Struttin’ into turkey season well equipped

Published 8:09 am Tuesday, March 5, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Spring turkey season is now 10 days away for adults and three days away for youth, 15 and younger. Now is the time to ensure you are well equipped for turkey season. 

Be sure you have your hunting license before you hunt turkeys. Public land hunters need a WMA permit to hunt on Wildlife Management Areas in Mississippi. Check the rules and regulations for such WMA’s to make sure you do not hunt on dates designated for draw only. 

It does not matter what camouflage you wear between Mossy Oak, Real Tree or Sitka. What is important is that you wear camouflage, especially gloves and a mask to break up your outline. Turkeys have excellent color vision and pick up on movement well. Union Church native Cliff Covington once said if turkeys could smell no one would ever kill one because of how strong their vision is.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Always check the weather and dress accordingly. Rain pants are useful and so are a good pair of boots which will keep your feet dry. It is helpful to have some gear for cold mornings as spring weather can fluctuate. It will be hard to kill a turkey if you are shivering. 

Phone service is not always dependable, especially on public land. It is good to have a mapping application on your phone to help you navigate in the woods. OnX, HuntStand and others are useful tools. 

Mosquitos are a nuisance so carry a thermacell or wear bug spray to keep the pests away. It is recommended to check yourself for ticks after spending time in the woods. 

Find a Vest

New turkey hunters may want to invest in a turkey vest if they do not already have one. A vest with a comfortable cushion seat is best. Turkey hunts can require a hunter to sit in uncomfortable spots for hours waiting on a bird. A good vest also helps you take a nap comfortably against a tree. 

Some hunters like for vests to be light so they can move quickly and quietly. Other hunters prefer ample storage for decoys, wings, calls, binoculars, water and snacks. 

Vests are used to carry plenty of gear you may need in the woods. 

It is legal to use decoys to hunt turkeys in Mississippi just remember to be careful where you sit when using a decoy. Other hunters could mistake it as a real bird. A simple hen and stake decoy is the only decoy found in this writer’s vest and seldom gets used. 

When it comes to calls there are plenty of options. Push button calls are easy to operate, box calls are easy to learn, slate calls are a little more technical to learn but the sound carries further, mouth calls allow your hands to be free and trumpet calls are for hunters looking for a challenge. Hunters can run water between their mouth call reeds and place them in the freezer to maintain them. 

A wing off of a turkey can easily fit in your turkey vest and can be used to mimic a hen flying down off the roost in the morning. While a fly down cackle is a little tricky, the wing is a good tool to have when hunting. 

Binoculars are good to identify turkey-like shapes from a distance, look around open areas, glass possible strutting zones for turkeys and to see what is ahead. On the topic of being able to see, a good flashlight and headlamp is always nice for navigating the woods early in the morning. 

Water and snacks help fuel the day. It is important to stay hydrated. At the same time, it is smart to carry some tissues in case nature calls. White oak and sycamore leaves do make good substitutes if you are in a tough spot. 

Bring your firepower

A majority of turkey hunters will take to the woods with a shotgun in hand. If you are new to turkey hunting, it is best to use a shotgun with a full choke, which produces a tighter pattern. While red dot sights certainly can help hunters, they are not a necessity. 

Hunters should make sure the gun they are carrying in the woods is comfortable. Many times a gun will have to be on your knee ready to shoot when a tom closes the final distance until he is in range. It helps to have something light if you are a hunter looking to cover a lot of ground as well. 

There are a lot of different options for turkey ammunition. While TSS has a further lethal range some older guns may not be able to handle TSS. Do your research before buying turkey loads to find the best fit for you and your style of hunting. If a bird is at 30 yards or closer it doesn’t matter if you shoot lead or TSS. Be sure to test your shotgun shell pattern at home before pulling the trigger this spring. 

Share your story

Turkey hunting can take a lot of time, sweat and energy to finally get a bird on the ground. Each turkey hunt is different and likely has a good story to it, even the ones where the bird got away. 

Whether you are able to drop a turkey or get skunked this turkey season we would love to hear your stories. There is no better time to experience the outdoors than March 15 to May 1. 

Hunters who are passionate about turkeys and love the birds will tell you the stories do not end with the final day of turkey season. 

If you are working on habitat management to help turkeys we would be happy to share your efforts in conservation. 

Email with stories and pictures to be featured in The Daily Leader this turkey season.