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Firearm Selection and Getting Started

Choosing a gun and ammunition

The firearm most turkey hunters use is a shotgun, which is the only firearm allowed on most wildlife management areas (WMAs) during spring turkey season. Some people choose to hunt with archery equipment or pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns. When using a shotgun, opt for loads that are meant for turkeys. In addition, it’s best to use a shotgun with a more restrictive barrel. Full or extra full choke tubes are typically used because they hold the shot pattern tighter, allowing the gun to be effective out to distances of 40 yards. For best results, take your shotgun to a range or similar place prior to hunting season and shoot a few different turkey loads to determine which loads pattern the best at distances of 30 to 40 yards. What you want is a concentration of a lot of pellets that are hitting close together.

When to start

Most turkey hunters begin their hunt in the early morning. On private land and at most wildlife management areas (WMAs), you can hunt turkeys until sunset.

Some hunters place turkey decoys 15 or so yards in front of them, while others don’t use decoys. Decoys can be helpful when you are set up on the edge of a large field and you have a lot of visibility in front of you.

If it’s possible turkeys are roosted close to where you are going to hunt, plan to set up quietly an hour or more before sunrise.