Spring is upon us, which means turkey hunting season in Colorado is in full swing. From April through May every year, folks can hunt these remarkable wild birds. Don’t worry if you can’t make the spring season, though. The fall hunting season starts up in September and runs through October, with a late-hunting season following shortly after.
If you live in the Grand Junction region or are planning a visit, here are some tips to prepare for your next turkey hunt!
1. SIGHT IN YOUR SHOTGUN
Before you head to the field, make sure to spend time at a local range sighting in your shotgun. A properly sighted-in shotgun will create a consistent pattern that will ensure a successful hunt and bountiful day in the field.
2. CHECK ALL OF YOUR GEAR
Having the right gear and equipment is incredibly important. Make sure to have camo that suits the terrain, quality hunting boots and layered clothing, binoculars for spotting, a first-aid kit, and a trusty knife — a handy tool to have for notching your turkey tag!
3. EVIDENCE OF GENDER
Spring turkey hunting is for toms only. Don't forget to leave evidence of sex on your harvested turkey. A turkey harvested in the spring must have its beard naturally attached while being transported.
4. KNOW THE LAWS
Spend time researching the current regulations for the Game Management Unit (GMU) you plan to hunt in, including private-land boundaries, legal hunting hours, and method of take for the season.
5. KNOW YOUR TARGET
As with all hunting opportunities, be absolutely sure of your target and what lies beyond it. Never shoot at sound or movement, and be confident that you can properly identify the turkey before pulling the trigger.
6. STAY ALERT
When using a turkey call, hunters may mistake your call for a real turkey. Remember to stay aware of your surroundings and clearly identify yourself if other hunters are in the vicinity.
7. CHOOSE GOOD COVER
Choose hunting locations that provide cover for your back but also give you visibility. Your calling position should have a solid background as wide as your shoulders and higher than your head while providing you with 180-degree visibility — don’t hide so well that you can’t see what’s happening. Sit still; both turkeys and hunters may see even slight movements.
8. KNOW WHAT NOT TO WEAR
Turkeys have incredible eyesight. It is recommended not to wear red, white, or blue clothing because you could resemble a mature male turkey (who also sport these colors). Alert other hunters to your presence by hanging fluorescent material like a hunter-orange cap or vest above your calling spot and wearing hunter orange while going to and from your hunting spot.
9. DON'T ATTEMPT TO STALK
Don't attempt to stalk a turkey. Instead, let the birds come to you. Turkey hunters use a variety of calls to attract the birds, so stalking what may seem like a bird can increase your chances of an accident with a fellow hunter. Find a good location to sit and call birds to you. If you see another hunter approaching, don’t use turkey calls to alert the hunter. Instead, in a clear, loud voice, say, “Hunter."
10. MARK YOUR BLIND
Portable blinds and tree stands set up on State Wildlife Areas (SWA’s) must be removed at the end of the day. Blinds or stands do not reserve a hunting spot and should not be left overnight. In addition, blinds and stands require clear markings with a hunter’s identification.
BONUS TIP — Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 970-255-6162 or visit their website if you have any questions about hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, or boating, hiking and camping at one of our State Parks.
With over 1 million acres of public land access, Grand Junction is the perfect place to plan your next turkey hunt. The Western Slope of Colorado is rich in outdoor recreation activities that stretch far beyond hunting!
Discover more ways to explore Colorado’s great outdoors by viewing the official Grand Junction Visitor Guide.