It’s almost here. Well, for some, it’s already here! Whether your state opened in March or you’ve got to wait until April 1st, let’s make sure we’re all prepared for turkey season. If you’re among those die-hard turkey hunters who eat, sleep, and eat turkey hunting in the springtime or who would like to, then you’d better get your gear ready. While a turkey hunting vest isn’t mandatory, it’s highly recommended and should be mandatory. There are many makes and models of turkey hunting vests on the market today. First, you need to go try on some brands and see how they fit and how versatile they are. I like one with adjustable shoulder straps that includes a chest strap to reduce weight on your back and shoulders. Also, the adjustable shoulder straps are priceless when hauling out a tom. This keeps the vest from hitting my legs as I walk and keeps the vest from shifting when walking steep terrain. It also reduces the amount of noise I make in the field during a spot and stalk hunt or shifting around a tree when gobblers come in from other directions. Most importantly, your turkey vest is like your own mobile office.
A good vest will keep you in the woods longer
Turkey hunting is the manipulation of communication. The pursuit of gobblers can be maddening one day and easy the next. We scout, hike, and call for those fractions of a second a gobble cracks the silence. If you’ve never had a gobbler fall silent after a fiery morning on the roost, then you have not hunted gobblers long enough. Getting ghosted by a big gobbler after fly-down is one of the most frustrating aspects of hunting spring gobblers; yet, if you can stay positioned and not spook any birds, you are still in the game. That big tom responded to you off the roost, understand he acknowledged your presence in his roundhouse. Secondly, he remembers where you were. In the late morning or early afternoon (depending on your state regulations), return to where you had last heard him gobble and make your setup. During this time of the day, especially as the spring rolls on, hens leave the tom to tend their nests, leaving toms vulnerable to calls mid-morning and throughout the day. This tactic can require some patience but has long been a card in the proverbial deck of seasoned turkey hunters. A good turkey vest will keep you in that position longer for the opportunity at that big gobbler. Here are some turkey vest essentials that will make your spring gobbler hunt more enjoyable and ultimately more successful.
Turkey Vest Checklist
- box call/chalk
- slate and glass call with extra strikers
- diaphragm calls
- a piece of sandpaper to keep striker tips and friction surfaces abrasive
- locator calls: crow and owl
- face mask
- hat and gloves
- shears for cutting shooting lanes
- pop-up blind with a chair
- shooting Stick
- binoculars and a rangefinder
- water bottle/snacks or a lunch
- athletic Mobility boots or knee-high boots in swampy areas
- mossy Oak camouflage shirt, pants, jacket, and rain suit
- backpack depending on the length of hunt
- extra-large Ziploc bags to keep strikers and chalk dry
- zip ties and pen to fill out tags
- bug spray and/or a https://www.thermacell.com/
- trail camera to drop in when you won’t be there for a few days to see when gobblers are using strut zones.
Want to share your turkey vest tips? Leave us a comment. We’d like to hear what turkey hunting gear techniques have been helpful to you.