To be an effective turkey hunter, you’ve got to bring the right gear and pack it well. Wil Askew from Pursue the Outdoors offers excellent guidelines for doing just that.
Many of us spend March practicing our turkey calls and scouting. We also pattern our guns and check our camo, but a lot of the time we still manage to hit the woods unprepared.
That’s because spring is a volatile time in the weather world.
How many times have you left the truck with the stars shining overhead only to have a downpour or cold snow soak you to the bone?
Here’s what I bring to stay dry, comfortable and safe while turkey hunting:
- Backpack: With a pack I can carry my decoys, extra calls, shells, hydration pack and strap my turkey seat to the back. After bagging a bird, I drop it in the pack and walk out hands free.
- Packable rain gear: While there are many good brands, I carry a packable set of Mad Dog rain gear. The parka and pants fold up to nothing and are perfect for sudden rain storms.
- First aid: It’s best to get a small kit that has a few items and add things as you see fit. Kits are available at most sporting goods stores.
- Area map: Many programs out on the market today can produce highly detailed topographical maps of the area you plan to hunt. I like to use a larger Zip-Loc bag to keep my maps dry and readable.
- GPS: A GPS is capable of such accuracy that it’s worth its weight. From basic to advanced, they all do the same thing: mark your movement from point A to B, keeping track of you and keeping you safe to hunt another day.
- Headlamp: Walking into the woods in the dark and being able to keep your hands warm is a great asset. Many new headlamps use a LED lighting system that really disburses the light.
- Hydration: I like to carry a 2-liter hydration pack which features a hose that wraps around to your chest and a mouthpiece you bite down on to suck water. These packs come in different sizes, are very durable and can last for many years. Camelback and Platypus both make good hydration packs.
- Boots/footwear: Make sure your pair is form-fitting, feels good while you’re putting on the miles – and they’re waterproof. There is a big difference between waterproof and water-resistant; look for boots that offer Gore-Tex or Sympatex material. Lug soles provide best traction and won’t clump in wet, muddy ground.
- Optics: A good pair of binoculars can aid in determining the size of a trophy bird. At a distance you can tell if the bird you’re watching is a tom or a hen and how many may be approaching you. With a quick glance you can take a good look at the spurs and beard length.
- Camera: Take the time to capture some great photos to share with friends and family. Always turn on your flash, even on sunny days. The flash acts as a fill, and will help delete unwanted shadows, especially under your hat.
- Clippers: These are great $5 tools to clip brush and debris from your set-up.
- Collapsible turkey seat: You won’t believe how much comfort seats add, helping you sustain those long, agonizing waits for a turkey. They also get your body off the ground and help keep you warm.
Think safe and stay warm and dry the next time you’re out there!