My top 10 preseason preparations will help you have your best season

To be a consistently successful spring turkey hunter, you need to prepare long before opening day. As a professional turkey hunter who travels to many states and as a television cameraman/field producer, I have a ton of things to do to prepare for my annual ‘Chasing Spring’ expedition and battle with the feathered warriors.

1. Gear and turkey call checklist

Now is the time to inventory your calls and hunting equipment—don’t wait until the evening before the season opener. Match proper strikers with pots, slate and glass, clean and tune box calls, replenish chalk and sandpaper. Break in multiple diaphragm mouth calls, insert toothpick between reeds to separate, rinse with water, then place in a plastic bag and put in the freezer until you get closer to the season. Meanwhile, practice with older mouth calls.

As the king of losing things during the heat of battle, I have a great tip for keeping track of your mouth calls. I use a snuff can I made with an attachment for my mouth call.  I just snap it on my shirt or jacket and my mouth calls are in easy reach and I don’t lose them

Organize your calls, clean and tune, then and always put together two sets in case of loss or breakage. If you use a turkey vest, put two vests together, keep the second vest in your hunting rig. I use a backpack for my calls and camera gear.  When I set up, I simply place the open backpack on the ground next to me for easy access to calls and camera accessories. Make sure your Thermacell bug repellent device is replenished and packed and also pack a quality first-aid kit. Put fresh batteries in flashlights and cap lights and back extra batteries. Organize and pack your camera gear.

2. Practice, practice, practice

Make calling practice schedule and practice religiously. It makes all the difference during hunting season. While sessions indoors are better than nothing during bad weather or at night, practicing outdoors is much better for realism. Mouth call practice in the truck is not only valuable, but could possibly save your marriage. Set up in the woods, with a video camera 50 or 60 yards away from you, then run through your different calls and listen to the recording. This is what the gobbler hears and it helps with realism in your calling.

3. Study turkeys: reading, videos, observations

Read everything you can find about regulations, laws and the rules of the state you will hunt. Study websites; pick up regulations pamphlets and keep one in the truck. Check and double check that you have the proper permits and tags before you hunt.

Watch TV shows and DVDs about turkey hunting, not so much for the host or hunters, but to watch and listen to turkeys. Watch the hunts and analyze what they did or didn’t do. Listen to recordings or watch videos of wild turkeys. Take it all in as part of training for the upcoming season.

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Source: Ray Eye/