One of the items that I set out to do in my spring wish list was a DIY turkey hunt. Early on when I first got my bow, I had gone to South Dakota on a guided trip only to have dismal results. Now this time, with more practice and a few critters under my belt I feel I have the confidence to try this again.
So what’s required for a DIY turkey hunt? Many women I know that want to get into hunting struggle to know where to start or to take the initiative to find their own gear and prep themselves. Trust me, I’m guilty of this too. I’ve been there and done that, it’s easy to rely on your spouse or partner to have all the gear prepped and packed and location scouted out. But it’s far more rewarding if you’ve gone through the preparation and planning yourself to truly understand how much work it is for a hunt to come together when you are both guide and hunter. So here is my list of must-haves if you are heading out turkey hunting this spring:
Turkeys can be extremely elusive and require the same amount of concealment if you were doing a spot and stalk on an elk. Camo will conceal you and keep you dry and comfortable in the field. I suggest trying Prois gear or Cabela’s turkey camo for women.
Shield your movements in a portable blind or create an impromptu natural block using pruning shears. A blind gives you, or your hunting partner, wiggle room in situations where you’ve got to be motionless and there isn’t much cover.
Not all head masks are created equal. Find one that fits you and your purpose, whether you have glasses, use mouth calls, or have a tendency to get hot, it has to fit properly to do the job and make you want to use it all day long.
Binoculars are always useful, always. Even more useful when you have your own and aren’t asking to borrow to see the turkey every 5 minutes- been there, done that…. Range finders are also a must if you are hunting a spot and stalk situation where you might not know your distances as you would if you are sitting at a blind with decoys.
Oh jeez, this is where I struggle. The calling part- I can’t run a mouth call to save my life. Practice makes perfect they say, and I’ve got a long way to go. Friction calls are much easier, but they also need practice and it’s handy to have a partner that can assist with this one if you are still calling in the turkey and need to shoot. If you are looking for calls and are unsure just ask for help at your local outdoor/ hunting store and they will be able to give you some guidance.
Always spring clean your gear and make sure you have a safety “system” stored in your pack at all times. Don’t forget to take a small first-aid kit, compass or GPS, maps, firestarter and headlamp or flashlight.
I know if I’m warm and comfortable, the longer I want to be out hunting. Some items to consider; folding seats (with back support), cushions (if in a blind), ThermaCELL (I swear by this even for your deck in the summer) insect repellent, a extra pair of socks and raingear can make or break the day.
And of course don’t forget that you need all the proper approvals, permits and tags depending on where you are hunting! Be safe and have fun!