Best Beginner Turkey Hunting Gear | Turkey Gear 101

Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners
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Learn exactly what you need for turkey hunting gear as a beginner so you can get out in the woods and start having success. Over 15 years of trial and error with turkey hunting gear has enabled me to dial in what works. In this post, I share what I believe is the best turkey hunting gear for beginners based on my experience.

You don’t need much gear to get started turkey hunting. A shotgun and some camo will get you started. However, the gear in this post will help increase your odds of success and make you more comfortable in the process.

The Turkey Hunting Essentials

Turkey Hunting Shotgun

You’re definitely going to need a shotgun. For beginners, I would recommend anything between a 20 ga to a 12 ga shotgun. Pump-action shotguns will generally be the lowest price. Personally, I use a Benelli Supernova pump shotgun which is a little bit more expensive than the Nova but, in my opinion, it is worth the money. I’ve been using mine for over 10 years, you can check out the review of my Benelli SuperNova here if you’re interested.

Turkey Hunting with Benelli Supernova

Turkey Hunting Ammo

I suggest getting #6 shells of the heaviest ammo you can find, ideally lead or tungsten. This means you will get a lot of BBs on target with good knockdown energy. Many small heavy BBs are what you’re looking for, it doesn’t matter that they travel at a slower velocity. A slower velocity is better for keeping your pattern tighter at longer distances too. Remember, you’re shooting at the head and neck of the turkey, it doesn’t take much to be lethal so the more BBs you have the better odds one of those BBs will hit lethally. 2-3/4 and 3-inch shells will work just fine but you will have to let turkeys get closer than if you’re using 3.5-inch shells.

Steel #4 would not be ideal because those are lightweight large-diameter bullets, which means fewer BBs per shell with less knockdown power.

Hevi-Shot - Magnum Blend Shotgun Shells for Turkeys

Hunting License

A hunting license is a requirement for hunting turkeys. This doesn’t really count as gear but…don’t forget your hunting license! You can thank me later.

Turkey Hunting Clothes

Turkeys have incredible eyesight, so buying camo clothes would be worth your while. I would recommend head-to-toe camo, especially if you won’t have a ground blind.

Camo Ball-Cap

Ball caps are essential pieces of gear, they provide camouflage, warmth, and protection from the sun, insects, and branches. If you’re hunting in a ground.

Camo Neck Buff/Gaiter Facemask

Buffs are versatile and can be worn in many different ways. I use mine as a facemask and for protection from the sun and insects.  Additionally, turkeys have incredible eyesight, so having a facemask will help you from being detected.

Touchscreen Camo Gloves

Beginners often overlook the importance of gloves because they feel like they don’t need them. However, your hands are the most noticeable part of your body because of their excessive movement. Concealing your hands will go a long way to remain undetected. 

Touchscreen gloves are awesome for turkey hunting because I’m often use my Phone GPS to navigate and take waypoints. I’m also using my phone when the hunting is slow. Having gloves that are touchscreen enabled will keep my gloves on my hands so I’m not moving them as much when taking them on and off to use my phone, thus keeping turkeys from spotting the extra movement.

Camo Moisture-Wicking Long-sleeve

I always wear a lightweight moisture-wicking baselayer because in spring temps can get pretty warm in the afternoon. Being able to wick sweat during the hotter periods of the day will help you stay comfortable and remain in the woods longer.

Camo Polyester Fleece Hoodie

The early mornings can be pretty chilly, I always wear at least a hoodie, and sometimes even a bigger jacket. As the day progresses I can take off what I don’t need. But I’m usually quite comfortable with Rynoskin Total, a long-sleeve shirt, and a hoodie all day. This camo pattern mimics the bark of a tree. It is suggested to break-up your outline when turkey hunting by putting your back against a tree.

Lightweight and Quiet Camo Pants

Lightweight and quiet pants are essential for turkey hunting. You don’t want to be weighed down and make a bunch of clothing noise when turkey hunting. I like these pants because they address all of these concerns and they have some green color in them. I like the green because, in May, vegetation is just started to become green.

These pants will work for hunting out of a hunting blind as well because turkeys won’t be able to see past your waist, so it is okay that they aren’t black like the inside of a hunting blind.

