by Josh Dahlke
Are you ready to get down and dirty to dethrone the king of spring? If so, consider bulking up your arsenal before you strike. Here’s a handful of elite items that you can count on to take the crown from tom.
Mossberg 930 Turkey
Rain or shine, this smooth-cycling autoloader eats 2¾- or 3-inch shotshells without a hiccup. The added stability of a pistol grip makes it easier to keep it shouldered during those tense moments while you’re waiting for a strutter to reveal his rubberneck. Use the bright fiber-optic sights to center your pattern on a tom, or add a more sophisticated optic (the receiver is drilled and tapped). Available in Mossy Oak Obsession camo — an excellent pattern for disappearing in the spring foliage.
Savage 220 Turkey
A bolt-action turkey gun? With today’s modern optics and shotshells that are optimized for killing gobblers at long range, it made a lot of sense for Savage Arms to offer a turkey gun that shoots like a rifle. The 20 gauge Savage 220 Turkey comes standard with Weaver-style bases so you can easily mount a red-dot sight or scope on the receiver. An adjustable AccuTrigger allows you to personalize the trigger pull. (To purchase, you or a Savage Arms dealer must place an order with the Savage Arms Custom Rifle Shop.)
Federal Premium 3rd Degree
MSRP $22-25/five rounds)/www.FederalPremium.com
This killer turkey shotshell contains a stacked payload of three different pellet types in Federal’s Flitecontrol wad. Leaving the barrel first are the No. 6 Flitestopper lead pellets, which spread quickly to smack gobblers that you call into your lap. Next, a string of No. 5 copper-plated lead pellets head downrange to dispatch mid-range birds (20 to 40 yards). Lastly, Federal’s No. 7 Heavyweight pellets close the deal and give you insurance out to 50 yards. No matter your hunting style, this load has you covered. Get it in 12 or 20 gauge.
Winchester Long Beard XR
It’s arguably the most innovative modern turkey hunting shotshell. Long Beard XR shells contain a load of copper-plated lead pellets (No. 4, 5 or 6) that are entirely encased in Shot-Lok resin. This protective cushion prevents pellets from deforming when the primer is detonated, thereby eliminating “flyers” and keeping patterns deadly tight out to 60+ yards.
Hunter’s Specialties Undertaker Box Call
A high-quality box call is a staple in every turkey hunter’s vest. The Undertaker from Hunter’s Specialties is easy to run and it cuts through wind. Its waterproof surface means you can sing seductive songs to bring gobblers to their grave, even in the rain. Match the Undertaker box with pot and mouth calls from the full Undertaker call series.
Lynch Mob Reaper Series Pot Calls
Lynch Mob Calls are the brainchild of waterfowl hunting legend George Lynch, but the brand has expanded beyond making calls for killing honkers and quackers. In 2016, Lynch Mob released 40 brand new turkey calls, including some high-end pots found in the Reaper Series. These calls are offered with slate, glass or aluminum surfaces in multiple colors, and their quality is close to custom caliber.
Avian-X LCD Jake/Breeder Hen Combo
The rubber-bodied Lifelike Collapsible Decoys (LCDs) from Avian-X are extremely comfortable to carry. But most importantly — they’re shockingly realistic. The Avian-X line of decoys is diverse, including subspecies specific paint jobs and multiple body positions. Lean on the Jake/Breeder Hen Combo for a versatile two-pack that you can set up as a pair to challenge gobblers, or just deploy the hen to magnetize wary or subordinate birds.
For reaping and fanning gobblers, try the Turkey Fan. Its portable, umbrella-like design makes for a convenient carry. The photo-realistic fan surface is big enough for a hunter to hide behind, yet its large size doesn’t bother birds. Use the built-in viewing window to keep an eye on a tom turkey, and document his demise on video through the additional camera hole.
ALPS OutdoorZ Grand Slam Turkey Vest
Known for producing high-end, affordable hunting packs, ALPS OutdoorZ partnered with the National Wild Turkey Federation to design the Grand Slam Turkey Vest. Strap it on and you’ll immediately recognize that it was created by serious turkey hunters. This vest features a removable kickstand frame and a folding cushion, so you don’t have to worry about scrambling to find the perfect tree for a backrest. Multiple call pockets, a smartphone sleeve and side water bottle sleeves are just a few more examples of why this turkey vest gets a solid nod. Camo options: Realtree Xtra Green or Mossy Oak Obsession.
ScentBlocker FeatherLite Suit
The FeatherLite long-sleeve shirt and pant combo is ideal for staying cool during warm days in the spring turkey woods. As a super lightweight suit, it’s remarkably durable because it’s made of ripstop fabric, and laced with Trinity Technology to reduce odors, so you won’t stink up the local diner when you take an afternoon lunch break.
Sig Electro-Optics ROMEO4A
All three models in the new ROMEO series of red-dot sights from Sig Electro-Optics use Sig’s Motion Activated Illumination System (MOTAC), providing exceptional run times of up to 62,000 hours. The ROMEO4A is ideal for turkey hunters because of its low-profile mount, plus a dual reticle option allows the user to switch on the fly between a 2 MOA dot or a 65 MOA/2 MOA circle-dot reticle. Use this optic with its circle-dot reticle and you’ll adopt the motto: “Circle his head and he’s dead.”
Nikon Monarch 7 8x42mm ATB Binocular
You’ll get much more than you pay for with the Monarch All Terrain Binocular (ATB) series from Nikon. All ATB binos are waterproof, fog-proof and coated in rubber armor to handle precarious weather and hardcore abuse. Fully multi-coated lenses and a wide field of view (351 feet at 1,000 yards) make it easy to pick out boss toms from distant flocks. The 8x42mm model is lightweight and compact — ideal for running and gunning.
LaCrosse revolutionized rubber boots with the AeroHead. Its patented AeroForm Technology combines a flexible neoprene core with a strong polyurethane (rubber) shell. With these boots you’ll enjoy surprising comfort for long walks in search of longbeards, and you won’t think twice about crossing a creek to get to a secluded gobbler. Offered in various neoprene (insulation) thicknesses and multiple camo patterns.
Kenetrek Mountain Extreme
There’s a reason why so many avid goat and sheep hunters choose Kenetreks as their preferred footwear. You won’t find a tougher, more supportive hunting boot for uneven terrain and demanding hikes. Overkill for turkeys? Probably. But these are boots that you’ll own for a lifetime, and they’ll take you anywhere during any season.
Yamaha Viking EPS
If you want to reach unpressured gobblers on vast public ground, you’ll benefit greatly by having an off-road machine at your disposal. The Yamaha Viking EPS is a 686cc side-by-side that fits three grown men in its cab with room to spare. With features such as all-wheel engine braking, electric power steering and on-command four-wheel-drive, the Viking gives you total confidence for taking on tough trails — even when the rear dump bed is loaded with turkey gear.
Bad Boy Off Road Stampede 900 EPS
Bad Boy’s original recipe for success was selling electric hunting buggies, but now the company is cooking with gas to serve hunters who want to go farther and push harder. The new gas-powered, 80 hp Stampede 900 side-by-side vehicle delivers a powerful ride with supreme control and handling. Choose from more than 70 custom-fit accessories to transform this Bad Boy into a wicked hunting ride.