By Mark Drury
distance turkey trips, which could be defined as any excursion involving
an overnight stay, shouldn't be spur of the moment. Success and
enjoyment require considerable preparation. Some aspects are obvious:
getting the best airline rates, making lodging arrangements, and
checking on meals and similar matters. Comfort and cost are always
If you plan to hunt with an outfitter, several simple steps can
Unfortunately, the outfitting world holds some fly by night scoundrels
along with plenty of reputable, hard-working, operations. Make certain
you book with one of the latter.
Here are some things to remember as you form your list:
You must know something about the climate and conditions you might
encounter. A trip to southern Texas, for example, requires snake
boots or chaps and includes the potential for hot weather. In the
upper Midwest or New England, you might encounter snow or freezing
temperatures, especially early in the season. Florida and the deep
south in general, can involve hordes of mosquitoes and temperatures
in the 80's.
Always pack rainwear, no matter your destination. Also, you'll want
footwear that will stay dry even in the soggiest conditions. Pay
close attention to the weather, and despite all the jokes about
the unreliability of forecasts, meteorological technology can help
The Weather Channel and the Internet can give you a heads up on
likely storms or fronts. By checking www.weather.com and typing
in the zip code for the area where you're going, you get a seven-day
Licenses and tags
After you arrive at your destination, you want to hunt turkeys,
not spend valuable time seeking a license. Most states have arrangements
that let you, with a processing charge of a few dollars, call a
toll-free number and charge your license to your credit card. You
can obtain this information by calling state wildlife agencies.
When you call, request that a copy of the hunting regulations be
mailed to you.
If possible, take two guns. You can find many good gun cases that
handle two shotguns. That way, if one gun malfunctions, you have
a backup. Always check your gun after arrival, because a gun case
can provide a tempting target, and it's obvious what it holds. Also,
you want to shoot it before hunting, and this is especially important
for anyone who uses a scope.
It's best to carry ammunition with you. Even if you prefer a common
brand and type of shotshell, you don't know whether it will be available
at your destination. It's best to tuck a box of 10 shells in your
A turkey vest is essential equipment, and it serves as a storage
depot for an array of accessories, including call, binoculars, a
flashlight, knife, rangefinder, pruning shears, locator calls, insect
repellent, first-aid kit, decoys and stakes, spare headnets and
gloves, a hunter orange bag or another turkey-toter and chalk, sandpaper
or scratch pads for slates.
Always pay close attention to your calls. Make sure you have plenty
of them and they're in good working order.
Clothing and footwear
You'll at least want a jacket, a change of camouflage clothing and
casual attire for traveling or wearing in camp and don't forget
your favorite hunting hat. If there's a chance of chilly weather,
insulated underwear or a polar-fleece pullover might be wise. You'd
much rather have too much clothing than be miserable.
You might want to pack an extra pair of boots with plenty of socks.
Comfort while hunting starts with your feet. No one wants to ruin
a hunt with blistered feet or by having to wear wet boots. Make
sure to bring footwear that you know fits, because there's always
the possibility of a lot of hard walking.
Hunting out of state can afford you many fond turkey hunting memories.
A little preparation for common occurrences should ensure extra
birds in the cooler and extra smiles at days and trips end. Mark
Drury, Owner Mad Call Co. See Ya February 28th.