Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners | 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.

This post will cover 2-tiers of turkey hunting gear:

  • Best turkey hunting gear that is essential for hunting turkeys for beginners.
  • Best turkey hunting gear recommended but not essential to hunt turkeys for beginners.

As a turkey hunting beginner you may find this post helpful as well:

23 Best Turkey Hunting Tips for Beginners

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Of course, you are not obligated to use my links, but it does help fund these posts in hopes of bringing more value to you!

Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners (Essential Gear)

In this section, I’m going to go over gear that you must have in order to turkey hunt. It’s likely that you already have some of this gear, but this section will help you determine the gear that you still need. I’ve linked to gear that I use and recommend for turkey hunting.

To see some of this gear in action, you find my video helpful:

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 Shotguns For Beginners

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.

A shotgun is a required piece of gear for a turkey hunter beginner
Benelli SuperNova APG SteadyGrip Burris Red Dot Scope 12Ga. – Camo

Best Turkey Hunting Loads

Turkey loads are primarily made from either lead or tungsten. The best turkey hunting loads will be large and heavy to increase knockdown power and penetration at longer ranges. Tungsten is the best choice because it is the heaviest which allows you to have the most lethality at longer ranges. The drawback to tungsten is that it tends to be expensive.

A less expensive option would be lead, which works well, but does not have the same weight as tungsten. This means it has less knockdown power and penetration at longer distances.

If you don’t have the option to use larger ammo sizes like 3.5 inches, that’s not a problem. 2.75 and 3-inch loads will work great, but you’ll need to let the birds get a little closer.

I really like Hevi-Shot Magnum Blend, especially, if you’re shooting smaller-sized loads as they offer extra punch.

Hevi-Shot - Magnum Blend Shotgun Shells for Turkeys
Hevi-Shot – Magnum Blend Shotgun Shells put an average of 294 pellets in a 10″ circle at 40 yards.

Best Camo Turkey Hunting Clothes For Beginners

Turkeys have incredible eyesight, 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, as well as protection from the sun, insects, and branches.

Ol Tom Camo Duralite Ball Cap

Neck Buff/Gaiter Facemask For Turkey Hunting

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

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Touchscreen Camo Gloves

The importance of gloves is often overlooked by beginners because they feel like they don’t need them. However, your hands are often 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 using 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.

North Mountain Gear Smart Phone Compatible Hunting Gloves - Water Resistant

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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.

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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.

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Lightweight and Quiet Camo Pants

Lightweight and quiet pants are essential for turkey hunting. You don’t want to be weighed down and making 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.

Mossy Oak Men's Tibbee Technical Lightweight Camo Hunting Pants

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Lacrosse Grange Turkey Hunting Boot

These boots are perfect for turkey hunters. They are great for spring when there is a lot of mud as temperatures start to increase. I am a huge fan of knee-high rubber boots, in fact, I wear them all season long. These are my favorite mobile hunting boots because they are lightweight, ankle tight, and waterproof. My legs just don’t get tired walking in them, they feel like sneakers.

The Grange boots are 18-inches tall which is very handy for crossing streams, brooks, and shallow rivers. Multi-layer rubber on the heel and toe increase durability while the fit helps keep your feet comfortable in the boot. Added benefits include scent-free protection and tear-resistant rubber. I’ve owned many pairs of these boots and they’re fantastic.

Boots are a required piece of gear for a turkey hunter beginner

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Best 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.

Types of Turkey Hunting Decoys

Different decoy combinations are used in different situations in order 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 how and what direction gobblers will approach in relation to 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.

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.

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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.

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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 make decoys will just fine as well.

a hen decoy is one of the best pieces of turkey hunting gear for beginners

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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 for calling 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 Slate Call is a great call for a beginner turkey hunter
A slate call is my personal favorite.

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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.

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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 has the ability to 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.

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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.

A turkey call is an important piece of gear for beginner turkey hunters

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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.

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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.

Blinds Are Effective Pieces Of Turkey Hunting Gear
Blinds Are Effective Pieces Of Turkey Hunting Gear

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 to go on. A blind will allow new hunters to move around, allowing for a more enjoyable hunt, and without blowing their opportunity at shooting a turkey.

Best turkey hunting gear for beginners - Turkey Hunting Ground BlindCheck Amazon's Price

One of my favorite blinds is the Ameristep Care Taker Ground Blind 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.

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.

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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 in order 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.

