John's Journal...

A Successful Turkey Hunterís Checklist

Even the Best Hunter Needs a Checklist

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I've hunted turkeys for more than 30 years. I consider myself somewhat of an expert, not because I know all about turkey hunting, but because I've made every mistake a hunter can make at least twice. Click to enlargeWhile turkey hunting, I've learned first-hand what won't work, and what equipment you must have for success afield. This week, I’ll share my checklist with you and discuss why each item is essential to take make my hunt much-more successful and comfortable. I keep all my equipment packed in my turkey vest and my hunting pack throughout the season, adding and subtracting items as I use them. Then I know I'm ready to attack the day more confidently when I hear that first gobbler talk to the tall timbers at the christening of a new day. Turkey hunting continues through May in more than 30 states and 2 Canadian provinces, and Maine has turkey hunting through the first week of June. If you don’t already take this gear with you into the field, add it now.

"You're not going to believe this one," my buddy, Nathan Connell, told me. "I was guiding this fellow on a turkey hunt one morning. We'd worked hard trying to find a gobbler that would talk. Finally at 10:00 am we located an ole longbeard that was screaming. Every time I called to the bird, he would double or triple gobble.    

"We quickly moved to an opening where I thought I could call the gobbler right to my hunter. Just before we sat down, I told him to go ahead and load his gun but Click to enlargeto be really quiet and not let his breech slam shut. He patted his pockets with his free hand before looking at me with the goofiest look I've ever seen on a hunter's face and said, 'I forgot my shells.' WhenClick to enlarge I told him, 'Let's get out of here,' we quickly and quietly moved about 200-yards away from the gobbler before I told my hunter to sit still. I went back to the lodge to get him some shells and then returned to ask him what had happened while I was gone.    

"My hunter said, 'The gobbler kept calling until he got to the spot where we were calling from. Then he just shut-up. I haven't heard him in about 15 minutes.' In my heart, I knew we could have killed that gobbler, if my hunter hadn't forgotten his shells. If I could develop a checklist for the equipment a turkey hunter needed for success, first I'd be certain that the hunter and his hunting partner had shells before they went hunting. Without shells, even if you call a bird in, you won't have a successful hunt."

Tomorrow: Equipment for the Shot

Check back each day this week for more about "A Successful Turkey Hunterís Checklist"

Day 1: Even the Best Hunter Needs a Checklist
Day 2: Equipment for the Shot
Day 3: What You Need to Stay Comfortable
Day 4: Tools of the Trade
Day 5: How to Keep Your Equipment Organized


Entry 509, Day 1