Wow! I can’t wait! I had such great success last year in New Hampshire that I am beside myself with thoughts of calling in a mature Tom this year with a long beard. The key to a successful hunt is to be prepared and that begins with good identification skills of a male Tom, knowing the differences of a hen and being safe yourself.
NEW HAMPSHIRE SAFETY TIPS AND BIRD ID’s HERE (Be sure to read it and understand it) :
“Hunters are, therefore, legally obligated to know the difference between hens and gobblers. This skill can be acquired through reading, field observation, watching videos, and attending a turkey hunting seminar”.
I highly recommend the 2014 Turkey Hunting seminar on March 31 April 7th. See website below.
Gotta hava beard, gotta hava beard, gotta hava beard along with Red, White and blue head markings, size and other key features such as color of feathers. e.g., A Tom is almost black except for the head where a hen is more brown.
A beard is not a 100% positive ID of a Tom however.
Experts say 10 to 20 percent of females grow beards too so be on the lookout if you can tell the difference. Not illegal to shoot a female with a beard but if you can pass on them, its is better for the population. Photo’s from the Wild Turkey Federation website.
Full Camo for your body, face and your shotgun or bow. Leave nothing to chance if you wanna play to win. Just so you know, I am no expert at turkey hunting as I am always learning. I am just like you, trying my best. Turkeys can appear and melt into the forest like ghosts if you are detected. A full face mask is a must along with a camo hat and coat and firearm. There are tons of face masks out there. I will be trying a HooRag face mask this spring. http://www.hoorag.com/camouflage-bandanas/ I like the patterns too. I even purchased some camo band aids for around my eyes. On order from the website below.
and some pin on camo leaves you can find on Amazon.com. Just ordered them! Here are some photo’s of the seamless face masks I have. Below is a proven Mossy Oak face mask and below that a deer camo mask from Hoo Rag. I have just purchased some pin on oak leaves too in green and brown for 12 dollars a bag from Amazon. I will pin a few green ones to my hat as well. wear some hunter orange when moving in the woods too like a hat. Never wear red white or blue as Toms are in similar head colors.
I have long since been an advocate of the Remington 870 Pump 12 gauge shotgun. I have killed many deer and a few turkeys with it. I use my goose barrel which is long with a full choke. Don’t leave it to chance. You want to pattern your shotgun each season with the loads you intend to hunt with. Outdoor Life has a great article on turkey loads to read below.
More as May 3rd approaches.