Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland has been killing turkeys with the Mossy Oak film crew for a long time.
Since part of Cuz Strickland’s job is to ensure that his hunters get some turkey kills on camera, you can bet he knows a thing or two about how to be successful in the turkey woods.
The trend these days seems to be ever larger turkey vests that weigh a ton, but also hold a ton of gear. Like me, Cuz prefers a lightweight, minimalist approach to loading up his turkey vest. Watch the video to see what Cuz Strickland carries to get it done day in and day out.
Check the contents of your own vest vs. those that Strickland carries and you might find that you can leave some of that stuff behind. Here’s a review of what Cuz is carrying.
- Binoculars — Great for glassing fields before blowing your cover and determining whether that distant blob is a turkey or not.
- Seat cushion — Cuz Strickland carries a separate cushion, but most vests come with one. This piece of gear is just about as indispensable as your weapon.
- A slate call and striker — A real slate call offers more useability than glass or other friction calls.
- Bug dope — It keeps the bugs at bay while you’re waiting on a gobbler to come in.
- Camo face paint — This is a backup to a facemask or headnet.
- A pen light — If you can walk into the turkey woods in the dark, do. If not, use the smallest light possible and keep it pointed at the ground.
- Shotgun shells — Don’t forget them!
- Folding saw — When the action gets slow, build a blind by a strut zone.
- Pruning shears — These are also handy for blind building, but can be used to clear pesky limbs that could impede your shot.
- A bottle of water — Things can get pretty hot and dry by late morning. Bring some water.
- Locator calls — These are handy for eliciting gobbles without giving away your position, even if Cuz hardly ever uses them.
- Mouth calls — There’s nothing better for working a gobbler that’s in sight, but not gun range, than a diaphragm call. Learn to use one and don’t leave home with out it.
- Gloves and facemask — Staying hidden is crucial in the turkey woods. These help you do just that.
- Tube call with spare reeds — Cuz Strickland might use a tube call more than any other turkey hunter. He’s been quoted as saying the call “will pull a gobble out of a dead turkey.”
- Spare gloves and headnet — Your buddy will owe you big time when you have these handy on the day he’s forgotten his own.
- Thermacell and cartridges — It’s a whole lot easier to stay still when there’s not mesquitoes swarming around your head. A Thermacell unit helps keep them at bay.
- TOILET PAPER — When you need it, you need it.
I typically carry a few less extras and duplicates and a few more calls, but other than that, my vest is stocked in a pretty similar way as Strickland’s. What does yours look like?