Tools for Toms: New Turkey Hunting Gear

A new spring brings new guns and gear for working on gobblers.

Tools for Toms: New Turkey Hunting Gear

Shutterstock image

Getting the best of a gobbler is a process; we could even call each hunt a project. Most successful turkey hunters go into the woods with a plan, knowing that certain steps must be taken in order to complete the objective of bringing home a longbeard. Sometimes the morning goes according to that plan. On other days, we must make adjustments to fit the situation. While the classic off-the-roost hunt is what we often envision the night before, it is by far not the only way to go about grounding a gobbler.

Whether your plans involve a stealthy setup close to a roost tree, a mid-morning stakeout near a known strutting area or running-and-gunning along a series of ridges, there is gear to fit every approach. The way we see it, part of the fun is picking the ideal tools for each hunt. Maybe you load a vest with 15 calls and sling three decoys over your shoulder because you’ll be sitting in a blind for six hours and want plenty of options. Or perhaps you take the light approach: a single box and two mouth calls so you can move with ease along a couple-mile circuit where several birds were gobbling two days ago. Maybe you want the reach of a 12-gauge for a field setup or the nimbleness of a 20 for a hike up a mountain.

Shotguns

Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 Turkey Performance Shop

All the upgrades included in this Super Black Eagle 3 from the Benelli Performance Shop make this semi-custom gobbler-getter worth its price. While the gun comes from the Benelli factory, Rob Roberts Custom Gun Works adds enhancements, such as choke tube optimized for Federal Premium turkey loads. Each gun is pattern-tested and ships with pattern print-outs so hunters know exactly what to expect. The receiver and ported barrel are finished in Cerakote. An enlarged bolt handle and bolt-release button, plus Benelli’s SteadyGrip, help with handling. Bonus: the shotgun comes with a Burris FastFire II sight. MSRP: $3,399; benelliusa.com


Turkeys
New turkey hunting shotguns

Mossberg 500 Turkey .410 Bore


They’re not just for young hunters anymore. With the advent of turkey loads using small, super dense Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) pellets, .410-bore shotguns are proving their worth among turkey hunters of all ages. Specs for the Mossberg 500 Turkey .410 show why: Even with a 26-inch barrel, this little cutie weighs just 6.5 pounds. Recoil is but a fraction of that produced by a 20-gauge, but with the included extra-full extended choke tube, this is a legitimate turkey gun to 30 yards—and maybe beyond. Mossy Oak Original Bottomland keeps the gun hidden from sharp-eyed toms, and a front fiber-optic bead helps you smack their snoods. MSRP: $515; mossberg.com

Savage Renegauge Turkey

Savage enters the semi-auto shotgun market with the American-made Renegauge, a new 12-gauge lineup that includes a Turkey model with a Mossy Oak Obsession or Bottomland finish. The heart of the Renegauge is the patented Dual Regulating Inline Valve (DRIV) gas system that vents excess gas before it drives the bolt for consistent ejection and less felt recoil. To help fit hunters of all sizes, the synthetic stock is adjustable for length of pull, comb height, drop and cast. The 24-inch, fluted barrel has a 3-inch chamber and is topped by a ventilated rib with a fiber-optic front sight. The Renegauge comes with four choke tubes, including extra-full. MSRP: $1,549; savagearms.com

Optics and Ammo

Hawke 13-39x50mm Endurance ED Compact


Turkeys
Hawke 13-39x50mm Endurance ED Compact

If you hunt wide-open areas west of the Mississippi or expansive green fields in the South, a spotting scope can be a real help in finding turkeys, identifying specific gobblers and nailing down their patterns. At about 10 inches long, the Endurance ED Compact is not much larger than a box call. The 25-ounce spotter has fully multi-coated, extra-low dispersion glass lenses and a dielectric-coated BAK-4 Porro prism for bright views with sharp contrast. It’s nitrogen-purged and waterproof. The coarse/fine dual-focus knob allows you to quickly home in on beards and spurs. Pair it with a compact tripod (or window mount), and you’ll have a tool for long-range recon that fits in your vest. MSRP: $399; hawkeoptics.com

