If you hunt Area 3 for wild turkey, I hope you’re ready. The season starts tomorrow. If you hunt any of the other four areas, you have until April 20 to get prepared, but don’t put it off.
This is the time of year when the toms respond well to calls, so you should have been practicing with your calls already. You want to make sure you can make good turkey noises, and that you won’t accidentally make a sound like one’s getting stepped on by a moose. A funky turkey sound can turn a group of turkeys around in a heartbeat, especially if you hunt an area that gets plenty of hunting traffic. They may not be the brightest birds on the planet, but they get pretty smart about calls in a hurry.
You might want to take the shotgun out to the range and pattern it, too. You’ll want to set up a piece of cardboard at about 30 yards, or possibly out to 40 yards if you’re comfortable from that range. You can find turkey head targets to print off on your computer fairly easily. Fire the shotgun at the target using the same loads you’ll use for turkeys, and then take a look at the target. You’ll want to make sure there are several holes in the head area of the target. If you’re not getting any pellets in the turkey, you might have a blown pattern, or you may need to get closer or switch to a smaller shot size.
A super full or turkey choke is the tightest, and it’ll reach out to about 50 yards. A full choke should be best at about 40 yards, and if you shoot a modified, you’ll want to keep your shots to about 30 yards. But you should test whatever choke you want to use from several distances to be sure you’re patterning correctly.
Once you’re good with your call and your shotgun is shooting good patterns, you’re ready. Don’t forget to get your license and conservation stamp, though. Good luck on your turkey hunt this spring!