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What Item to Always Have in the Back of Your Turkey Vest

ob_dash_top_turkey1John E. Phillips | March 28, 2011

When the alarm clock went-off at the hunting camp of Mark and Terry Drury of Bloomsdale, Missouri, the founders of MAD Calls and Drury Outdoors, the roar of the rain pounded the roof. I didn’t even bother to get-up. I knew we weren’t going hunting. Then I heard Mark Drury holler, “Let’s go, Bubba. You’re not going to shoot any turkeys in that bed!” I couldn’t believe we were going-out in a driving rainstorm to hunt turkeys. We couldn’t hear them gobble or see their tracks. We’d be soaking wet, and our shotguns drenched. “Mark, it’s pouring-down rain,” I said as I opened only one eye, keeping the other one shut in hopes that Drury would let me go back to sleep. “Come on, Bubba,” Drury said. “Those turkeys are wet, and if we’re going to get one, we’ll have to get wet, too.”

 As I rolled out of the bed, I took comfort in the fact that I had a Browning PacLite rain suit in Mossy Oak camouflage in my turkey vest. That rain suit stays in my turkey vest throughout the spring. It’s saved me from getting wet numerous times. Almost anywhere I hunt during the spring, there’s an unexpected rain. If you’ll be hunting turkeys, you have to hunt them when you can. Drury and I got ready to hunt. We donned our rain suits, headed for the woods, crossed a creek, went up a hill and took a stand on the edge of a small pasture. Over the rapid fire of the rain drops hitting my rain suit, I heard Drury whisper, “Those birds usually roost on top of that hill and pitch-out into this little pasture. Just at daylight I’ll give a few yelps to let them know there’s a hen here, but they’ll probably stay in the tree a little longer, because it’s raining hard.” About 30-minutes after I’d normally expect to see turkeys flying-out of a tree, three big gobblers and five hens pitched-off the top of the hill and lit on the edge of that pasture. “Okay, Bubba,” Drury said. “There are three gobblers. Shoot the one you want. Then we’ll go back to camp, get some breakfast, and then decide what to do next.” Within 10 minutes, I had a fine longbeard in the back of my hunting coat, and we were headed back to camp.

what-item-turkey-vestOn a trip to New York State, I hunted with Chris Kirby, president of Quaker Boy Calls in Orchard Park, New York and Turkey World Calling Champion. When we went to bed that night, the temperature was in the upper 40s. By the next morning, the temperature was in the 20s, a foot of snow was on the ground, a strong was wind blowing, and snow was still falling. “Chris, what are we going to do? It’s snowing,” I said. “We can’t change the weather, so we’ll just deal with it,” Kirby said. “Do you have a camouflaged rain suit?” I reached in the back of my hunting vest, pulled out my Browning Paclite rain gear in Mossy Oak camouflage and was ready for another day of turkey hunting. 

If you want to enjoy turkey hunting more this spring, be sure to keep some type of packable rain suit in your hunting vest. If the weather gets cold, the rain suit will keep you warm. If the wind starts to blow, the rain suit will break the wind. If you encounter snow, sleet, hail or rain, the rain suit will keep you dry. I’ve hunted turkeys all over North America in various weather conditions, and I’ve always been happy I’ve had my Mossy Oak rain suit with me.

Wild Turkey Success Story
By the early 1900s, most wild turkey populations had been wiped out in North America, victims of centuries of habitat destruction and commercial harvest. As late as the Great Depression, fewer than 30,000 wild turkeys remained in the entire United States. Fortunately, our nation's hunters, wildlife agencies and conservation organizations intervened and turkey populations rebounded dramatically. More than 7 million wild turkeys now roam North America, with huntable populations in every U.S. state but Alaska.

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