Rubber Turkey Hunting Boots

I am a huge fan of knee-high rubber boots. I wear them all season long. My favorites for turkey hunting are the Lacrosse Grange boots and the GumLeaf Field Wellys. They’re lightweight and comfortable and are great for the mucky spring turkey season. If you want to know more about why I like these boots so much you can check out my YouTube video, both boots are included in the review:

Black Turkey Hunting Clothes For Ground Blind Use

If you’re hunting from a ground blind, I would suggest black clothing to blend into the inside of the ground blind better. You don’t need to wear black from head to toe, just a shirt, facemask, gloves, and a hat.

Turkey Hunting Decoys for Beginners

Although decoy prices range, I suggest buying a good pair that will last and look great over the long term. My dad and I used a decoy called “wrinkled crap” for a few years. It came out of the box deformed, and every year it would become more distorted from packing it away for the season and from the plastic heating and cooling after hunts.

Avoid buying ‘wrinkled crap’ decoys so you don’t end up trying to make it look halfway decent by sticking a bunch of sticks in it in the dark while turkeys are getting out of their roost all around you. I’ve linked some of the better decoys worth the money below.

Different decoy setups are used in different situations to get the gobblers to do what you want. Turkeys are territorial and lustful, you can use decoys to play on these weaknesses. Try to visualize and anticipate what direction gobblers will approach decoys. 

Toms will often hang back from hen decoys 15-20 yards as they get a read on the situation. But they will have less of a problem approaching another male decoy. I often place my hens off to the side of my blind and the male decoys close to where I want to shoot but only about 10 yards away. This makes the gobblers cross in front of me so I often create shots 20 yards and under. My favorite setup is one jake and one hen decoy.

Turkey Hunting Decoy Setups | Positioning Turkey Decoys
Turkey Hunting Decoy Setups

Tom Turkey Hunting Decoy

A tom turkey in strut when placed next to a hen decoy is used to get another dominant tom fired up and aggressive so that he will want to attack the decoy, thus bringing the bird into shooting range. Jakes and less dominant toms will often be scared of a tom decoy so keep that in mind.

Jake Turkey Hunting Decoy

A jake turkey that is semi-puffed up with a hen decoy will make a tom want to put the jake in its place by letting him know who’s boss. This will make the tom want to come in and kick the jake away from the hens so he can have them to himself. Additionally, other jakes will feel comfortable coming to join this jake. Jake decoys can bring in any age male turkey.

Hen Turkey Hunting Decoy

A hen is used as an attractor for toms and jakes. They can be used alone or with other male decoys. When placed with male decoys, a jealously and territorial trigger button will be pushed within male birds making them want to come into the decoys. Often just one or two hen decoys with no male decoys will work well too but won’t trigger as aggressive of an approach. Males will often come in slower but more calmly.

Best Turkey Hunting Calls For Beginners

You don’t need to buy all of these different types of calls. I would suggest just buying one and getting good with it. 

Turkey Hunting Slate Call

I prefer the slate call and use it more than any other call. I feel like I get a very realistic result from them. The slate call is great for soft to medium volumes. Often there is no need to call loud because they will sound unrealistic to turkeys anyway. The downside to this call is it can be tough once turkeys get close because you need to use both hands to use it. I will often use my voice if I need to use my hands.

Turkey Hunting Mouth Call

A mouth call can be beneficial for those who aren’t hunting from a blind. Using a slate call in these situations can get you seen by turkeys because of the movement. A mouth call is the most discrete call.

A mouth call is the most versatile because you can have your hands on your gun and call at the same time. It can produce quiet and loud volumes. I recommend beginners to get mouth calls to practice with but to also have another call at the ready while you’re learning because it can take time to learn.

Turkey Hunting Box Call

A box call is a great tool for locating gobblers that are far away in the distance because the box calls are generally able to produce the loudest yelps of any type of call besides an electronic call. It also can call quietly, but it does not seem to sound as realistic to me when making quiet calls compared to the slate. The clucking and purring is pretty okay, but the slate does better for these quieter calls.

