Imprison Yourself: The Essential Turkey Hunting Gear
March 09, 2012
I'm not the first to admit it, but I am emphatic -- I don't really like turkey hunting with a bow. I just feel that wild turkeys were designed with bright red heads; long, relatively frail necks; and a tendency to hang up at 40 yards all for the express purpose of being shot with a load of 5s from a scattergun. That being said, I am warming up to bowhunting turkeys, now that I've figured out ways to make sitting in a pop-up blind bearable. The tiny, camouflage prison cell has been the bane of my turkey hunting experience, largely because I can't stand listening to a bird gobble his head off and not be able to move into a better position.
Portability is not impossible when bowhunting turkeys, but it's a pain. And I know there are those diehard types who forgo blinds, don ghillie suits and kill birds, but I'm not writing about those five guys. The rest of us are better off surrounded by four walls and a roof during our spring forays.
So how do you maximize success while bowhunting turkeys? For me, it starts with scouting. Although they seem to wander like crazy in search of amorous encounters, longbeards can also be easy to pattern. Erecting your blind in the right spot is a must, and a few mornings spent listening to gobbling along with afternoon glassing expeditions can help you nail down a high-odds spot.
Whether bowhunting turkeys is one of your passions or perhaps a way to scratch the bowhunting itch in the spring (or fall), these products will help make your experience much more enjoyable.
The Switch Ground Blind
Another company that produces a litany of quality blinds is Ameristep
. I've been using one of their Tom Taker blinds for years and am truly excited about their latest offering, The Switch Ground Blind ($299). The Switch allows you to adjust the blind height from 60" to a full 88", which will accommodate standing bowshots. The Switch weighs 25 lbs., features a versatile window/shooting port system, and is compatible with several different Realtree camouflage shells for ultimate customization.
also makes calls and their Haint ($50) gobble call promises to change the way we turkey hunt. The Haint call produces a loud, resonating gobble meant to challenge dominant longbeards. Combining this call with a full strut tom decoy is a great way to weed out jakes and two-year-olds to concentrate on boss birds.
I like to combine a quality pot call with a diaphragm call to simulate two different hens calling at the same time. Flextone's
double-reed Dirty Mouth ($7) is the perfect call for just such a one-two punch. Both of the Dirty Mouth's reeds have dual splits on each end to produce clear yelps, clucks, cutts and purrs.
G5 Outdoors Havoc
Another broadhead that will prove bad medicine for big gobblers is G5 Outdoors'
new Havoc ($48). First and foremost, the Havoc boasts German Lutz Blades, which are the sharpest blades on the market. The Havoc features the new Posi-Lock blade retention system and Balanced Blade Deployment for perfect performance. Available in 100 and 125 grains, the Havoc offers a cutting diameter of over 2".
Mathews Monster Pro
also has their hand in the blind business with their Mathews Monster Pro ($499). The Mathews Monster Pro features 22 windows for maximum shooting opportunity and the option of 360-degree visibility, a removable floor system, gear storage cargo pockets with silent hooks, and an interior that is fully sealed with adjustable ShadowBlocker material. Weighing in at 24 lbs., the Monster Pro measures 64" X 64" X 72" tall.
Heads Up Decoy Tom Turkey
Once you've got your blind set up and ready to go, it's time to consider another integral part of bowhunting turkeys -- decoys. The Heads Up Decoy Tom Turkey ($30) from Smoky Hill Hunting Products
is a versatile choice whether you sit in a blind or want to stalk a hung-up gobbler. Each decoy is packable, realistic-looking and quiet, and when paired with a real turkey fan (not included), much easier to tote around than a full-bodied tom decoy.
Huntmore 360 Chair
Another blind chair that makes sitting all day much easier is the latest incarnation of the Huntmore
360 Chair ($219), which just keeps getting better. This highly adjustable, dead quiet chair features one of the best options a blind chair can have -- adjustable lumbar back support. The Huntmore 360 weighs 11.5 lbs., sports a large bottom seat pad (19"x 19"x19"), and is fully collapsible for easy transport.
One particular company that produces a few of those calls is Knight & Hale
. Their Metal Yell ($35) is designed with an aluminum pot and aluminum striking surface, a combo that allows for calls ranging from soft purring to aggressive and loud yelps.
If shooting turkeys through the body isn't your thing, try out the Magnus Bullhead
($40/3 pack) in either 100 or 125 grains. Bullheads are razor sharp and designed to relieve unsuspecting gobblers of their heads. These highly effective broadheads greatly reduce the loss rate of wounded birds. For 2012 Magnus is also offering Bullhead Kits ($50), which contain two Bullheads and two Victory VForce arrows.
Primos Double Bull Double-Wide Door Blind
Of course, you'll need a blind to set up. This category has blown up ever since the Double Bull boys took their idea to fruition and changed the way we think of turkey hunting in general. Their company ended up in the hands of Primos Hunting
, and the new Primos Double Bull Double-Wide Door Blind ($399) is a great option. This blind allows for easy entry through its oversized, zipper-less door and measures 60" X 60" X 67" tall. A Silent Slide Window Adjustment System, Power Hub Framework, and Cotton/Poly canvas framework culminate in a durable blind that will last for years, and if it doesn't, don't fret -- Primos Double Bull Blinds also feature a lifetime warranty that covers quality and service.
Rage Turkey Broadheads
To up your odds of a quick kill it's important to select a broadhead with as much cutting surface as possible. Fortunately, that choice has never been easier. For starters, Rage Broadheads
has entered the fray with their Turkey Broadheads (2-Blade/$45; 3-Blade/$45). Designed specifically to waylay gobblers, the 2-Blade Turkey Broadhead features a 2.25" cutting diameter while the 3-Blade has a 1.75" cut. Blades on both heads lock into place with the new ShockLock blade-retention system until the moment of impact.
Easily one of the most overlooked aspects of blind hunting from sunrise to sunset is your seat. Fortunately, the folks at S4Gear
offer the Freestyle720 ($140). The Freestyle720's tripod design, coupled with its large footprint, allows users to silently move into position to shoot through any port. Combine the Freestyle720 with the Chair Back ($50) and you've got one of the most mobile and comfortable blind chairs on the market. Just make sure to stake the chair down or you might end up with a mouthful of dirt, trust me.
If you're in the market for a hen decoy, check out The Temptress ($24) from HS Strut Decoys by Delta
. The Temptress is easily packable due to its flexible polyethylene construction and will fool the wariest of longbeards with its hand-painted detail and taxidermy-quality eyes.