John's Journal...

A Successful Turkey Hunterís Checklist

How to Keep Your Equipment Organized

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: I've hunted turkeys for more than 30 years. I consider myself somewhat of an expert, not because I know all about turkey hunting, but because I've made every mistake a hunter can make at least twice. While turkey hunting, I've learned first-hand what won't work, and what equipment you must have for success afield. This week, I’ll share my checklist with you and discuss why each item is essential to take make my hunt much-more successful and comfortable. I keep all my equipment packed in my turkey vest and my hunting pack throughout the season, adding and subtracting items as I use them. Then I know I'm ready to attack the day more confidently when I hear that first gobbler talk to the tall timbers at the christening of a new day. Turkey hunting continues through May in more than 30 states and 2 Canadian provinces, and Maine has turkey hunting through the first week of June. If you don’t already take this gear with you into the field, add it now. These tools make my turkey-hunting trips more fun and productive. However, none of this equipment is helpful if you can’t find it. Keep your Click to enlargeequipment organized so you can find it when you need it.

I carry a stuff sack – a 1-gallon Ziploc bag – to put my extra stuff in – little essentials that can make my turkey-hunting trip much more productive and comfortable. I'll include items like toilet paper, extra sandpaper for my friction calls, a small bottle of extra insect repellant, chalk for my box calls, extra strikers, extra batteries for my GPS receiver, a small compass to use if for some reason my GPS receiver breaks-down, Band-Aids, a couple of candy bars, waterproof matches, a space blanket and other emergency gear. I've never deliberately intended to spend the night in the woods when I've hunted wily toms, but it can and does happen to hunters each year.    

To carry all this stuff, you'll need a well-stitched turkey vest made of heavy-duty cloth that has a comfortable seat built in it and a number of pockets that open and close easily without Velcro where you canClick to enlarge place your gear. Always spend extra time and money to find and buy the most-comfortable and functional turkey-hunting vest you can.    

Look for these features in a turkey-hunting vest . . .     
* a snap strap to pull the shoulders straps together in front of your chest, which will distribute the weight in the vest more evenly and will allow you to carry your turkey and your gear out of the woods much easier;    
* numerous external pockets for box calls and slate calls and other gear like sandwiches and a water bottle;    
* shell loops that keep your shells out of the bottoms of your pockets, yet within easy reach;    
* dClick to enlargeeep, front-side, internal, easy-to-open pockets where you can put your mask, gloves, a couple of friction calls and other gear that you need to reach quickly. When I sit down to call-in a gobbler, I'll usually take my arms out of the straps of my vest and fold my vest back, which makes these two inside pockets the closest and most accessible to me;    
* a large, deep game bag that snaps together at the top and allows me to lay my turkey in it by simply unsnapping and then resnapping the top of my game bag but that still has enough room to hold my rainsuits, waders, tennis shoes, my stuff bag and an orange flag that I can attach to the back of my vest for safety when I carry a turkey back to my vehicle;    
* a drop seat that comes down easily and has plenty of cushioning and back support for comfort. This seat needs a design that will make it fit into any kind of stump, root system or bush where I may take a seat, yet won't be in the way if I leave it down when I change locations quickly to re-position on a bird. I want a turkey hunter to design the vest I wear. Personally I consider a quality turkey vest second only to my gun and my shells in importance to my turkey-hunting success. A very-good turkey hunter can take a turkey without a call, but few turkey hunters can bag their birds if they can't carry their gear easily and sit comfortably for some time.     

Check back each day this week for more about "A Successful Turkey Hunterís Checklist"

Day 1: Even the Best Hunter Needs a Checklist
Day 2: Equipment for the Shot
Day 3: What You Need to Stay Comfortable
Day 4: Tools of the Trade
Day 5: How to Keep Your Equipment Organized


Entry 509, Day 5