It is my educated opinion that those of us afflicted with wild turkeys have an affinity for gadgets. It likely can be traced to the simple fact that we are in a constant hunt for the perfect call, decoy or camouflaged thingy that will help improve our chances to lure a bearded-bird into range – or at least make him gobble. And once we buy it we hate leaving it behind.
Comfort is another thing we turkey-smitten hunters are big on. Spend a couple of hours sitting nearly motionless at the base of a tree with your back against rough bark and you will understand. There is a point where your backside becomes so sore you are able to count the number of leaves you are sitting on – without ever getting up.
The solution to all of this is the turkey hunting vest. Next to the turkey permits, my vest is the one item I cannot imagine being without when it’s time to hunt springtime gobblers. Truth is, in the two dozen years I have been addicted to chasing wild turkeys it has probably impacted my hunting, for the better, more than any other item I have. Introduced years ago, they have evolved into a maze of pockets, pouches and padding to satisfy the needs of the most gadget-laden, bony-butted turkey hunter. They also happen to come in all the colors of the camouflaged-rainbow.
Take my current turkey hunting vest for example. Not only does it have plenty of specialized pockets to silently carry turkey calls and a back pouch that fits my flock of fakes it has enough room to handle some items I have found useful in the turkey woods: small flashlight for getting in and out in the dark; compass for staying found; camo pruning shears for trimming shooting lanes; an orange hat for safety; extra chalk and sandpaper for tuning calls; binoculars for glassing pastures; snacks to eat; water to drink and a camera to record all the fun. My vest is also where I store my face mask and gloves when I am not in the field. I have even been called into service at times for the transport of little green army men and Polly-pockets from truck to turkey blind – it all goes right into my turkey hunting vest.
My vest also makes long sits much more bearable with a flip down cushion and padded back square. My wife’s newer turkey hunting vest features a cushion of layered foam to protect her from damp and cold ground as well as provide cushion. Hers also has more strategically placed foam for her back that allows air to circulate on hot days. My brother’s turkey hunting vest addresses comfort a different way by building the vest around a self-supporting, drop down lounger seat – like hikers use.
Around the 25th of March each year my turkey hunting vest is placed into the truck and unless I am wearing it does not get removed until the end of May. I’d be lost in the woods without it.