Turkey Hunting Gear Guide
Russ Chastain 04.02.18
Hunting is usually a challenge, and when it’s not, hunters try to make it so. Hunting a truly wild turkey is challenging, frustrating, and sometimes downright impossible, which is why so many of us chase those birds each fall. Here are some great bits of turkey hunting gear that I’d hate to be without.
Lynch World Champion Turkey Caller
The first turkey call I ever knew anything about was my father’s old “Lynch box,” as he called it. The call was old when I first saw it in my teens, and it hasn’t gotten any younger. It has, however, gotten me some birds! This box call can purr, putt, yelp, cutt, and even gobble. Each side of the box has a different tone, one higher and one lower, so you can imitate both gobblers and hens without ever setting it down.
Dad’s was a World Champion Turkey Caller, and it’s still being made today. For $44.99, you too can own this classic turkey call. I know I sure wouldn’t want to get caught in the turkey woods without it.
Turkey Hunting Seat
If you’re not comfortable, you can’t sit still… and if you can’t sit still, you won’t consistently kill wild turkeys. There’s nothing better than a nice, light, low folding seat to keep your butt up off the damp ground and allow you enough comfort to wait out that stubborn ol’ tom.
Mine is an H.S. Strut model, and it has folding legs of different lengths; simply find a tree to lean against and put the shorter set of legs towards its trunk. Hunker down, call when you have to, and wait for that wily gobbler to show himself. Amazon price, $20.58.
A Good Cushion
No matter how good my turkey hunting seat or stool may be, I can’t stay still very long without a good cushion on top of it. Hunt Comfort makes some of the best hunting cushions I’ve ever used, combining gel and foam and made by hand in the good ol’ USA. Cost is $59.99.
Turkey Hunting Vest
Turkey hunters need gear, and lots of pockets. Well, we might not need them as much as we want them, but we sure are good at filling them up. For that reason, there’s a multitude of vests out there to help us scratch that itch. At $59.97, the Undertaker vest from Hunters Specialties certainly offers a passel of pockets along with an array of adjustments to keep things properly adjusted.
A Good Mouth Call
Skillful use of a mouth call can be essential in coaxing a sneaky longbeard into range without making unnecessary movement. I’ve never mastered them myself, but I can make some acceptable turkey sounds with them. This $32.99 3-pack from Woodhaven provides a variety of tones to fool even the wisest old tom turkey.
There are times when a gobbler won’t gobble, and you don’t want to try to sound like a turkey because he might just come a-runnin, and you’re not ready. For locating birds without giving them reason to suspect you of foul play, use locater calls to trigger a shock gobble… and the barred owl is a longtime favorite.
My old Knight & Hale owl call is still doing its job, and the modern version runs $20.95.
Shock gobbles are a great way to locate a bird without getting his attention before you’re ready for him. I believe the most effective shock gobble call I’ve used is a crow call, and at $7.07 with Prime shipping, this Knight & Hale is tough to beat.
There are times when a gobbler isn’t looking for love, or else he’s got all the female companionship he can handle and he’s not inclined to come to your sweet hen calls. At times like that, challenging him with a nice loud gobble or two can bring him your way, scrapping for a fight. I took my first longbeard by switching to gobbles when he refused to come to hen yelps, and it’s a lesson I’m not likely to forget.
This shaker call from Primos runs $15.30 and can produce sounds like a jake or an adult gobbler.
Push-Pull Box Call
Many moons ago, I witnessed some incredible results by combining “fighting purrs” from a push-pull box call with a gobble from Dad’s old Lynch box, and it remains a valuable piece of my turkey calling arsenal. I’ve found no other call that can produce loud, aggressive purrs as well as a push-pull caller. It’s also easy to make loud calls that carry through the woods with only one hand, and we all know that the less you move in the turkey woods, the more likely you are to kill a longbeard.
This one from Knight & Hale sells for $24.99 and is likely to outlast you unless you sit on it.
I don’t hunt turkeys with arrows, because it’s tough enough to slay them with firearms! And I try to use the best ammo I can get, which in my case means Winchester Long Beard XR 12 gauge 3 inch shells of number 5 shot. This ammunition has greatly extended the effective range of my 1930s Browning over/under shotgun, and frankly the results amazed me when I thoroughly tested this ammo on the range. For that reason, I hate to hit the turkey woods without it.
At $17.99 per 10 rounds, it’s not cheap, but it’s not the most expensive stuff out there, either. And if I’ve learned anything in my years of shooting at critters, it’s that you sure can’t eat excuses or hang them on the wall.