Turkey Hunting Gear

The Top Turkey Hunting Gear Every Hunter Needs

Whether it’s the spring or fall turkey hunt, gear up to make this hunt the most rewarding! Investing in the right turkey hunting gear can make all the difference when bagging your prized bird. Surprisingly, hunting for turkeys seems to have the lowest barrier of entry, meaning it’s easier to start than waterfowl, deer, bear, moose and so on.

This article will cover the essential turkey hunting gear, tips for picking the right equipment, and what hunting accessories you shouldn’t leave home without. So, what are you waiting for? Don’t let another wild turkey hunting season pass you by without the right gear for success – let’s get started and discover the gear needed to help you bag your wild turkey!

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Shot Size for Hunting Turkeys

A gobbler standing in a field

Hopefully, you didn’t forget that a turkey is a bird 🙂 That means it’s time to dust off the shotgun and secure the correct shotgun shells. Unlike waterfowl, we can get away with good old lead for this hunt. Ideally, a minimum 3″ shell. 3.5″ is even better, but be forewarned – it kicks both ways! You’ll want your shells to have some power, as these turkeys are hearty birds. You’ll also need a full choke or an extra full (turkey choke) if you want to add a little range.

The rule of thumb with wild turkey is if you are in some brush, go with a number 4 shot size – it’s more likely to get through. If hunting in a field, use number 6 – it will give you more pellets to play with. A happy medium is #5, which is what I use.

Further Reading: Remington 870 Custom: The Best Shotgun You’ll Ever Find!

What is the Best Weapon for Hunting Wild Turkey?

Hands down, a shotgun is the most common, easy and uttermost deadly weapon for the turkey hunter. It’s also why we start the post with shells – if you intend to harvest a bird, it’s the most important thing other than perhaps calling the turkeys in.

You can also use bows, which are legal use for hunting wild turkeys in Canada! That technically gives the turkey hunter two viable options. For anyone who doesn’t have a shotgun, or better yet, wants one but is waiting to get licensed for firearms, nothing is stopping you from hunting turkey. I would suggest using a bow and calling the turkeys in closer. But then again, some bows are so good nowadays they help bridge the gap between a bow and a gun!

What are the Different Types of Calls for Turkey Hunting?

Turkey Calls
Turkey Calls: Quaker Boy Easy Yelper, Primos Bamboozled, Primos Shot Caller

The first time I hunted turkey was downright amazing – if you are a newbie, I highly suggest you hunt with someone who knows what they are doing, at least in the beginning!!! On my first spring turkey hunt, we were out early morning, all camouflaged out, dropped a couple of turkey decoys and sat by the tree line and brush cover – right where the forest meets an open field.

As a beginner, you would think nothing is out there. But as my friend started calling, the turkeys responded within minutes. It’s surreal as the bird comes in and gets closer – the intensity and excitement get louder and bulkier. It also directly relates to your adrenaline levels as it’s an experience like none other. The point is, you don’t just sit there – you need to call your birds in! Knowing how to do that is pivotal to turkey hunting success. So, let’s look at the different variants of this essential piece of gear for turkey hunting.

Further Reading: Top 8 Wicked New Turkey Hunting Gear For 2024

Box Call

For beginner turkey hunters, I highly suggest starting with a box call. You can imitate a lot of clucks and purrs with these. The skills required are on the lower side. Put bluntly, if you can’t figure out how to use this call, then maybe turkey hunting is not for you. I use the Primos Shot Caller. Below, you will find an easy-to-understand tutorial from Primos on how to use the shot caller.

Besides being the easiest to learn, the box call is the one that is most likely to always work. I never go out hunting without this essential piece of hunting gear.

Plate Call

Another call you can try is a turkey plate call. These will be either glass or slate. Hold the plate of the call in one hand and the stick in the other, which you use to make the turkey sounds. This call is quite a bit harder to use and requires some practice. If you go this route, I highly suggest practicing long before you ever go out with it.

Practice using the plate call anytime you are sitting around or watching TV. Keep working away at it until your calling is on its A-game. Better yet, watch YouTube videos, specifically on how to use these calls and try to replicate the calling techniques and sounds you see in the video. For the most part, you can find tutorials directly from the manufacturers on how to use these calls, as with the box call above – there’s no better source to trust than the call makers themselves.

One thing to note is the weather. When in the bush, on occasion, you’ll notice the turkey call doesn’t work the way it should. In other words, keep it dry and carry a backup turkey call, even if the plate becomes your go-to. Lastly, remember to bring a piece of sandpaper with you! These calls need to be scuffed to work and require periodic re-scuffing.

Mouth Calls

Turkey mouth calls are remarkable. Not only are the sounds incredible, but they also keep your hands free. My hunting buddy is superb at using one, and between the mouth and the plate calls, he can chat up a storm with the gobblers.

