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My turkey vest.... what's in yours?

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My turkey vest.... what's in yours?

Old 01-05-2011, 09:09 AM
Fork Horn
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wvOHIOfan's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: WV/OH
Posts: 270
Default My turkey vest.... what's in yours?

I get excited as each New Year comes. It seems like the flip of the calendar ignites a little fire inside me(actually, the fire never goes away). We're officially into 2011 and headed for another upcoming Spring gobbler season.

I'd like to share any ideas, tips, tricks, and stories with other turkey hunters.

To give you an idea of my gear and style:

I hunt with a Mossberg 835. I shoot Nitro 4x5x7 Hevi's through a .690 Primos Jellyhead choke. This combo gives me 300 pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yards(lasered).
I don't usually take shots over 40 yards, in fact the longest shot I have ever taken was 46 yards..... but with this combo I could kill them at 60.

I own about 20 slate/glass/box calls....but in all honesty I do not carry them into the woods with me. I use diaphram calls exclusively. I actually called in competition from 1987-1998 and did pretty well. I don't say this to toot my own horn, only to serve as reason for not carrying boxes and slates. I can make all the sounds a hen can make with my diaphrams so in my opinion, the other calls that I will never use, just weigh me down. I know that it's nice to throw different sounds at gobblers on occasion but I have several different diaphram calls that give me the different sounds that I look for.

This isn't to say that slates, boxes, and tubes don't have their place in the woods.... they just aren't in my vest. Speaking of Turkey vest... here's an actual list of exactly what I keep in my Turkey vest. I like to travel light because of these steep WV hills.

Gloves, Full Headnet, 3 shells go into gun with 3 in my vest, Palmers hoot tube, Mini-Mag flashlight, Mouth call container holding 5 mouth calls, Toilet paper in (2) ziploc bags, Bottled Water, a paper tape measurer, Hunting license, Pen, (1) safety pin, Topo map of area I'm hunting in(optional), Inflatable cherokee sports hen decoy(optional).

I want to speak on the contents of my vest and why I choose to leave some things out of it. The gloves and headnet are obvious. I prefer the full headnet to the 3/4 net or paint. It's just my personal preference. 3 shells into my gun and 3 are in my vest. To this day I have no idea why I continue to do this even after almost 30 years. Never in my life have I fired more than 3 shots on any hunt. I did manage to blow one easy hunt about 15 years ago where I shot at 1 stunned gobbler 3 times before he decided to leave town. Other than that debacle, I've never needed more than the 3 shells that I initially put into my gun, yet I always pack along 3 extras. I guess I'm afraid that someday I'll be confronted with a pack of feral dogs or a rogue Black Bear and might need them and for that reason they will always stay there. I call them my insurance policy.

My Palmers hoot tube isn't really a necessity as I can hoot with my natural voice. However, it sounds SO real and authentic that I can't help but pack it along. Normally, if I know where the birds are roosted and I get in close, I won't hoot at all, but if I'm unsure of exactly where the birds are roosted and want to get an early fix on their location, I most certainly will utilize the hoot tube. The flashlight is an obvious item. Then comes my mouth calls which go with me on every hunt. I actually keep a paddle box and a tube call in the vehicle for some long distance locating situations along with binocs and a pretty boy decoy. The pretty boy and binocs only go on specific hunts which involve a field, gasline, right of way, rain, or combination of the 4. I've found that I don't need binocs in the timber and 90% of my hunts/kills are in the timber. Also, I don't carry crow calls because I have had much more success locating gobblers using excited hen cutting.

Notice I carry my toilet paper in 2 ziploc bags instead of 1. I do this because if I do kill a gobbler I take the 2nd ziploc and wrap the gobblers head in it before I stick him in my vest. Even though our turkey vests have lining in their pouches the blood can and will soak through if the bird bleeds a lot and this is a mess considering it can drip onto the back of your camo pants and then be unknowingly transferred onto the seats of your vehicle..... Do I sound like I've learned from experience? I have. Some gobblers bleed more than others but that 2nd ziploc sure does eliminate a lot of the mess. Meanwhile my TP is dry in the other ziploc. I carry a 16 oz bottle of water for those long hikes but rarely drain it, the paper tape measurer is for checking beards and spurs right away! As a die hard turkey hunter I'm just itching to find out how long the beard and spurs are on the turkeys that I take so I carry it along.

The hunting License, pen, safety pin, and the paper tape measurer actually go into the first ziploc with the TP. The hunting license and pen are obvious......but the safety pin was an idea I picked up from a long time turkey hunter many years ago. If I harvest a gobbler I simply fill out my tag and attach it to his snood with a safety pin. I know many hunters use twist ties to attach the tags to the legs but I've always preferred the safety pin. If I'm unsure of the ground that I am on I will carry a topo but after 30 years on the same properties I rarely carry a topo.

