Jake Hindman is a seasoned HS Field Staffer and has a wealth of turkey hunting experience.
The first warm days in January (albeit there have been less of them this winter) always spark my turkey hunting spirits. Some southern states will be opening up their turkey season in two months or less. Are you ready? Here’s a pre-season plan to knock out now so you’re not caught off guard during season.
Check out new products
The beginning of the year marks a new product year for manufacturers. Usually in January and February, new turkey products are rolled out. HS has you covered this year with a number of new products here.
Attend an NWTF banquet
National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) banquets are a great way to brush off the dust and talk turkey hunting strategy with friends. Find a banquet near you at http://www.nwtf.org/events.
Pattern your shotgun
Make sure your shotgun is clean and is in good working condition. Pick up a box or two of turkey hunting loads and hit the range, you’ll be more confident when that bird presents himself for a shot during season. If you’re an archery hunter, do the same with your bow.
Read up on the rules
Most turkey hunting regulations for states are out now. Check with your local game and fish agency for a copy.
Locate property to hunt
If you have a place to hunt, verify you can still hunt there. Contact friends and family for possible locations. Don’t ignore public opportunities either. Many states have excellent public hunting as well as walk-in hunting areas in cooperation with landowners.
Carve out scouting time Once you have property located/confirmed, spend time scouting. Leading up to the season, glass fields with binoculars and use a locator call on calm mornings to take inventory of birds gobbling and their roosting location. This may change come opening day, but you’ll have a place to start.
I’m not suggesting you drive your spouse or kids crazy (it’s fun to have them practice with you), but now is the time to practice with mouth diaphragms and other calls so you’ll be proficient. Concentrate on mastering the yelp and cluck. Seek videos and YouTube for a wealth of information on calling how-to.
Pack your gear
Your vest might have dirt and feathers from last year - go through your gear and make sure you are stocked up on all the necessary items.
For turkey hunters, spring takes the crown. Stretch your season and fun with a thought-out pre-season plan.