Turkey hunting is a renowned sport in the United States of America, involving the capture or killing of a wild turkey. Turkey hunting was a common practice among the native Americans, long before the Europeans set foot on American soil. A wild turkey is one of two turkey species native to the continent of North America. This bird became a major attraction for hunters since the last century, when its population saw a drastic rise.
Turkey Hunting Methods
There are two methods of hunting turkey, stalking and calling. In stalking, the prey is approached in a quietly. The hunter moves slowly towards the turkey, without making any noise that would disturb the prey. In the calling method, hunters use various turkey calls to lure the turkey to walk to them, rather than chasing the bird.
Turkey Hunting Equipment
Turkey hunting equipment or supplies include various materials that are used in the above methods of turkey hunting. Equipment ranges from camouflage, for stalking the prey, to a shotgun, for killing it.
A wild turkey has excellent eyesight, it can pick up any swift unnatural movement in its vicinity and flee off quickly. Hunters use camouflage, in order to avoid being noticed by the prey. A camouflage includes an attire bearing the color of surroundings in a turkey habitat, which covers the hunter from head to toe. Hiding behind a tree, shrub, or crawling on the limbs improves camouflage, thus improving the chances of getting closer to the prey without being noticed. As it is very important to get close to the prey to shoot it, camouflage is widely used in turkey hunting.
Turkey calls are methods of mimicking the bird, so that it follows the sounds and walks into an open area, within the shooting range of hunters. The two main types of calls used by hunters are friction calls and mouth calls.
The three types of friction calls used to attract the attention of this bird are the slate call, the box call and the push-button call. In slate call, a peg made of hardwood or carbon is scratched over a surface like ceramic, slate or glass. Box calls are made with different types of wood coated with chalk. Sliding the lid of the call over the supporting sides generates the sound of a turkey. In the push-button call, a peg is pushed to and fro a hole. This is the most preferred call for the amateur turkey hunters.
A mouth call is referred to the sound created by blowing air through a special type of equipment. A type of mouth call, known as the diaphragm call, is used when it is not suitable to use friction calls, especially in cases where the distance between the hunter and the game is very less. Its is believed that native Americans used the bones of turkeys they killed to make mouth call equipments to lure these birds towards them.
The weapons used for turkey hunting include shotguns, rifles, muzzle loader and bows. The choice of weapons depends on the region where the hunt is planned, as well as the season chosen for hunting. Some administrations restrict the use of certain firearms, while some restrict the use of weapons according to seasons. In some places shotguns are allowed only during the spring season, while in fall all weapons can be used.
Turkey decoys are used to lure turkey towards the trap. They are most effective while hunting in open areas or sparse woods. The biggest advantage of a decoy is that the focus is shifted from the hunter. Hunters need to set the decoy at a distance of at least 20 meters away from them. This is also one of the easiest methods of turkey hunting.
Though exciting, turkey hunting can get dangerous at times. Therefore, some precautions need to be taken to ensure the safety of hunters and others. Other than choosing good quality hunting gear, it is also essential to get a hunting license and turkey permit from the concerned authorities. Nobody wants their adventure to turn into a disaster, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.