Federal Custom Shop TSS

Turkeys
Federal Custom Shop TSS

Unless you handload, turkey loads featuring Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) have been limited to 12- and 20-gauge, and .410-bore shotshells. The Federal Custom Shop changes that, offering TSS in 10-, 16- and 28-gauge loads as well. If you’d rather not deal with magnum recoil, 2 3/4-inch, 12-gauge loads are an option, too. Hunters can place orders online, choosing No. 7, 8, 9 or 10 TSS, or duplex loads of No. 7 and 9, and No. 8 and 10. Each load is developed and hand-assembled by Federal technicians, and includes buffer, an overshot card and a roll-crimp. The shells aren’t cheap, especially in 10-gauge offerings, but they’re essentially TSS hand-loads put together by experts. MSRP: $93.99-$153.99 per 10 rounds; federalpremium.com


Kent TK7 Penetrator

Turkeys
Kent TK7 Penetrator

The tungsten alloy Kent uses in its TK7 Penetrator turkey loads has a density of 15 grams per cubic centimeter. That’s 38 percent denser than lead, which means a TK7 Penetrator No. 7 pellet punches more like a lead No. 5 pellet. But that’s only half the story. Since the TK7 pellet is smaller in diameter, it out-penetrates No. 5 lead, too. Two 3-inch loads are available: a 1 5/8-ounce 12-gauge load and a 1 3/8-ounce 20-gauge load. Both have a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps. The TK7 alloy isn’t quite as dense as the TSS alloy (18 grams per cubic centimeter), but the Kent loads that contain it aren’t as expensive, either. MSRP: $31.95-$33.95 per five rounds; kentcartridge.com

TruGlo Ignite Mini

Turkeys
TruGlo Ignite Mini

Because its illuminated dot is so quick to align with the target, a compact red-dot optic such as the Ignite Mini is ideal for situations when gobblers catch you off-guard. But thanks to the precision the 2-MOA dot enables, the Ignite Mini gives you an advantage over iron sights when taking more deliberate, longer-range shots as well. The Ignite Mini is CNC-machined from aircraft-grade aluminum for durability, is powered by one AAA battery and has 10 brightness settings selected by a push-button control. Its auto-off feature preserves battery life after four hours of remaining idle. The optic includes low and high mounts that fit Weaver and Picatinny rails, and it offers unlimited eye relief. MSRP: $176.99; truglo.com

Calls and Decoys

Primos Early Bird

Turkeys
Primos Early Bird

The purple heart used for the paddle on the Early Bird is not just for looks; the wood is dense, durable and naturally water-resistant, making this call one that should last for many seasons to come. Sanded and tuned by hand, the hardwood box has two working edges to produce distinct tones from each side. The Early Bird requires little pressure to roll notes from low to high, making realistic yelps with just a simple drag of that pretty paddle. MSRP: $29.95; primos.com

Bone Collector Lonesome Lady

Turkeys
Bone Collector Lonesome Lady

Slate is arguably the easiest-to-use and most versatile surface for a pot call, but its downside is lack of volume. If you need a loud call to cut through wind or carry down a creek bottom, glass is better. In the Lonesome Lady, the Bone Collector team combines the ease of a slate surface with a glass layer underneath it to boost the sound, so you get the best of both worlds. An added benefit is raspier yelps from the vibration of both materials, which are housed in a mahogany pot. MSRP: $69.99; bonecollector.com

WoodHaven Custom Calls Talon

Turkeys
WoodHaven Custom Calls Talon

The three-reed Talon has a unique, modified ghost cut designed by WoodHaven’s founder Mike Pentecost. Ghost cuts in general are known for producing soft sounds like sleepy yelps and kee-kees, but the relieved, batwing-like corners of the Talon’s top reed permit more vibration than a conventional ghost, resulting in more rasp. The third reed adds volume. You can still play this call soft for subtle clucks and whines, but increase airflow and you’ll get sharp cutts, too. MSRP: $15.99; woodhavencustomcalls.com

Avian-X HDR Hen

Turkeys
Avian-X HDR Hen

Heavy-Duty Realism (HDR) combines durability with killer looks in a decoy that offers two setup options. The HDR Hen is blow-molded from a hand-carved design; the detail in every “feather” will cause even you to question if it’s a fake. The non-chip paint keeps the decoy looking good for years. Two interchangeable heads come with the HDR Hen: one in an outstretched, aggressive posture and the other in a resting, submissive state. They’re easy to switch in the field to fit the situation. MSRP: $149.99; avian-x.com

