Turkey Hunting for New Hunters, Friends, and Family
It’s spring across the country, and that means one thing to most people in the outdoors community: turkey hunting. Like the spring weather, turkey season comes and goes pretty quickly. So it’s a downright shame if you miss even a moment of it. Hunting is much more than just another hobby or a way to spend time away from work. It is truly a lifestyle and a way to experience the outdoor world in a different and very meaningful way. By becoming not just an observer, but also an active participant in the natural world, we can learn so much more and celebrate it. In many ways, turkey hunting is a great way to spend time with others in the outdoors. It’s also a challenging but rewarding activity for new hunters. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of hunting, there’s something for everybody when it comes to turkey hunting.
Hunting Turkeys as a Group
There’s something to be said about the solitude of turkey hunting on your own. And while many people do hunt turkeys solo, it’s also very easy to hunt turkeys as a group activity. Whether you have children you’d like to bring with you to make memories, lifelong hunting buddies you want at your side, or an aging parent who still wants to experience the thrill of a turkey gobble on a still morning, you can easily hunt as a pair or small group. To be honest, this is where the camaraderie of hunting comes in, and it’s so important. When you can share a hunting memory with someone else and gather around a big tom at the end of a hunt to recount the story, it makes the whole experience even more special. This is one of the biggest reasons many people hunt. So if you get a chance to share a hunt with a friend or loved one, take advantage of it any time you can.
Thankfully, in most parts of the country, turkeys aren’t super wary of or concerned with ground blinds. You can set one up on a given morning, and pull turkeys to within 15 yards of your setup. This makes it ideal to hunt with other people. Hunting from a turkey blind offers several advantages, especially when you have more than one person in the mix.
- If the natural cover (e.g., native vegetation, trees, shrubs, grasses) is lacking in a prime ambush spot, you can set up a blind to use as your cover. No more worrying about how you’re going to fool a tom in a bare area.
- When you’re concealed in a ground blind, you can get away with a lot more movement. For example, you might need to use different turkey calls, position your shotgun differently, or film the hunt, which would all be very hard (if not impossible) if you were just leaning up against a tree. This is extremely important if you’re bringing kids along, as it’s hard for kids to sit still too long. After a while, they tend to fidget and forget they need to be ready at any time. Having a ground blind allows them to still make small movements without compromising your hunt.
- By hunting in a turkey blind, you can communicate with your hunting partner much easier than if you were out in the open. Sure, you still need to be quiet, but it can muffle your voice enough to whisper some simple sentences back and forth.
Turkey Hunting for New Hunters
For a new hunter – whether new to turkey hunting or the entire concept of hunting for your dinner – it can be intimidating to hunt turkeys. It may feel like you need to learn many skills (e.g., calling turkeys) or need access to premium private hunting land, but those just aren’t true. You can get started hunting turkeys as a new hunter with very little equipment or skills. The more you do it, the more you will learn and improve, and the better turkey hunter you will become. It just takes time and practice. And across the country, you should be able to find some good public land areas where you could hunt turkeys. There might be a little more competition for them, but you definitely don’t need to have your own private hunting lease to hunt turkeys. Consider getting a bike and heading further off the beaten path than others might be willing to go. Here are some reasons why turkey hunting is so accessible and a great pathway for new hunters.
First, turkey hunting is very exciting. Not always, of course – there are moments of no action when the birds aren’t being responsive, because that’s just nature sometimes. But when you hear a tom gobbling from across a field and you can get into a game of cat and mouse by calling back and forth with it, that’s a very addicting feeling. In fact, it’s hard to even put into words how thrilling it is to hear a thunderous gobble in response to a sound you made until you’ve experienced it firsthand. And once you do, it’s almost impossible to not become hooked. Because toms are so vocal during their spring breeding season and often respond readily to your turkey calls, turkey hunting can be very interactive and engaging. That’s important for a lot of new hunters, as they may not have the patience to wait long periods until they’ve experienced the thrill of having a tom come running into shooting range, strutting like he’s putting on a show for you.
In addition, you can learn a lot about hunting in general by being a turkey hunter. Turkey hunting can teach you how to handle a shotgun safely, scout for animals (i.e., turkey tracks, scat, feathers), track their movements, position yourself in an ambush spot, call to and interact with wild animals, and ultimately, take your first shot at a wild animal. If you’re lucky enough to get a bird, processing a turkey is also a very approachable thing for new hunters. If a new hunter were to suddenly have to gut and process a whole deer by themselves, it’s a big lift. But a turkey is much smaller and easier to butcher, whether you choose to pluck the whole bird or just take the breast meat and legs. For that same reason, it’s also easier to prepare and cook a wild turkey than the multiple cuts from a larger animal.
No matter where or what experience level you’re starting from, turkey hunting is a very approachable hunting activity. And after you’ve had a close encounter with a fired-up tom, we challenge you to not be excited to your core.