The amount of gear available for hunting spring gobblers has become mind boggling. Here are five things you don't need.
I'm cheap, I admit it. I just can't stand buying a bunch of stuff I don't need and won't use. Here's some things I've wasted money on over the years. All of these things can help you fill your tag, but I've learned from experience and you definitely don't need them to kill spring gobblers.
1. A ground blind
I've never killed a turkey from a ground blind... and I've killed quite a few turkeys. This is probably due to the fact that I don't spend much time in them. I realize the value of a blind while bowhunting or hunting with youngsters who can't sit still, but something about shooting out of a tent doesn't appeal to me.
Wear full camouflage and learn to sit absolutely still and you can leave your ground blind at home (or in the store) while hunting spring gobblers.
Just about every hunt you see on TV or Youtube shows spring gobblers coming in to a spread of decoys, right? There's a reason for that. Decoys take the focus off the hunter and make for easier filming, but you don't need them.
If you hunt easterns in the woods, like I often do, you can usually set up in a way that limits your visibility to the range of your shotgun. When a turkey appears, shoot him. By using terrain features like benches, ridges, and dense undergrowth, you can keep that gobbler searching for the hen he heard until he's close enough for a shot.
Even in open country, where decoys are at their best, I've had spring gobblers hang up at 75 yards and wait for the fakes to bring the action to them.
3. A fancy firearm
I shot my first turkey with a H&R Topper 20 gauge, a perfectly good turkey killer out to 40 yards. My last dozen turkeys have fallen to an H&R Pardner Pump 12 gauge. None of them worried that the gun, fully equipped for turkey hunting, cost me less than $300.
4. Expensive calls
Is it just me, or have the prices on turkey calls gotten outrageous? All you need are a few good friction calls, a crow call, and some diaphragm calls.
They need not be expensive; the notches on my Quaker Boy Hurricane box call are proof. You just have to know how and when to use them.
5. Stylish hunting clothes
Here's what you need to kill spring gobblers: camouflage pants, shirt, hat, gloves, and facemask. Since most spring gobblers are taken in mild weather conditions and close to camp or home, cotton duds are fine. Most hunters already own the necessary items and, even if you are starting from scratch, they shouldn't cost you more than $60. That's less than a non-resident turkey tag in most states.
I don't break out the rainwear unless it's really pouring, in which case I use a cheap PVC suit I bought for something like $15 at the local Wal-Mart.
Don't let advertisers and the hunting shows that plug them discourage you from getting out and chasing spring gobblers. Armed with a few essentials, a little knowledge, and a lot of patience and persistence, you can be successful this season.