgot your favorite
call at home. It?s a bad way to start off a hunt.?
NWTF has compiled this comprehensive checklist for all turkey hunters
from novices to experts. The NWTF?s online Turkey Shoppe offers many of
the items listed below. Check it out at http://turkeyshoppe.nwtf.org and always remember to hunt safely.
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