Advice for a First-Time Turkey Hunter
A million thoughts go through my mind as I read a message in the inbox, "What advice would I have for a first-time lady turkey hunter?” I could reply with a lot of questions to narrow down what she is specifically requesting, or I can share my personal opinions. The latter is exactly what I’ve done in hopes that it will help more than the one woman who’s interested in hunting big-bearded gobblers.
My advice to a first-time turkey hunter
First and Foremost — Safety
I HIGHLY recommend taking a hunter safety course whether it’s required in your state or not. You can visit your local department of fish and game to find out where a course may be held or you can take online courses such as the ones offered by hunter-ed.com. Safety is the single most important thing in all hunting. Familiarize yourself with it. Learn it. Know it. Go back and refresh yourself with it.
Rules and Regulations
Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations. Know your season dates. Know whether you are able to shoot one bird, a tom or a hen, etc. You need to know what areas you’re allowed to hunt. Find out what methods you’re allowed to use in taking your first turkey. To find this information, visit your local game and fish office.
Method of Take
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 National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and other organizations where you may learn and try shooting various guns or bows.
Scout an Area to Hunt
Being a hunting guide, I spend hours, days, weeks, months… No, wait all year, looking for turkeys and learning where they live. Learn the habitat they like, their routines and migration patterns.
Learn to Call
Turkey hunting is on the top of my list of game to pursue. If you ask me why I’ll tell you it is because calling in a strutting tom is nearly as exciting as calling in a bull elk. (Note I said “nearly”). Regardless, you need to learn to call the turkey to entice him within shooting range. Read Learning the Art of Calling Turkeys, and search for YouTube video examples of turkey calling. Next, practice, practice, practice. Learning to call is an art and takes years to master.
Depending on the area of the country in which you live, you may hunt from a blind, brush or you might spot and stalk a turkey. In our area, it is not legal to hunt over bait. We also have a big country, so if you want to find a gobbling red-head, spot and stalk come into play. Again, check the laws in the area where you’ll be hunting as spot and stalk is not legal everywhere.
Attain Appropriate Gear
It’s helpful to make a checklist and at the top of mine is always my hunting license, gun or bow, and ammunition or arrows, As far as clothing, my best advice to ladies is to purchase quality hunting gear. Durability and function are at the top of my hunting clothes list. 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 you to slide through the brush without making a sound. Add good boots, gloves, and hat to this list and you’re golden.
There are many other items you’ll eventually want to acquire for turkey hunting. There are thousands of calls, vests, decoys, face masks, blinds, and rests. These are just six quick, basic tips off the top of my head. Another tip is to hunt with a mentor and always be ready to learn. Just when I think I know everything, that dubious tom switches it up and reminds me that I’m always learning. Good luck, be safe and have fun. ~ Mia
What’s in the Turkey Hunting Pack video:
Check it out HERE.
Mia is a hunting guide based in southwest Colorado, where she grew up in the mountains along the San Juan River. She is a freelance writer, podcast host, commentator, public speaker, and hunter ed, archery, and firearms instructor who shares the real outdoors to inspire others to embrace it. To learn more about Mia CLICK HERE.