Be forewarned that the mouth call is the hardest turkey call to learn. I gag easily, and these calls are just not in the cards for me. If that sounds like you, don’t worry about it. While the mouth call is superior, you can still get away with the other turkey calls. Some hunters fashion together a small box call to strap to their gun. It allows your hands to softly work the call for a purr as the turkey gets closer while having your gun ready. A case in point is the Quaker Boy Easy Yelper.


When using calls, it’s essential to mimic the sounds of a turkey as accurately as possible. Spend the time learning the various turkey sounds, such as clucks, purrs, etc. In addition, learn when to use them.

Remember, the manufacturer’s websites and YouTube are great resources for instructional videos and audio recordings. If it’s per the turkey hunting regulations for your region, you can invest in a turkey call app. If not, as is the case in Ontario, no worries – you can still use it to practice in your living room!

“Friend” or Turkey Hunting Guide

So you ran out, bought some turkey calls, and found yourself struggling. And you really want to get out there to hunt!!! Now what? Find a friend or hire a guide.

I know many successful turkey hunters who can’t call in a turkey worth squat. They either don’t like it, can’t learn it or can’t be bothered because they hunt with a friend or family member who rocks the call. And that’s perfectly fine. Hunting with a good partner is way better than being in the bush alone, at least in my mind.

If you are serious about turkey hunting and a friend is not an option, consider getting a hunting guide! They know the right location and proper turkey hunting techniques, including calling! The odds of you harvesting a bird will skyrocket, and it’s a good investment in general. You will learn hunting tips and tricks that some hunters do not want to share. You won’t always need a guide – guides are fantastic if you are hunting new locations or hunting a specific animal new to you and could use the help.

Turkey Decoys and Blinds

Lil' Gobbstopper: Hen Turkey Decoy
Lil’ Gobbstopper: Hen Turkey Decoy

After mastering the art of turkey calls, you best create a realistic hunting environment to attract turkeys. In this regard, turkey decoys are a hunter’s best friend. These life-like plastic or foam birds draw in turkeys while you conceal yourself in a blind (or brush with the extensive use of camo).

I use the Primos Lil’ Gobbstopper turkey decoy as the go-to. It’s the better of my decoys, and I may toss a foam decoy into the mix if needed.

Setting up a turkey decoy rig involves strategically placing your decoys in a realistic turkey hen position to convince the bird it’s safe to move in on your location. Your decoy birds should mimic the stance and appearance of a real turkey, including feathers, colours and height off the ground. I like to use a breeding hen and a jake for my spring turkey hunts. Using two to three decoys is sufficient.

Similarly, a blind serves as a go-to hiding place to help you remain concealed while making the necessary adjustments for a shot. A well-placed blind helps you, the turkey hunter, to blend in with your surroundings and stay hidden from sight. You can build a blind in advance of your hunt, or you can purchase a pop-up blind.

Turkey Hunting Camo Clothing

Turkey Hunting Camo Outfit
Camo Outfit for Turkey Hunting
Turkey Hunter Camouflaged

One crucial aspect of turkey hunting is blending in with your surroundings, and this is where camo clothing comes in. The right camo pattern can help you disappear into the trees and brush, making turkeys less likely to spot you. With deer, you’ll hear hunters talk about smell. Turkey is mainly sight!

Where to Buy Turkey Hunting Clothes?

You can find a great selection of camo hunting clothing in stores like Cabela’s/BassPro, Kuiu, and even military surplus stores. For a vast selection of hunting clothing brands at various price points, Cabela’s/BassPro is your best bet. If money is not an issue, check out Kuiu turkey hunting gear. Before making any camo purchase, consider the terrain you will be hunting. 

In the above photo, my first turkey hunt, and based on my surroundings, you’ll notice I opted to wear the military woodland camo pattern. It’s also military surplus and very cheap turkey hunting gear. A viable option if you are trying to save a buck or two! The neck gaiter works well with the spring leaves. I am not sure what pattern of Realtree the hat is – but it doesn’t matter! The point is, you can mix and match camo. The sole purpose of camo clothing is to provide a breakup and help you hide, which is apparent in the photo on the right. Even though this is a closeup, you can see the camo pattern is working.

Whether you are participating in the spring or fall turkey hunt, be mindful of the weather. The last thing you want is sweating buckets in heavy camo when the weather is warm, nor should you freeze in light camo during a cold snap. The turkey season starts during a challenging time of year, and temperature can fluctuate wildly throughout the day. Layers can be your best friend here, adding or shedding as needed.

A final consideration when it comes to camo or, better yet, hunting clothing, in general, is noise. Should your clothing rustle too loudly, it will spook the animal. Look for camo hunting clothes made from quiet fabrics that help hide your position.

Clothing Accessories

Weather-dependent, turkey hunters may wear face coverings, neck gaiters, hats, gloves, etc. While camo provides breakup and helps you disappear, it’s doubly useful when hiding anything shiny – including your face and skin. If you look ready to engage in gorilla warfare, you are ready to hide from this elusive bird!

