April 30, 2018
For bowhunting turkeys, some gear choices don't really matter. Bows, arrows, binos, etc... are all pretty much in the same category for gobblers. After all, it's not like you need a specific arrow to skewer a 23-pound bird.
There are, however, some essentials that make bowhunting turkeys much more enjoyable — and successful. We've already covered the best blinds on the market for this season, so you won't find any hides on this list. What you will find are several must-haves in order to wring the most out of your sunrise time in the woods and on the edges of fields.
Muzzy Titanium Trocar HB-Ti
If you never thought you'd see a Muzzy broadhead with moving blades, you're not alone. I didn't think we'd see it, but here we are with the Titanium Trocar HB-Ti. These 100-grain heads are crazy durable due to the titanium ferrule and stainless steel blades. Each HB-Ti is outfitted with a pair of .039-inch wing blades (1 5/8-inch cutting diameter) and a .050-inch thick fixed blade. Together, they create the kind of wound channels that are perfect for turkeys. I was lucky enough to run one through a lovesick longbeard on public land in Nebraska earlier this month and the damage was impressive.
Lumenok Combo Pack
Lighted nocks may not seem like a necessity for turkeys, but hear me out. Turkeys are stupid tough and their vitals are small. A marginal hit on a turkey means you've got to plan out your recovery accordingly, and unfortunately, it's often hard to tell what hits are marginal and what hits are near-perfect. To differentiate between the two, Lumenoks are the way to go. Their new Combo Pack comes with four Lumenoks, two spare batteries and an arrow puller. This is the best way to fill your quiver up with lighted nocks so you can see just where you whack a strutter.
Flextone Game Calls Thunder Shaker Gobble
There are certain times when toms hang up for whatever reason, and no matter how many yelps and clucks you throw their way, they won't budge. Not all of those birds will commit to a gobble, but some will. To me a gobble is a last resort, but it can be deadly when birds are hesitant to commit to your spread. Every hunter should have a Shaker Gobble from Flextone in their blind and should know when to use it. Gobbling is also a very effective way to get roosted birds to sound off, which is an added bonus.
Avian-X Trophy Tom
Lightweight and portable aren't adjectives used very often to describer strutter decoys, but they are appropriate with Avian-X's latest. Their Trophy Tom is created with a one-piece design and a true-to-life paint job. Add a fan and a beard from one of your previous trophies and utilize the included collapsible mounting stake to prop this sucker up in front of your blind. At the season's end, the Trophy Tom can be used as a display on your wall — especially if you don't have the space or the disposable income to spring for a full-strut mount.
Thermacells are a game changer. I use them for fishing, summertime deer glassing sessions, bear- and deer-hunting, and of course for turkey season. Here in my home state of Minnesota, the back-half of the turkey season is always a buggy mess and almost unbearable without a Thermacell. This year I'm using the MR300, which is built with a quiet ignition, a redesigned on/off switch, an accessory mounting system and a reengineered grill for optimized performance. If you live anywhere where mosquitoes are an issue, buy one of these. You will be very, very happy that you did.
MTN OPS Ignite
MTN OPS has quickly become one of my favorite companies. I use their products every day for workouts and overall health, and am hopelessly addicted to their Ignite. This may seem like a weird must-have for turkey hunting, but if you spend a dark-to-dark sit in a turkey blind, you know that staying awake and alert is a challenge. Mix a scoop of Ignite into a bottle of water and you'll experience crash-free, sustained energy, mental clarity and improved cognitive function. I use Ignite at about 2 pm, when I'm tired, stir crazy and considering calling it quits. If you work out, hunt all day, or simply want to feel better in your day-to-day life, check out MTN OPS. Their offerings are unreal.
Dave Smith Decoys Mating Motion Pair
DSDs aren't cheap, but they're worth every penny. Beside hub-style blinds, the next most important invention in a turkey bowhunter's life is top-end decoys. There is nothing that makes a hunt more exciting and successful than top-quality dekes. Dave's latest, the Mating Motion Pair, is so good it should probably be illegal. Not only do you get a jake and hen who are locked in the ancient embrace of love, the system comes with a motion stake and ground stake so you can sell the ruse and really draw the attention of jealous gobblers. Anyone looking to bring birds in close and put them in a trance should drop the coin on the Mating Motion Pair. You won't need any other decoys.