The early days of turkey season typically find most hunters with a vest full of calls, gadgets and gear. For a lot of hunters, the turkey vest can often resemble a mobile sporting goods store, with nearly every turkey hunting product imaginable crammed deep into the pockets.
However, as the season wears on, the number of tools in a turkey hunter’s vest tends to lessen with each passing trip to the woods. We started out with 2 pot calls, a half dozen strikers, our favorite box call, tube call, trumpet, mouth calls in every pocket, chalk, scuff pads, Thermacell, knives, mask, gloves, water bottles, and whole roll of toilet paper. However, in the final weeks of season, or anytime we want to travel with a minimalist approach, we cut the fat and carry nothing more than the essentials.
So if you’re looking for a great option that’ll allow you to lighten your load with the ultimate, lightweight run-n-gun setup, check out this minimalist pack approach for late season turkey hunting.
Lighten the Load
Whether it’s the late season, or some of my public land options accessed by kayak, I often carry a different pack than what I tote to the woods in the early days of the season. These hunts typically find me with a minimalist approach to the gear in my pockets. I like to be light, mobile and quiet as possible when slipping in tight on gobblers. At this point of the season, I’ve narrowed things down to just the basics. I carry my binos, a few of my favorite calls, my phone, gun and shells.
I still carry a variety of mouth calls to produce a wide range of sounds, as well as a single pot call and striker for greater reach, or when trying to locate a bird. I go light at this time of the year. I’m not carrying multiple pots, and I don’t need 5 different strikers. My box call sounds great, but it’s bulky. It usually doesn’t make the cut. I simply carry the packable calls that tuck tightly into my run-n-gun pack. With these calls, I can make most any and every turkey sound I need to sound like an entire flock, or a sweet lonely hen.
The key is to think about what you need. If you haven’t used it all season, you might consider turning it loose from the pack. Do you really need several boxes of shotgun shells? And maybe you can get by with a paper towel square, rather than a whole roll of toilet paper. Again, take inventory of the stuff you have crammed in your turkey vest. Have you ever used it? Do you really need it? Now is the time to lighten the load.
The Minimalist Pack
So what is this small, yet mighty, pack I speak of? The minimalist pack that’s become my go-to late season option is the Kodiak Cub Max bino harness from Alaska Guide Creations. That’s right! The ultimate run-n-gun minimalist turkey pack is really just a bino harness with ample space to stuff your turkey essentials.
Now, some would say that binos aren’t essential for the turkey hunter. But after making a number of grueling spot-n-crawl sneak attacks on burnt stumps, old tires, or jake turkeys, I’ve come to realize binos are in fact essential gear. And they are the foundational gear that’s stored in this ultra-light pack. Tucked in beside them I place a pair of snips for brushing up a hide when I need it, or cutting briars away from my backside.
I stash mouth calls in the side pockets, a pot call and striker in the back zippered pocket, and a supply of Apex Ammunition underneath in the bottom pocket. There’s even enough room in there to keep all the toilet paper a man, or woman, might need.
Mobile and Maneuverable
Don’t get me wrong. I love the comfort of a butt cushion attached to a turkey vest. Or better yet, a folding turkey lounger chair. But when the operations call for fast paced run-n-gun maneuvers, this little minimalist pack is what I prefer. I can wear it while I kayak down the creek or river, always having my tools within easy reach.
It frees me from having to remove my vest every time I jump in and out of the boat, truck or UTV. It keeps all my gear super handy when I’m crawling around into position on a hard-headed gobbler. It’s got just what I need for the ultimate in mobility and maneuverability. Nothing more, nothing less.
A verse in the Bible says, “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down…” That’s good advice for life, and the turkey woods. What is it that you need to lay aside to lighten the load for a minimalist approach to kill a late season longbeard?
Be sure to check out the complete lineup of packs and harnesses from Alaska Guide Creations.