Turkey Tryouts

Published on: Feb. 18, 2014

Start simple by using a box or push-button call.

If your calling skills don’t match those of a competitive turkey caller, don’t fret. Real hens often have varied tones and, just like humans, each has a unique voice. More importantly, learn the rhythm of specific calls, what each call means, and how to apply the wild turkey language in different hunting situations. Become proficient with a variety of calls including friction and air blown. Keep your calls working well by completing necessary maintenance (chalking, sanding, etc.). At minimum, learn to reproduce the yelp and cluck of a hen with consistency.

Review the Regulations

As with any type of hunting, it is important to understand the regulations associated with the species you intend to harvest. Before heading afield, make absolutely certain you can distinguish between a gobbler and a hen turkey, as only male turkeys or turkeys with a visible beard are legal in the spring. In addition, be familiar with the tagging procedures after you harvest a bird. Pick up a current copy of the Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet at your local Missouri Department of Conservation office or other permit vendor and read through it. You can also access spring turkey season regulations online by visiting mdc.mo.gov/node/132. Contact your local conservation agent if you have any questions.

Gather Your Gear

Opening morning is an inconvenient time to find you have forgotten to pack your camouflage gloves and facemask. To prepare for the season, scratch out some time to get your gear in order. While you don’t need everything in the latest turkey hunting catalog to harvest a bird, some equipment is necessary.

I find that doing a mental walk-through of a typical hunt helps remind me of the items that I need to pack. While gathering your gear, make sure everything is working properly and you know where to locate items when you need them. From a safety standpoint, make certain you avoid wearing any red, white, black, or blue colors while hunting, as these colors may be confused by another hunter as a turkey. As your turkey hunting experience and time afield increases, your gear and equipment will no doubt increase as well.

This pre-season plan is simple: find birds, test your equipment, practice calling, review regulations, and grab your gear, and you will be well on your way to harvesting a gobbler. Successfully connecting with

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