Versatile Turkey Hunting Box Call For Beginners

This is another style of box call and is one that I would recommend for beginners. It is not just a box call, but it also has a built-in second call for purring, clucking, and cutting (see wooden rod). This is a very versatile call and is easy to learn, this is my most highly recommended call for beginner turkey hunters.

Electronic Game Caller With Programmable Turkey Calls

An electronic game call, where legal, can be an awesome piece of turkey hunting gear for a beginner because it takes all of the guesswork out of calling turkeys. These calls come with a function that lets you download new sounds, and download custom sounds so that they can be used for any type of hunting. Pro Tip: You can also strategically place these calls to trick turkeys into shooting range by placing the calls 20 yards or so behind you, drawing turkeys in closer.

Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners (Recommended Gear)

Pop-Up Blind For Turkey Hunting

For whatever reason, turkeys are just not phased by ground blinds. It’s always best practice to conceal them into the environment as much as possible but from what I’ve experienced, you don’t need much. You can also get away with a lot of movement within a blind that you otherwise could not. Although heavy, it’s worth its weight in gold. I’m almost always hunting out of a ground blind.

I highly recommend a ground blind for beginners because it will increase your success by concealing movement, be more comfortable, and keep bugs away. In my experience, new hunters move around way too much without a ground blind. They don’t know that they are moving around too much because they don’t have much experience. A blind will allow new hunters to move around, allowing for a more enjoyable hunt, and without blowing their opportunity at shooting a turkey.

The blind below is the Ameristep Care Taker Ground Blind (100$) which offers enough room for two hunters. It has adjustable shooting windows with removable mesh screening. It’s very easy to put up and to take down. It’s completely blacked-out on the inside, so hunters stay out of sight.

My favorite aspect of this blind is how easy it is to travel with because it comes in a carrying case similar to that of a lawn chair. Also, it’s very easy to set up because it pops-up in sections similar to an umbrella.

Blinds Are Effective Pieces Of Turkey Hunting Gear

The Double Bull one-way see-through blind is also a very cool blind that I’ve used but is much more expensive (400$).

Double Bull Turkey Hunting Blind
Double Bull Turkey Hunting Blind

Ground Blind Chairs For Turkey Hunting

Lawn Chair for Ground Blinds

Lawn chairs are the most affordable and comfortable chairs for ground blinds that I’ve been able to find. They’re so comfortable that when I start to get bored after the morning excitement, I’ll often doze off in hopes to be woken up by a gobble (this has happened many times). This is my recommended chair of choice for beginner turkey hunters.

Another benefit is how easily lawn chairs can be transported. They fold up and can be put into a small bag that you can carry over your shoulder. This is something to consider when you’re carrying a lot of gear to your spot. The downside is they aren’t as maneuverable as some other ground blind chairs, but most are more expensive than lawn chairs.

Adjustable, Swiveling Ground Blind Chair

All turkey hunters will appreciate a fully adjustable and swiveling blind chair. The legs of this chair adjust which allows for a perfectly leveled sit. This is key for maximum comfort. Additionally, the chair swivels 360º so that you can shoot out of any window of a blind easily at the approaching turkeys.  A comfortable chair is key for success because when you’re comfortable you can last longer in the blind.

Rynoskin Total Clothing: Chemical-Free Insect Protection

Ticks and insects are at full-force during spring turkey seasons. I’m a big advocate of Rynoskin Total, I wear it religiously to protect me from mostly ticks but also to help with minimizing mosquito bites and bites from other insects. Because of how bad ticks and other bugs are in Spring, I honestly don’t go turkey hunting or in the woods unless I’m wearing the stuff.

I don’t like spraying myself with harmful chemicals. Rynoskin Total is a chemical-free breathable baselayer that helps prevent bugs from penetrating the tight mesh. But make sure you read my full review before you buy it because I developed a regimen that I follow to help maximize the effectiveness of the gear. You can check the price on Amazon.

Rynoskin and Rynoskin Total
Original Rynoskin (camo) & Rynosking Total (Black and Green)

Binoculars For Turkey Hunting

I did a YouTube video on the 14 best value binoculars for hunters. I bought these binoculars and field-tested and compared them all. To sum the video up, I found that the Athlon Midas binoculars were the best for the money. They would make excellent turkey hunting binoculars.

