by Heath Wood, Mossy Oak ProStaff
Most of today's turkey hunters are guilty of buying some type of new hunting gear every spring in hopes of giving them that so-called "edge" on easily bagging a trophy tom. I wear a turkey vest filled with my turkey calls and multiple accessories on every hunt. However, there are a few must have pieces that I faithfully use that I feel make me a better turkey hunter. Here is my top 5 list of must have turkey hunting gear.
1. Turkey Calls
Obviously, the first piece of my must have turkey hunting gear is turkey calls. It is not just as simple as a box call though. I usually carry a box call, a couple of different pan calls (usually a glass and slate), and 3 to 4 different diaphragm calls along with a few different locator calls such as an owl hooter and crow call. Bringing multiple calls is the same as a fisherman bringing several different lures in his or her tackle box. There has been several occasions when I have used 3 or 4 different types of calls with no success then, as a last ditch effort, I will try another type of call and get a response. Make sure to carry multiple types of calls.
Using decoys has become a must on all my turkey hunts. I use a three pack of H.S. Strut Strut Lite decoys, which include a half strut jake, upright hen, and feeding hen. This trio of lifelike decoys keeps the attention off of me when gobblers are approaching. Decoys are especially great when bowhunting turkeys or when hunting with kids. For more info on H.S. Strut decoys, visit www.hunterspec.com.
One of my main concerns when turkey hunting is trying to stay dry and comfortable. There is nothing worse then getting my feet wet and cold then trying to hunt. It can be miserable. I always turkey hunt in rubber boots. Most recently, I have been wearing the LaCrosse Aerohead boots in Mossy Oak Bottomland. These quality boots keep my feet dry, warm, and comfortable so that I can sit longer when bringing a gobbler into shooting range. For more info on LaCrosse boots, visit www.lacrossefootwear.com.
A turkey's biggest defense is their eyesight. Turkeys can catch the slightest movement from several yards away. It's important to cover all exposed skin while turkey hunting including your hands and face. I have become a big fan of the new Nomad headnets and gloves in the NWTF series of Mossy Oak Obsession. Not only does this combo look great, they are durable, comfortable and do an excellent job of keeping me concealed. I also try to carry an extra pair of gloves and extra headnet in my vest or pack. I have been caught several times in the woods with only one glove or no headnet, so carry extras. For more info on Nomad, visit www.nomadoutdoor.com.
5. Binoculars and Rangefinder
Over the last couple of years I have become very dependent on quality optics. I almost always have my Nikon Monarch 5 binoculars with me when I am deer hunting, predator hunting, turkey hunting, or even when I am out scouting. Good optics can make a big difference on spotting birds coming in, judging the size of an animal, and so much more. I have also become fond of carrying a Nikon Monarch 7IVR Rangefinder. I use my rangefinder when setting my decoys up so that when a bird approaches, I know he is within range for my bow and/or shotgun. For more info on Nikon, visit www.nikonsportoptics.com.