Primos Photoform Jake

Turkeys
Primos Photoform Jake

The Photoform series, which also includes a hen, utilizes a proprietary process that prints images of a turkey’s body onto 3-D foam. Not only do these decoys look like the real thing, but they’re also lightweight and collapsible for carrying in a vest. The jake decoy has a taxidermy-quality head for realism, and its content, upright posture is just asking for a longbeard to teach it a lesson. MSRP: $79.99; primos.com

Clothing and accessories

Badlands Turkey Vest

Turkeys
Badlands Turkey Vest

Known for its packs and big-game apparel, Badlands now offers a vest designed for turkey hunters. It’s made from the company’s waterproof KXO-32 fabric for lightweight durability and comes in the Badlands Approach camo pattern. Front YKK-zipper pockets hold a pair of slate calls; just behind them a sleeve keeps strikers quiet and protected from the elements. An angled box-call pocket includes an interior compartment to store chalk and conditioning pads. Magnetically closed chest pockets house mouth calls, keeping them close at hand and allowing quiet access. Several other pockets, including one large enough for a collapsible decoy, carry additional items. Quick-adjust shoulder straps include the Badlands Bino Connect system, which permits direct attachment of the company’s binocular case. Other features include a flip-down seat pad, a hydration pocket and an expandable game shelf for toting decoys or the morning’s prize out of the woods. Perhaps best of all, this vest somehow remains streamlined instead of adding bulk. MSRP: $169.99; badlandsgear.com

Lacrosse Alpha Agility

Turkeys
Lacrosse Alpha Agility

The Alpha Agility combines waterproof protection with athletic-shoe comfort for long morning hikes through river bottoms. Natural rubber over 5mm neoprene creates a resilient boot that offers just enough insulation for chilly mornings. The boots have Lacrosse’s Active Fit design, which holds your foot in place to prevent rubbing and blisters while climbing a ridge, but flexes to make putting on and taking off the Alpha Agility easier. A removable EVA footbed and a polyester jersey lining also help keep your feet feeling good all morning. A gusset allows adjustment in the calf area, and the upper is covered in Mossy Oak Greenleaf camo. MSRP: $130; lacrossefootwear.com

Millennium Run N’ Gun Turkey Seat

Turkeys
Millennium Run N’ Gun Turkey Seat

You know how it goes: No matter how careful you are in selecting a place to sit while waiting out a gobbler, an hour later your bottom side is screaming for relief. You move—just a little—and hear an alarm putt from the other side of that big red oak. Game over. The Run N’ Gun seat helps you sit still by getting your butt off the ground, roots, rocks and everything else that makes you wince. Its Comfortmax seat fabric is supportive but flexible, and the height of the 20x17-inch platform is adjustable. With a powder-coated, aluminum frame, the Run N’ Gun weighs about 4 pounds. millenniumstands.com

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

13 Fishing Inception SZ

13 Fishing Inception SZ

Florida angling pro Jessie Mizell knows that the saltwater found in Sunshine State coastal fisheries can wreak havoc on even the best fishing gear. But with 13 Fishing's new feature laden Inception SZ saltwater baitcasting reel, tackling inshore and light tackle saltwater game fish just got a whole lot easier!

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Saltwater Trolling Motor

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Saltwater Trolling Motor

Minn Kota's Brad Henry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that there's much to like in the new Minn Kota Riptide Terrova saltwater trolling motor that comes with I-Pilot and an 87-inch shaft.

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

MLF Pro Tips: Go-To Baits for the Spawn

Major League Fishing pros talk about the first lure they choose when targeting spawning bass.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

See More Trending Articles

More Turkey

Lovesick toms throughout the West range farther than most hunters think. These tips will help you tag more of them. Turkey

Turkey Hunting: Intercept Traveling Toms

Scott Haugen - April 27, 2020

Lovesick toms throughout the West range farther than most hunters think. These tips will help...

A tom's response sometimes tells you what they're doing and—if you listen closely. Turkey

Read What a Turkey is Gobbling About

Paul Rackley - April 24, 2020

A tom's response sometimes tells you what they're doing and—if you listen closely.

Cleaning and tuning turkey calls is an important first step in ensuring they sound their best. Turkey

Turkey Calls: DIY Spring Conditioning

Larry Case - May 11, 2020

Cleaning and tuning turkey calls is an important first step in ensuring they sound their best.

A new spring brings new guns and gear for working on gobblers. Turkey

Tools for Toms: New Turkey Hunting Gear

Game & Fish Staff - April 01, 2020

A new spring brings new guns and gear for working on gobblers.

See More Turkey

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.