If you’re like most American families, the Thanksgiving meal revolves around the turkey. Big, plump, and juicy, that bird is an icon of the holiday. While you might pay quite a bit for one at the store, there is an alternative. You can go hunting for your own gobbler. We have some inflation-busting tips to help you get started.
When hunting, always use caution for everyone’s safety. Check out our articles on gun safety, youth hunting classes and training, hunting and family togetherness, hunting traditions, sustainability, and understanding ammunition.
Always Think Safety
Back in the early 1900s, the turkey population in the U.S. began to plummet. Everyone thought turkeys would just keep prospering regardless of open hunting seasons and a lack of management. Thankfully, thanks to repopulation efforts and an understanding of the turkey’s new prime habitat (near farmland), turkey populations began to grow. By the 1980s, there were over 1 million turkeys in the U.S. Today, there are over 7 million. With those kinds of numbers, turkeys are in season at least one time per year in nearly every state in the nation.
Turkeys are Plentiful in the Pacific Northwest
First, hunting a turkey doesn’t require a lot of gear, preparation, or planning. The seasons are clearly outlined, tags are easy to obtain, and bringing home your own bird for Thanksgiving can be a wonderful family tradition. The only downside to wild turkeys is often the size. While you might be used to buying a 25-pound turkey at the store, you’ll be lucky to find a wild bird that size. Generally, males weigh around 15-pounds and females are upwards of 10-pounds. You might need to bring home two trophies to feed the whole family.
Why Hunt Turkeys?
Hunting Seasons in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho
All three states have a spring and fall turkey hunting season. Find your state guide below. Each one features bag limits, season timelines, license requirements, and helpful tips on where to hunt in your region.
Everyone has their preferred hunting techniques and locations, but you’ll generally find turkeys in and around farmland. Therefore, you will want to find public land that sits adjacent to or nearby established fields and farmland. IMPORTANT: Do not cross fences or hunt on private property without permission. Doing so can get you in trouble with landowners and law enforcement. Once you find a place to hunt, it’s important to note that turkeys roost in trees and come down in the early morning to eat fresh vegetation, seeds, plants, small lizards, frogs, and grasshoppers. While searching for a flock of turkeys, you’ll likely find their tracks first. Tracks are about four inches long. They have three long toes that face forward and one inch-long toe that faces back. Male turkeys will leave behind a light tail wing drag over their tracks. Droppings are shaped like an elongated J.
How to Find a Turkey
Turkey hunting is not as intense as other forms of hunting. Simply dress for the weather. You want to be comfortable, warm, and dry. You also want to be visible to other hunters. Dress in layers so you can remove clothing if you or the weather gets warm. A pair of waterproof boots are a must.
Get the Right Gear
Legal firearms for turkey hunting include pump-action and semi-automatic shotguns. The most popular gauges are 12- and 20-gauge. Some regions allow 10-gauge shotguns for turkey hunting. Other options include crossbows as well as special arrows used with a compound bow.
Bring the Right Firearm or Bow
Once you’ve bagged a turkey, there are rules on how you take it home. Always leave the feathered head attached to each carcass. That includes field-dress turkeys.
Getting Your Turkey Home
We have firearms, ammunition, clothing, boots, calls, and folks who know a thing or two about hunting turkeys in your area. Stop by today and go home with everything you need for a successful hunt and a wonderful new Thanksgiving tradition.
Coastal Has Your Turkey Hunting Gear
Review Gun Safety Rules
At Coastal we believe in gun safety. That’s why we’ve created our own 5 Rules of Gun Safety.
Rule #1 – All guns are Always loaded – Always. This simply means you must always treat every gun as if it’s loaded. Always assume that every gun you come into contact with is loaded until you have physically verified it for yourself. Don’t ever rely on anyone’s word for it. When you hold a gun in your hand, you are responsible for it and anything that occurs while in your possession. If you don’t know how a gun works, leave it alone and find a knowledgeable person to show you.
Rule #2 – Never point a firearm at anything you’re not willing to shoot – Ever. You must always be aware of where your gun is pointed at all times. Never point a gun at anything you are not willing to destroy. This is the rule that saves lives. You MUST exercise due caution and diligence when handling a firearm.
Rule #3 – Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard. Always keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until your sights are on target, and you have made the conscious decision to shoot. If you have your finger on the trigger and you are startled in some way, your brain will react with a primitive response that will tighten every muscle in the body, including the trigger finger.
Rule #4 – Be sure of your target and what’s beyond and around it. The hand that holds the gun is responsible for whatever is done by that gun. If you fire a gun, you are responsible – no matter where it lands or what it hits. You must know where your shot will go when you fire it. You must know what it might hit if you miss your intended target. And you must know what it can go through and still have enough energy/power to kill or hurt.
Rule #5 – Always lock up your guns. Whether you use a trigger lock, handgun safe or a cabinet safe, always keep your firearms locked. As a responsible gun owner, you know that your gun is always loaded (refer to Rule #1), but not everyone is aware of these rules. Children are naturally curious and there’s always a chance someone could find your firearms. Keep them locked and away – it’s smart, and it’s easy