Of course a million thoughts went through my head as I read the request. I could reply with a lot of questions to narrow down what she was specifically she was requesting, or I could share my personal opinions.
My advice to a first-time turkey hunter.
First and foremost:
- Safety! Do you have your hunters education certificate or card? Is it required in your state? If it is or isn’t, I HIGHLY recommend taking a course. You can visit your local department of fish and game to find out where a course may be held or you can take on-line courses such as the ones offered by huntersed.com. Safety is the single most important thing in not only turkey hunting, but all hunting. Familiarize your self with it. Learn in. Know it. Go back and refresh yourself with it.
- Rules and Regulations – You need to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations. Know your season dates. Know whether you are able to harvest a single bird, a tom or a hen, etc. You need to know what areas you are allowed to hunt in. You need to know what methods you are legally allowed to use in taking your first turkey. To find this information, visit your local division of wildlife office. The Colorado division is on-line at http://wildlife.state.co.us/.
- Choose what method you will use to take your turkey. If you have been shooting or hunting before, this may be fairly simple for you. If you haven’t been shooting, there are ladies courses offered around the country through the NWTF and other organizations where you may try shooting various guns or bows. Read about a local ladies shoot here: Shooting Fun with Women
- Scout an area to hunt. Being a guide, I spend hours, days, weeks, months… No wait all year, looking for turkeys and where they live. Learn their habitat, routines and migration patterns.
- Learn to call. This includes attaining calls and decoys. Turkey hunting is on the top of my list and when I am asked why, I will tell you it is because calling in a strutting tom is nearly as exciting as calling in a bull elk. (Note I said “nearly”). Depending on the area of the country you live in, you may hunt from a blind, brush or you may spot and stalk a turkey. In our area it is not legal to hunt over bait. The most exciting way, in my opinion, is to call a tom in to you. Here as the season gets later and the toms cool down and don’t come in as easily to calls. This is when a spot and stalk may be necessary. Learning to call is an art and takes years to master.
- Attain appropriate gear. My best advice to ladies is to purchase Prois hunting gear. It is not at all about looking cute in the field. It is all about durability and function. When I am hiking to a hunting area I want to be as quick, silent and stealth as possible. Great gear that is not bulky will allow me to slide through the brush without making a sound. Prois gear fits a ladies curves and has hip pockets, thigh pockets, back pockets, front pockets and then some. For someone just starting out this means you have someplace to store your many calls until you decide you are in love with turkey hunting and need a hunting vest. I have used Prois since it came out and I HIGHLY recommend it. It comes in various models and depending when your hunting season is they have Extreme gear for colder temperatures to lighter gear for warmer climates. In my recommendation, gear is not about fashion. It is about durability and functionality. Prois fits both. It is truly gear for the serious huntress.
There are many other items you will eventually want to acquire for turkey hunting. There are thousands of calls, decoys, blinds, rests and stands. These are just six quick tips off the top of my head that are the basics. The other would be come hunt with me!!! Not that I know it all, but I know a lot. Just when I think I know everything, that dubious tom switches it up and reminds me that I’m always learning. Turkey hunting is a lot of fun and I would enjoy sharing your first with you.
It’s always an adventure!
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