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Texas Rios and Turkey Hunting Gear: In-The-Field Testing

Brian McCombie

Danner Alsea

On recent turkey hunts in Texas, I had the opportunity to use a fair amount of new hunting gear while chasing after Rio Grande turkeys. Texas is great place to hunt but presents a number of obstacles to the hunter. These include snakes, cactus, large shifts in daytime temperatures, and the all-around difficult nature of the tom turkey.

But the gear I used helped make my hunts successful. Nearly all the gear was finished in a Mossy Oak camouflage patterns, too, so I didn’t have to worry about the gear sticking out and alerting a sharp-eyed tom.
Alps Outdoorz Long Spur Deluxe turkey vestALPS OutdoorZ Long Spur Deluxe Modular Turkey Harness System in Mossy Oak Obsession

The thing I really liked about the ALPS OutdoorZ Long Spur Deluxe was that it let me customize the vest for my daily hunts. Going to be gone all day? I used the full pack with its two front storage pockets, a waist belt, a lumbar pack, and a memory foam seat. The full rig held all my calls, extra shells, gloves, bottles of water and lunch. But even packed full, the Long Spur Deluxe let me move when runnin’ and gunnin’ was needed.

When time was tight and all I could manage was a quick hour or two afield, I left off the lumbar pack. The storage pockets held my calls, while the extra ammo was secured in the built-in shotgun shell loops holding five shells.

The Long Spur Deluxe also features a fully adjustable shoulder harness. The chest pockets are designed to hold a box call or two slate calls and include two mesh mouth-call pockets. The Long Spur system sports a detachable and ventilated diaphragm call holder that can contain up to three mouth calls in separate slots to keep them sorted and dry. All of this topped off with the Mossy Oak Obsession pattern! 

Danner’s Alsea 8" Boot in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country

Hunting boots in half sizes seem increasingly difficult to find. Many boot makers flat don't make half sizes, while others are perpetually “out of stock.” So, I was glad to find the lightweight Alsea 8” Boot by Danner, offered in my own Size 10.5.
For my spring hunts, I ordered the Alsea boot model without insulation. I found that the soles on the Alsea were tough enough to handle the rockiest ground, while the boot’s lateral and ankle support made for all day comfort. Made from premium full-grain leather with durable water repellent treated nylon panels, the Alsea’s are 100-percent waterproof and breathable thanks to GORE-TEX liners. 

The OrthoLite Footbed inserts provides great cushioning and support and are easily removed went it’s time to air-out the boots. For colder-weather hunts, the Alsea is also available with 400-, 600- and 1000-grams of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation.

Primos Turkey Calls

Primos launched several new calls for 2019, including the Clear Cutter box call.  I was able to produce clear, crisp hen cutts and clucks with the Clear Cutter, and the call’s thumb groove allowed my hand to act as a spring. Yelps started high and rolled off to a raspy low finish.
Primos’ Mossy Oak line of mouth calls received two new options. The Mossy Oak Eclipse Mouth Yelper offers one latex reed and two prophylactic reeds for long range volume. The combo cut produced clear and raspy yelps. I paired it with the Will Primos Signature call when I needed wanted softer yelps and clucks.

Primos turkey calls

SnakeGuardzSnake Guardz Snake Proof Chaps

Chasing turkeys in snake country requires snake protection. Snake boots are great, but the knee-high boots take up so much room in my luggage. Solution? Snake Guardz Snake Proof Chaps in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country.

Easier packed and much lighter than boots, Snake Guardz are made of tough 1000 Denier Nylon covering even tougher polycarbonate inserts. They weigh just 11 ounces apiece and are snake-proof to 17-inches high. A unique built-in toe cover offers protection to the laces area of the boot or shoe.

Simply snap the straps around your calves, tighten the straps and you are ready to go. My Snake Guardz were easy to attach and adjust and fit comfortably. I didn't need the Snake Guardz for the ultimate test - on a big rattler - but they protected my lower legs through cactus, thorny brush and all the other pickery vegetation Texas had to offer.

Styrka S7 Series 10x42 Binoculars

Styrka’s S7 Series 10x42 Binoculars are compact and durable. These binos can reach out to spot deer-sized game at 1,000 yards, but are equally at home picking up the bobbing head of a Rio tom at 40 yards in the early morning gloom. Extra-low dispersion glass and multi-coated lens produce very sharp images and great color contrast in both bright sun and very low light. 

My S7 10x42’s are 100-percent waterproof and submersion tested for 30 minutes in 3.3 feet of water, are nitrogen purged to prevent internal fogging, and are coated in a tough, rubber armor for durable, no-slip protection. If I am hunting, I have my S7’s with me.
Prefer camo-ed binos? The Styrka S3 Binoculars line up offers a 10x42 model finished in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country.
Styrka binos

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