As far as decoys go, some hunters swear by them and others swear at them. Up until Wal Mart started carrying the new inflatable decoys I rarely hunted with decoys outside of the situations I described earlier. In fact, it's tough for me to recall more than 5 kills involving decoys. However, these new cherokee sports inflatables with the real molded heads look REAL and can be blown up and set in seconds. They fit in a small pocket and weigh ounces. I found even the Featherflex decoys to be inconvenient but these little babies are compact. If you happen to shoot one and ruin it you can get another for 9 dollars..... unbeatable. In the last 2 years I have used the lone standing hen with a lot of success.... it just depends on the particular hunt. In the past I refused to carry a hen decoy because it was inconvenient. Now, even though I may not set it out, I always have the option of a hen decoy in the woods with me. I actually lost the detachable head last spring on my way to a hot gobbler but he didn't seem to mind that his potential date had lost her head because he strolled right on in and cozied up to her. In the end I deflated both of them as 3 or 4 stray BB's ended the decoys life as well.

If it's raining sometimes I will throw a 2nd set of thin gloves into a ziploc and then into my vest as well. Cold wet hands on a frosty WV morning are uncomfortable.
Video cameras and hunting buddies do come along on some hunts.

This is what I carry in my turkey vest and what works for me. Maybe some of you can share what you'll be carrying in your vest this spring. It is my hope that every Turkey Hunter will have a safe and successful 2011 Spring gobbler season.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:59 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Southern Va
Posts: 340

Gloves, headnet, owl call, crow call, slate call, box call, water, pruners, thats about it. I've only been turkey hunting for four years so theres still alot to learn......and kill!
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:12 PM
Nontypical Buck
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pa
Posts: 4,647

Dont carry a tape measure... I've been doing this long enough... I can tell you what the beard length within a 1/2in and spur length prob to the 1/16th...

To me carring a tape measure around in the woods with you seems a little egotistical...
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:48 AM
Fork Horn
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Location: WV/OH
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Originally Posted by Mr. Longbeard
Dont carry a tape measure... I've been doing this long enough... I can tell you what the beard length within a 1/2in and spur length prob to the 1/16th...

To me carring a tape measure around in the woods with you seems a little egotistical...

Isn't it a bit ironic that you claim I am egotistical for carrying a tape measurer, yet you brag that you can tell how long beards and spurs are without a tape? If carrying a paper tape measurer into the woods with me makes me egotistical then I am guilty as charged. What a joke.
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:21 AM
Fork Horn
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Eagleville Missouri
Posts: 338
Default All I need

I try and travel light. Besides my full cammo suit, my tag, my loaded gun, and my box call, and that's all I need. Usually though I'm within sight of my truck and only out an hour or so at a time. I really don't have to go any farther than just legally off the roadway to call and kill turkeys. But if I decide to hunt a flock way back on my place, I could walk a mile and a quarter from my truck. So my gear could encompass my fanny pack with ammo, toilet paper and snacks, my padded seat, and an old camouflage poncho from my military days, and a separate bag with a flock of feather flex decoys, and that's all I need. And my binoculars! And that's all I need! And a mushroom bag!

It also depends on who's hunting with me. If I'm guiding someone, I sometimes become a pack animal carrying blinds and gear that no one needs. If I'm hunting alone and not having good luck locating birds,I will lose interest and begin mushroom hunting as soon as it's good and light, about 7:30 or 8. I have plenty of time to turkey hunt, but morels, unlike diamonds, are not forever, and can net me 3-400 dollars per day in sales. Plus some mighty fine meals at home. So then, I stash extra gear and go back to my loaded shotgun, box call, and mushroom bags, and turkey tag. Because I can't turkey hunt without finding mushrooms, and can't mushroom hunt without finding turkeys, I switch back and forth.
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Old 01-14-2011, 07:39 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 339

I dont wear a vest... I put 2 diaphram calls with some yelp cut in my shirt pockets and a slate in my pants.. 3 winchester #5 shells and an extra striker.

Thats all you need to kill turkeys, screw all the gimmick stuff.
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Old 01-16-2011, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 67

Originally Posted by gun870guy
I dont wear a vest... I put 2 diaphram calls with some yelp cut in my shirt pockets and a slate in my pants.. 3 winchester #5 shells and an extra striker.

Thats all you need to kill turkeys, screw all the gimmick stuff.
Agreed. No need for 20 calls in your vest anyways
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:18 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Central Ohio
Posts: 768

i carry a box call, glass pot call, 2 strikers, 4 mouth calls, owl hooter, crow call, 4 or 5 shells, TP, water, and extra gloves as well as a knife.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:40 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Chiefland, Fl
Posts: 38

There seems to be a lot of love on this site. I carry in my vest 3 mouth calls, one slate, 3 or 4 extra shells, gloves, head net, and 2 decoys. No gimmicks here, I just like to get every advantage I can get. I hunt with the Benelli Supernova and use a #4 or 5 shot in 3" with a carlson"s choke. I killed my osceola last year at 37 yards with this setup.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:27 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: South of the Mason Dixon Line.
Posts: 40

I wear a vest for the seat cushion. I cant sit for long without a good cushion.
In the vest I carry:

-4 extra shells
-mask and gloves
-glass slate and natural slate-
-ebony striker and a bloodwood striker
-mouth call case with 4 mouth calls
-hunting license
-call conditioners
-mahogany scratch box call (very special secret weapon)
-gobble tube
-crow call
-decoy and stake
-and most importantly, toilet paper!
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