Turkey hunter calling in the sunset

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Successfully Turkey Hunting Public Lands Day 4: What’s Best Equipment for Hunting Turkeys

Rifle turkey hunter
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Editor’s Note: David Owens from Acworth, Georgia, was the 2018 National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Grand National Senior Open Division turkey-calling champion. In 2017, he completed an almost-unbelievable feat by taking the U.S. Super Slam of wild turkeys, harvesting 49 gobblers in the 49 states that home wild turkeys with 90 percent of those birds harvested on public lands. Owens reports that, “No matter which states I’m hunting turkeys, 99% of the lands I hunt in the Southeast are public lands.” Owens started hunting turkeys when he was 13 and has been hunting them for 20 years but only has been entering turkey-calling contests for a decade.

Turkey and turkey hunter with his trophy

Owens’ Equipment consists of the following:

  • A Hand-Held GPS: “Since most cell phones have very-accurate GPS receivers built in to them, hand-held GPS receivers are becoming a thing of the past,” Owens explains. “I have apps with different types of maps on them on my cell phone. The Navionics maps I use make sure I’m staying on the property I’m supposed to be on when I’m hunting and has a fairly good topo map section on it.
    • “I also use a hand-held Garmin GPS with Base Camp software to download the maps of specific public lands. Then if you’re hunting in a place where you don’t have cell phone service, those maps can keep you on the property you’re supposed to hunt and show you how to return to your starting point.  I never recommend that anyone only use the GPS on his cell phone, especially when he’s hunting property he’s never hunted previously. I think you always need a hand-held GPS with the maps and plan to use stored in the memory of that GPS.”
  • A Variety of Turkey Calls: Owens builds his own turkey calls for hunting and competition calling because he likes to build calls that consistently will sound the same. He enjoys tinkering with different types of materials and stretching the diaphragms.
  • Miscellaneous Equipment: “I’ve started wearing hiking boots made by a company called Crispi,” Owens says. “I shoot a Franchi Affinity 3-inch 20 gauge shotgun that’s lightweight and has a very-effective pattern and plenty of knock-down power. I use a Trulock choke. This gun will harvest a bird far away, but I draw the line at 40 yards. I hand load my shells and use Tungsten Super Shot, Federal Premium Ammunition and Apex Ammunition. I can hit the bird harder and better with the reloaded shells than with any commercially-loaded 20 gauge shell.” Owens considers his binoculars invaluable and likes the Vanguard Endeavor 10×42 with light-gathering ability.
  • Camo: Owens wears Mossy Oak Bottomland in early turkey season and Obsession to hunt later. “I know that some people may not approve of crawling on turkeys, especially on public lands. But many times, I’ve found that getting that extra 5-10 yards closer to the turkey I’m trying to take is often the difference. Your odds are greater for taking that turkey, if he has less distance to travel to get to you, and you’re well camouflaged.”
  • No decoys or blinds: Owens feels those hunting aids change the nature of the game of turkey hunting for him. “I’ve used them, and I’m not against anybody using anything that’s legal for turkey hunting. But blinds and decoys just aren’t the way I like to turkey hunt.
    • “I’m a turkey hunter at heart, and all I claim to be is a turkey hunter. Every decision I make in life includes turkey hunting.”

Tomorrow: How to Hunt Osceolas on Public Lands

Check out John E. Phillips’ 12th book: “Turkeys: Today’s Tactics for Longbeards Tomorrow

  • hunting strategies with pros Will Primos, David Hale, Eddie Salter, Preston Pittman, Allen Jenkins, Terry Rohm, Paul Butski, Larry Norton and others.
  • information about taking turkeys with .410 shotguns.
  • box-call techniques.
  • strategies for moving on turkeys.
  • ways to hunt public-land gobblers.
  • the differences in calling and hunting Eastern, Osceola and Western turkeys.
  • the latest research on turkeys; and other information.

Click here to check out John’s 12th turkey book.

Expert Guidebooks on Turkey Hunting: Best Sellers

Turkey Hunting Tactics
This turkey hunting audiobook has entertaining chapters like: “How to Miss a Turkey”, “Hunting with a Guide”, and “The Turkey and the New York Lady”.

You’ll learn about all the subspecies of turkey across North America, how to use a turkey call, how to scout before turkey season, how to find a turkey to hunt, and what hunting gear you’ll need to put the odds in your favor to take a wily gobbler.


How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman
You easily can take a turkey if you don’t make any mistakes, but you have to know what the deadly sins of turkey hunting are to keep you from making those mistakes. If you understand how to hunt a turkey, you’re far more likely to take a gobbler than if you just know how to call a turkey.

Of course, calling is important, and if you want to learn to call a turkey, Preston Pittman will teach you how to call turkeys with box calls, friction calls, diaphragm calls, and other turkey sounds.

You’ll also learn why Preston Pittman once put turkey manure all over his body to kill a tough tom.

When you have turkeys that strut and drum in the middle of a field, when you know there’s no way to get close enough to get a shot, Pittman will show you some weird tactics that have worked for him to help you hunt tough ole toms.

But the main thing you’ll learn in this book is how to become the turkey.

Using what he’s learned while hunting wild turkeys, he’s also become a master woodsman who can take most game, regardless of where he hunts. To learn more secrets about how to be a turkey hunter from one of the world champions of the sport, this turkey-hunting book with Preston Pittman is a must.


The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible
The quickest way to learn how to turkey hunt successfully is to either hunt with a turkey hunter with years of experience or a turkey-hunting guide. These two types of turkey hunters have solved most of the problems turkey hunters ever will face. 

Just as one size of shoes won’t fit every person, one style of turkey hunting doesn’t fit each hunter.  Each turkey-hunting guide interviewed for this book has his own style of calling, hunting, and outsmarting turkeys.  

While listening to this book, make a list of the new information you’ve learned, take that list with you during turkey season, and try some of the new tactics. Then you’ll become a more versatile turkey hunter and prove the wisdom from The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible.   


Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting (2nd Edition)
This Audible book will help you learn how to call turkeys with two of the nation’s best, longtime and well-known turkey callers, Rob Keck, formerly with the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Lovett Williams, a wildlife biologist who recorded wild turkeys giving the calls that you’ll learn how to make on various types of turkey callers.


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