Further Reading: Hunting Emotions: Surprising New Ways of Coping With A Harvest

What Not to Wear When Turkey Hunting?

Anything with shine! Generally, this is not an issue with camo clothing, but make sure nothing on you is shiny. Perhaps leave your watch at home or in your pocket and be careful with your hunting accessories and gear. Ie. Don’t sip on your coffee from a shiny thermos as the birds come in. Also, avoid wearing anything red, white or blue.


Wearing anything red, white or blue can get you mistaken for a gobbler, and the potential outcome can be fatal!!!!! Sorry to our American friends, but patriotism does not work when turkey hunting. Even the use of black should be cautioned against.

Something to Sit On

Something to sit on is a piece of gear needed for turkey hunting! The forest floor can get wet or cold, shortening your comfort level. Most often, I will use the Heat-A-Seat by ThermaSeat. Being small and light, it can clip to a pack for a journey into the woods. Throw this on a log or stump, and you should be good to go and in a nice low position. Often, the simplest and budget-friendly pieces of gear make the most sense. 

If you can get away with a chair, the go-to hunting chair in our house is the Primos Double Bull. I LOVE this chair! My family calls me the armchair hunter! Not sure why, as my chair has no arms:) But it is comfy, and if using a blind, a chair is a must. The Double Bull is a portable outdoor chair that doubles for camping and even finds a winter home in the garage by the wood stove. It’s a must-buy if you can get one.

For turkey hunting, I think the ThermaSeat is better, and some hunters may even balk at the idea of a chair. But there are hunters out that are older, not well or have physical impairments that prevent them from sitting on the ground. Unfortunately, you have to work harder to conceal it, but if having that chair gets you out hunting, then go for it. 

What Does a Beginner Turkey Hunter Need?

Turkey Hunter
Turkey Hunter

While this post is about getting the right gear for your next turkey hunt, the more you look at it, you realize you really do not need much to get started in hunting wild turkeys. Here is a turkey hunting gear list in a nutshell:

  • A weapon, the correct shells and choke or arrows, if hunting with a bow. 
  • A few turkey decoys (a couple of hens and a jake). You can start with one and work your way up to three.
  • And a couple of turkey calls.

While it may be the better or ‘standard procedure’, you certainly don’t NEED a blind! I have hunted waterfowl and turkey with seasoned pros and even a guide, NONE of which used a blind! All that matters is to get out there and try to camouflage yourself from head to toe as best you can.

Safety Gear and Tips for Turkey Hunting

A hunter’s safety is of utmost importance when out in the field. We will not get into firearms safety, as it’s an entire post of its own and doubly, we assume you already know these things since you are licensed.

Do carry some earplugs! The standard tiny foam or silicon earplugs work great and are out of the way. PPE can be a nuisance, I know, but the alternative is permanent hearing damage. Whether my friends are hunters or range shooters, most have hearing loss, so please don’t skip this step! 

Besides the foam or silicon earplugs, you can use a pair of earmuffs. My go-to is the Walker Razor earmuffs, which are phenomenal! They have a built-in mic and speakers that help you hear BETTER and cut the sound during shooting! So, if you’re already partially deaf because of your dislike for PPE, here’s some fancy PPE to the rescue:)

Finally, I recommend that every hunter carry a first-aid kit and some essential gear items in your pack. The further you head out, the more survival-type items you may want to carry. Back to first aid, accidents can happen, which means a basic first-aid kit. Included items should be bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze for wound packing and pain relievers. Emergency medical gear can get pretty cumbersome, but at least carry a tourniquet anytime guns are involved.

Further Reading: The Dos and Don’ts of Hunting Safety

Tips for Turkey Hunting

Remember NOT to wear red, white or blue, which we covered but will stress again. And while that may seem silly to some, considering the size difference between a human and a bird, remember that you don’t look so big from a distance! 

Also, remember, NEVER follow or pursue a turkey call. It could be another hunter calling. The best thing to do is stay put and try to sit so you have a big tree covering your back.

Post Video

Below is a YouTube video we put together covering much of this post. It also elaborates on some of the hunting items covered in the post.

Conclusion to the Gear Needed for Turkey Hunting

In conclusion, having the right turkey hunting gear and being mindful of safety is the key to a successful hunt. Make sure not to skimp on the hunting essentials. Gear up with the proper camo clothing, turkey hunting calls, decoys, weapon, shells, and safety equipment. And don’t forget to brush up on your turkey hunting regulations before you head out. With the right turkey hunting gear and knowledge under your belt, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable hunt.

Remember, the only way to bag a turkey is to get out there and hunt it down!

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Stelios Lazos
Stelios Lazos

Stelios comes from the corporate world where he was a highly successful executive. Inspired by his love for the outdoors he has re-located with his family to live to the BushLife where he blogs about his adventures. Finding inspiration in the never-ending questions from aspiring outdoors people, Stelios aims to share his knowledge, one post at a time.

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