Prep now for turkey hunting

Imagine sitting in the woods on a spring morning with wildflowers in bloom, trees budding bright green and birds overhead migrating back to Minnesota. Then a turkey gobbles in the distance, responding to a turkey call.

Minnesota’s transformation from the deep snow and sub-zero temperatures of winter to leafy green spring scenes will be here before you know it. If you’re hoping to hunt wild turkeys this spring, the cold winter months are actually a great time to prepare for the upcoming season. Here are a few starter tips.

Practice shooting. By practicing at a shooting range with the gun and ammo you’ll be using, you can figure out how close the turkey needs to be before you shoot. The specific gun and ammo combination will dictate the distance at which enough shotgun pellets are clustered in the head and neck area of a turkey to effectively harvest the bird.

Scout for turkeys. Take a walk in the woods or a drive through the countryside to see where to hunt in the spring. Turkey tracks are easier to see in the snow. If you see turkeys in a field, you can use that as a starting place to locate public land or seek permission from landowners to hunt private land.

Get gear ahead of time. Consider investing in a quality pair of cold-weather boots and something to sit on to stay warm and dry. Go for camouflage or Earth-toned clothing and avoid colors that turkeys and other hunters identify with turkeys, such as red, white and blue. When considering turkey calls, beginners would do well with box calls or push-button calls, which are simple to use.

Spring turkey hunting begins in Minnesota on Wednesday, April 12. For more turkey hunting tips, check out the DNR learn to hunt turkey page.