Are you prepared?
Turkey season is right around the corner here in Oregon, and it’s never too late to inventory your vest before you take it out in the field. I know that I have a tendency to leave the essentials in there and not pay much attention to them once the season is over. So I’ve made a list of the turkey vest essentials that no hunter should ever be caught without.
See Also: 9 Turkey Vests For The Budget Hunter
Don’t get caught without one. Even if you’re going out for just a half day hunt, always pack for the worst case scenario. You can find a comprehensive list here and customize it to your needs. My essentials always include a whistle, compass, waterproof matches, space blanket and (depending on where I’m hunting) a snake bite kit.
Ever since I can remember, my dad has always made multiple copies of our area maps and kept them in Ziploc bags to make sure they stay dry. They have been absolutely essential to our hunts and I recommend them to everyone. Don’t forget to leave a copy of your map with a spouse or loved one so you don’t end up like the guy from “127 Hours.”
Don’t get caught without it.
Same reason as the toilet paper – don’t get caught without one.
Using a different call can make or break your hunt. My pack always has at least one of each call: box, slate, diaphragm, and crow. One day the birds will respond to a crow call, the next day a box call. Mixing it up can be the key to a full tag.
This one seems a bit obvious, but just as different turkeys respond to different calls, the same goes for decoys. Depending on the needs of the day, I hunt with anywhere between one and three decoys. Warning: they can take up a fair amount of space (mine don’t fold and have to be carried in separate bags), so plan accordingly.
You don’t need an entire box, but at least six extra shells should see you through any potential misfires or outright misses.
Almost every turkey bag I’ve ever seen comes in hunter orange, and many vests have orange flags in hidden pockets. Stay safe on the pack out and display your orange proudly.
I carry one of those 32-ounce Nalgene bottles and a water filter in case I need to refill on a hot day. And I always pack more food than I think I’ll eat ever since a particularly grueling sheep hunt showed me what happens when I under-pack.
Stay safe out there, have fun, and don’t forget to tweet us your turkey pics!