Survey Says: Turkey Hunting Guides Share Their Top Gear and Tactics

From decoy setups to sight systems and calling tactics, our guides and outfitters gave us an inside look at how they ensure clients' success.

May 21, 2018 #hunting#biggame


Guidefitter is home to tens of thousands professional guides and outfitters, all eager to share their knowledge and help you fulfill your dream hunt.

With more and more beards and spurs being uploaded to our braggin’ wall every day, we wondered: What’s the trick to outsmarting these quick-witted birds?

Answer: Go straight to the source, to the guys and gals who “can’t stop the flop,” and make their living putting clients on trophy gobblers.

From decoy setups to sight systems and calling tactics, our guides and outfitters gave us an inside look at how they ensure clients’ success. Whether you’re rounding out the season with a DIY hunt or planning next year’s guided turkey hunt to fulfill your grand slam, pack these tips in your turkey vest. You’ll be glad you did.

About the Results

We surveyed our network of professional turkey hunting guides in May 2018. The survey was distributed via email and conducted via an online survey system. Participation was voluntary; no purchase necessary.

The numbers below represent the percent of total responses.

On Gear

Durable, effective gear tops every hunter’s wish list, and no one puts gear to the test quite like professional hunting guides. From camo and boots to firearms and ammunition, hunting guides get hands-on experience with various brands, whether it’s gear they’ve used themselves, or gear clients bring to camp.

As such, they know what works, what’s reliable – and what leads to the highest success rates.

“Learning the different call sequences, when to use those calls, and how loud to call is more important than the tone itself,” said George P., guide for Pickett Hill Guide Service, Vermont. “Prepare for your hunt by getting out prior to the season. Watch the birds in their normal habitat without a shotgun as you practice patience and not spooking the quarry.”


On Tactics

The hunting community is often divided on which tactics work best for turkey hunting. Yes, these often vary with local turkey habits and populations. But according to the guides, these approaches work time and time again.

“The most productive thing that a hunter can do is to scout their birds ahead of time and know where they will be at various times of the day,” said Tanner H., guide for Rio Rojo Outfitters, Oklahoma. “Your odds of calling a bird in go up tremendously if you’re set up somewhere he expects to find hens.”


On Best Practices

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s this: No one knows local turkeys like guides and outfitters. Often, they spend more time scouting than we spend hunting with the ultimate goal of putting you on a bird.

Making the shot, however, is up to you, and it usually comes down to patience.

“Patience kills a lot of birds,” said Bill C., guide for Western Kentucky Outfitters. “Often, I feel people give up on a bird too soon, when sitting it out a bit longer for the bird to show up would have probably led to packing (the bird) out on their back.”

“Be careful not to over-call a tom just because he's responding,” said Scott V., guide for Chariton Valley Outfitters, Iowa. “Be patient. As with most wildlife, turkeys are curious. Let him come to you.”


Looking for more information on guided turkey hunts? Connect with a guide, ask a question or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Like what you see? Stay tuned for results from our upcoming guide survey on freshwater, fly and deep-sea fishing.

What else would you like to know from our guide network? Let us know in the comments below.

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