Adjustable Blind Swivel Chair

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Turkey Hunting Clothes For Ground Blind Use

Black Top Layers

Ground blinds are camo on the outside of the blind but are commonly black on the inside. Although camo clothing will work to a degree, I suggest buying some darker clothes. I use black clothes when I’m hunting out of my hunting blind so turkeys can’t see me moving when I’m inside the blind. This has worked really well for me.

Black Hat for Ground Blind Turkey Hunting

Black ball-caps are essential pieces of gear, they provide camouflage in the blind, warmth, as well as protection from the sun, insects, and branches to and from the blind.
Carhartt Men's Rugged Professional Cap

Moisture-Wicking Black Facemask

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

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Black Touchscreen Gloves

The importance of black gloves is often overlooked by beginners because they feel like they don’t need them. However, your hands are often the most noticeable part of your body because of their excessive movement and contrast to the black background of the ground blind. Concealing your hands will go a long way to remain undetected within a ground blind, like when you’re raising your gun to shoot.

Winter Touchscreen Gloves for Men Women Anti-Slip Touch Screen Warm Lined Knit

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Moisture-Wicking Black 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 helps me stay more comfortable and remain in the blind longer. The black color helps me blend into the inside of my blind better when I need less clothing.

Hanes Men's Long Sleeve Cool Dri T-Shirt UPF 50+ (Pack of 2)

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Silent Polyester Fleece Hoodie Jacket

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 black fleece hoodie jacket is perfect because it is completely silent and breaks-up your outline when turkey hunting from a ground blind.

ReFire Gear Men's Warm Military Tactical Sport Fleece Hoodie Jacket

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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 because the poison from the spray can penetrate the skin. Rynoskin Total is a chemical-free breathable baselayer that helps prevent bugs from penetrating the tight mesh. Check out my full review here: Rynoskin Review: Insect and Tick Proof Clothing | Does it Work?

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Binoculars For Turkey Hunting

Binoculars are a staple for turkey hunters and all outdoor-goers. My post: 14 Best Binoculars For Hunting For The Money is a great resource for hunters of all budgets. I bought these 14 binoculars and did a field test review comparing all them. The binoculars below were my favorites after conducting my review.

Athlon Midas G2 UHD Hunting Binocular Review Chart

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 disseapears.

Being able to store binoculars in an easily accessible place makes the process seamless when they are needed. Vortex not only makes great binoculars but also makes great binocular harnesses. This harness can fit up to the Vortex 10×50 Binoculars and has additional pockets for other important items, like GPS’s.

Binocular harnesses are great pieces of gear for turkey hunting beginnersCheck Amazon's Price

Rangefinder

Vortex Impact Laser Rangefinder

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. 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 and I know that any turkey hunter that does not have one would be thrilled to get one as a gift.

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 highly recommend them.

Rangefinders are excellent gear for turkey hunting beginners

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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 when you’re about to give up because you haven’t been able to get a turkey to gobble using turkey calls.

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Choke Tubes

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

Carlson’s Long Beard XR 12 GA Choke Tubes

This choke tube releases pellet spread-rate more gradually than other choke tubes on the market. This choke-tube features Shot-Look technology that allows for one of the tightest patterns and longer downrange reaches over other choke tubes.

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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.

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Turkey Hunting Vest

I would recommend a turkey hunting vest because you’ll be carrying a lot of gear that you may not be aware of. For example; shells, calls, sandwiches, water, bug spray, turkey decoy attachments, and other odds and ends. It’s very helpful for getting to 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. This ALPS vest checks most of the boxes I would be looking for in a vest.

ALPS OutdoorZ Super Elite 4.0 Turkey Vest

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Turkey Hunting Gear Conclusions

Now that you’ve read through this post I hope you have a good understanding of what you will need to get started hunting turkeys. The best turkey hunting gear for beginners will be different depending on the individual, based on how you want to hunt turkeys.

But in order 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 more.

That being said, said spending a little extra money can make for a more relaxed and enjoyable hunt, so it is all about how you want to design your own personal hunt.

If you enjoyed this article please feel free to share it using the social media buttons and/or leave comments or questions below. You may also find these turkey hunting articles helpful:

Best Gifts For Turkey Hunters

23 Best Turkey Hunting Tips for Beginners

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Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners | Turkey Hunting Gear 101
Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners | Turkey Hunting Gear 101

 

 

 


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Article Written By: Jason Tome

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