Some of the hunting binoculars tested in this review
Some of the hunting binoculars tested in my YouTube review

Binocular Harness

A binocular harness wraps around the torso and keeps the binoculars at chest level so hunters can be hands-free when hunting. When turkey hunters need their binoculars, they will be able to get to them quickly and effortlessly. Binoculars are only needed periodically, but quick access can make a difference between identifying a gobbler in time to get a shot off or not before he disappears. Being able to store binoculars in an easily accessible place makes the process seamless when they are needed.


Rangefinders are very versatile and can be used for much more than just turkey hunting. However, they are one of the best pieces of gear a turkey hunter can own whether a beginner or not. It can be very hard to judge the distance of a turkey, especially in a big field with no depth perception. A rangefinder is a staple in my turkey hunting arsenal.

This Vortex rangefinder below has excellent reviews. Vortex is a leading manufacturer of high-quality glass (binoculars, spotting scopes, rangefinders) and has unbeatable lifetime warranties. I also created an article on the best rangefinders so you can check that out if you want help narrowing down options.

Turkey Locator Call – Crow Call

When turkeys just don’t seem to be cooperating and you can’t get one to gobble, a crow call can sometimes get a turkey to ‘shock-gobble’. This can be a game-changer for a particular hunt. This isn’t an item that a lot of turkey hunters would think of because it isn’t used often but it’s one of those items that can pay off when it’s needed and is nice to have when hunting. As a beginner turkey hunter, this wouldn’t be my first purchase but it’s a good tool to keep in mind.

Choke Tubes

Choke tubs are an important tool when turkey hunting to maximize a shotgun’s range. When turkey hunting it is best to use a full or extra full choke, I normally use a full choke. This keeps your pellet pattern tight for long-range shots.

However, when your shotgun is shooting very tight patterns you need to make sure it is accurate at close range because it’s much easier to miss a target a close range if your pattern is very tight. A lot of turkey hunters use sights (red dots, scopes) on their shotguns to sight in their shotgun so their pattern is centered at close and long range.

Turkey hunting choke tubes are screwed into shotgun barrels to increase shot-pattern density for longer and more lethal shots on turkeys.

Seat Cushion

If you’re not going to be hunting from a blind you’re going to want something comfy to sit on or you’ll be moving around way too much. I suggest something with padding for your butt and your back otherwise you’ll get sore faster. Some turkey hunting vests have this as a built-in feature.

Turkey Hunting Vest

The turkey hunting vest may be the most important peice of gear other than your shotgun, lciense, and ammo. You’ll be carrying a lot of gear. For example; shells, calls, sandwiches, water, bug spray, turkey decoy attachments, and other odds and ends. It’s very helpful for getting from Point A to Point B while keeping your hands as free as possible. I always wear my vest or at least bring it with me so that I know I have everything I need when I’m out hunting. Having a lot of pockets is key, I also like having a lot of inside pockets. Try to get one that has back and seat cushions built-in so you don’t have to make a separate purchase.

Sitka Tool Belt

The Sitka Tool Belt is a helpful waist pack for turkey hunters especially if they prefer not to to wear a turkey vest. I did a hands-on review of the Sitka Tool Belt and the biggest takeaway is how well laid out it is for organization and accessibility. I would recommend the green camo version for spring turkey hunting because it will blend in better.

Sitka has also come out with the Turkey Tool Belt, designed specifically for turkey hunting. It has dedicated pockets specifically for turkey hunting gear. If it’s anything like the regular Sitka Tool Belt it will be a well-thought-out product but I have not got my hands on that model.

Hunting Gear That Fits Into Sitka Tool Belt

Final Thoughts

The best turkey hunting gear for beginners will be different depending on the individual, based on how you want to hunt turkeys (stalking, hunting from a blind, still hunting…etc). But to get out there and have a successful turkey hunt, you don’t need much. In fact, the less you have often challenges you to think critically and develop your turkey hunting and woodsmanship skills. That being said, spending a little money on gear can make for a more relaxed and comfortable hunt, so it is all about how you want to design your hunt.

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Article Written By: Jason Tome

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