Fall gobbler hunting awaits.
By Trent Jonas
In many states across the country, fall turkey hunting season is upon us. Now's the time to make sure you're equipped with the proper gear to ensure a successful trip afield. From broadheads designed to drop turkeys instantly to lifelike decoys for fooling gobblers, here are a few essential items to bring on your next turkey hunt.
When you’re in the field stalking gobblers, you want to be certain that your arrow is going to make the kill. That means you need to have the right broadhead for the job—ideally, one designed specifically for targeting turkeys, like the Spitfire Gobbler Getter from New Archery Products.The Gobbler Getter is built with a rounded point to deliver a devastating shock to a turkey, dropping it where it stands and preventing the bird from running off with your arrow. The head’s 1.5 inch cutting diameter penetrates feathers like they aren’t even there and ensures a kill.
As big as a turkey may seem when it’s in your hands, it makes for a pretty small archery target at a distance. Throw in their speed and skittishness, and you quickly learn that gobblers are not the easiest thing to hit with an arrow. A clean release of the arrow from your bowstring can make the difference between a hit and miss. Unfortunately, human fingers are not always ideal for releasing a clean shot. This is why release aids, like the TruFire Hardcore were developed. A release aid helps ensure a clean release of your arrow on every shot, which gets you a step closer to a drumstick for dinner. Check your local hunting regulations before using a mechanical release aid in the field, as some states do not allow them.
Knowing what calls to use is crucial to bagging a gobbler, and fall calls differ somewhat from turkeys’ spring calls. In the fall, successful calls include a gobble, which can provoke a Tom to feel he’s being challenged and seek out the source of the call. A Tom’s yelp call has a similar effect. Hens make series of yelps when they’ve been separated from the flock or have become lost. Imitating this call can draw a gobbler or help you locate a flock of hens. A fourth call to have in your repertoire is a poult’s “kee kee” call. Use this call to attract a flock of hens. Knowing how to make the calls yourself or keeping a selection of calls with you as you hunt is important for attracting and locating the turkeys. Calls made by Primos Hunting, like the Gobbler Turkey Shaker are found in many a hunter’s arsenals.
Another excellent tool to use for attracting turkeys toward your blind is decoys. When it comes to turkey decoys, there are many types and styles to choose from, but an important consideration when you’re heading out into the field is portability. You want decoys you can carry easily with your other gear and deploy quickly and efficiently. One highly-rated example are the lifelike collapsible decoys made by Avian-X. They’re easy to transport and set up quickly so you can get into the blind and start calling.
Whether you’re hunting spring or fall, a turkey vest is incredibly handy when you’re in the field. You can keep your calls and anything you may need, like a compass or headlamp, in your vest and not worry about forgetting anything when you head out. Many vests, like Cabela’s Tactical Tat’r 2, also have an integrated game bag so you can pack your decoys in and pack your gobbler out.
A fall-patterned, camouflage ground blind, such as those made by Ameristep Hunting, is an excellent way to give yourself the cover you need without chaining yourself to one hunting area. Throwdown blinds are light and portable and can be deployed or picked up quickly.