April 28, 2017
By Alex Gyllstrom
It's no secret as bowhunters we love our gear. Turkey hunting, regardless of with a gun or bow, usually requires more tools than many other forms of hunting. Staying organized and having a pocket for everything that you can access quickly on the fly is important.
There are countless styles and variations of well-made vests on the market. One that I have been very impressed with this year is the Tenzing TZ TV14. The pocket configuration is a key part for me as well as a comfortable seat.
You get the best of both worlds when it comes to the seat with magnets so it can be flipped up and stay out of the way quickly when you have to reposition or move quickly, but it also has buckle attachments where if you are crawling through brush or walking in or out of the hunting area, you don't have to worry about it slapping the back of your legs and making noise. The backpack style shoulder straps help keep it lightweight and comfortable.
Having a good selection of mouth calls with different tones and reed options is crucial, especially when you are dealing with call shy or henned-up gobblers. I like to keep mine on a call bag lanyard that tucks into a chest pocket for easy access and quick storage.
Pot Calls, Strikers and Sandpaper
Two to three different friction calls with various sounds can be the difference between putting one in the fryer and going home empty handed. The versatility of calling techniques and volume control you can have with these calls is so important to sounding like a realistic hen and pull those long beards into range.
Having a thick swatch of sandpaper to be able to re-rough the surface of your friction calls can make all the difference when on a long hunt to keep your calls sounding pure and effective.
A good pair of limb snips are vital when it comes to bowhunting turkeys. It's one thing when you have a little light brush or grass in your way when you have a shotgun and can blow through that with ease to kill a turkey. When you have anything between you and a long beard with a bow though, it's game over.
The smallest twig can ruin a turkey bowhunt in a heartbeat by deflecting your arrow from hitting its mark. Making sure you can trim away any obstacles between you and your setup is often the difference maker.
It's no earth-shattering revelation that it's important to know your distances when bowhunting turkeys. I'm always sure to pre-range areas I expect turkeys to approach from and if the situation allows, range the bird I am planning to shoot once he closes the distance.
Facemask and Gloves
Staying concealed to the point where a turkey or multiple turkeys can be within your effective range and you can draw your bow is what we are all trying to successfully do. So keeping the key parts of your body covered, like your hands and face/head, is vital. A pair of lightweight gloves with good sensitivity and dexterity as well as a facemask that allows you to feel your anchor points does the job well.
Owl Hooter and Crow Call
These calls are very versatile and valuable for locating birds. Using a owl hooter with right off the roost to find birds in the early morning or in the evening to get a good idea of where they are roosting to setup for a morning hunt. The crow call can be great for run and gun hunting in the mid-morning or mid-day to locate a gobbler. Keep them close and you can really cover quite a bit of ground with a lot of volume to find the birds.
Contact Solution or Lens Cloth
These are a couple things that often get overlooked. For myself, wearing contacts can be tricky whether it be a speck of dust in the eye or a binocular eyecup can turn the hunt bad in a hurry if a contact falls out or needs to be taken out and cleaned on the fly.
Have a small bottle of contact solution can be a life saver and keep you in the game when a bird is fired up working to you and you need a quick fix for your contacts. A lens cloth works great to keep eye glasses, binoculars and range finders clear and performing when it matters.
I always like to have a backup plan for everything. The last thing I ever want to do is get setup and have the best hunt of my life all to have a release fail or even lose it running and gunning or maybe even as something as foolish as forgetting it in the truck. Keeping a spare in my vest at all times gives me the peace of mind that I'm covered no matter what.
Water and Granola Bar
Water and a granola bar are just enough to keep you in the game. They really help curb that morning hunger and keep you hydrated when there is a lull in the morning or you are setup and one gobbles in another location and you have to change plans quickly. They keep you concentrated on the hunt and not your stomach crying for the diner.