Your turkey vest bulges with the latest calls, shotgun shells and likely a sandwich stuffed in one of those pockets, but are you forgetting some essentials that could make or break your hunt? Check your checklist to ensure you have everything to make your hunt a success.
New ground, a heavy fog or confusing fence lines all require knowing your exact position. Keep track of your location with a GPS utilizing land ownership programs like onXmaps. You can also utilize your smartphone with hunting apps like ScoutLook Weather. Programs like this utilize Google Earth with interactive functions to allow scouting notes on satellite images in a shareable format.
Even if you hunt dense cover it pays to carry a binocular. Scanning ahead, inspecting edges and confirming the identity of dark objects all require an intense examination. If an optic upgrade is in your future consider purchasing a binocular and rangefinder combined into one like Nikon’s LaserForce 10x42. You’ll have both advantages in one handy package.
FIRST AID/SNAKE BITE KIT
Mother Nature can be unforgiving. Be prepared and carry a first aid kit. You injury may only be a splinter, but having the necessities to handle a major laceration could make a huge difference in your outcome. Adding an extractor snake bite kit could also give you an advantage, but not for snakes as research has proven. Extraction devices, however, can be effective in removing the stinger from bee or wasp encounters.
Speaking of nasty critters, no-see-ums can be as irritating as unsolicited phone calls. Be prepared with insect repellent or even the use of a Thermacell. A quality product sprayed around your ankles also helps keep ticks at bay.
A small tube of sunscreen is also advised as skin cancer is the number one form of cancer in America. Protect yourself with an application before your outing.
A small package of baby wipes comes in handy for unlimited uses. They double as toilet paper when nature calls, they’re handy for a blood cleanup after success and you can use them to remove insect repellent from your hands to avoid getting it on your shotgun, and other gear. You can even use them to wipe that glob of mayo from your face after lunch.
A surprise thunderstorm isn’t unheard of and lightweight raingear stuffed in your vest could be a game changer. Raingear also offers you the added warmth of a trapping heat on a cold morning. Stuffing a small flashlight in your pocket is also a wise decision to see your way safely through the woods on those early-roost mornings.
ALL-AROUND PLASTIC BAG
Finally, stuff two or three large garbage bags in your vest. They have multiple uses including as a barrier from the wet ground if you forget your seat pad. They also work great to encase a turkey and isolate any blood while packing it out. And in case you forget your raingear you can cut out a neck and arm holes for an impromptu raincoat.
Your turkey vest is a unique tool to keep organized and transport gear to the turkey woods. Make sure the essentials make it to the woods with you.