Something that might not readily occur to readers of a monthly magazine is that the people on the editorial staff always live anywhere from 2 to 3 months in the future. What I mean is, in order to get, say, the April issue of the magazine ready to hit newsstands and mailboxes by late March, our editorial staff here in New York begins working on the issue as early as January. As you can imagine, after editing turkey hunting stories and looking over turkey photos and otherwise just talking turkey with friends and co-workers for months, I’ve been chomping at the bit to hit the turkey woods for some time now.
Last week, my first hunt of the season finally came around when I joined two buddies in southeastern Virginia for three days. The birds confounded us at every turn, but we had a blast and (cliché alert!) it was just nice to hear some gobbling and to be out in the woods again. Plus, I had the occasion to check out some new gear, which is always fun. Here are my thoughts on Ol’ Tom’s technical turkey apparel, Danner’s Ambush GTX boots and a slick little camera case from Nite Ize.
Although I sported Ol’ Tom’s Vestless Shirt all three days, I also wore one of their Time & Motion vests (old habits, you know?). I wore their Technical Turkey Pants, too.
While I can’t imagine turkey hunting without a vest, you really don’t need one with Ol’ Tom’s Vestless Shirt ($85; SEE IT HERE!), especially if you’re going to be on the move a lot and want to keep your bulk to a minimum. All of their gear is made of 8.5-ounce Tricot fabric (SEE IT HERE!), and the model I wore featured mesh across the top of the back and under the arms to keep you cool. Two Napoleon pockets each have a retractor inside for holding a locator call and magnet closures. Also inside those pockets are elastic sleeves for a slate call, strikers and a box call. There are two small pockets on the outside of each Napoleon pocket for diaphragm calls. Probably my favorite feature of this shirt is the removable spine pad that will allow you to wait out that finicky tom just a little bit longer. It also has magnets sewn into the upper back for attaching one of Ol’ Tom’s Magnattach Seats (SEE IT HERE!).
The Time & Motion Strap Vest ($85; SEE IT HERE!) has more pockets than I knew what to do with—try 35 in all. There’s a box call sleeve on the outside of each of the front pockets, and inside those pockets are countless other compartments for mouth calls, slates, strikers, shells and just about anything else you could imagine needing in the turkey woods. Locator calls can be attached to lanyards and slipped into elastic sleeves on the shoulder straps for safe keeping until they are needed. The extremely well-padded seat holds in place when you’re on the go with strong magnets. When it was time to get up and move, all I had to do was grab hold of the seat and flip it upward. The magnets did the rest.
The Technical Pants ($85; SEE IT HERE!) also feature easy-access pockets for all of your calls. Strategically-placed water-proof areas (namely on the butt) are a nice touch.
Most folks like to wear snake boots or some other form of high, calf-covering boot while turkey hunting. Not me. I find them cumbersome, hot and inhibiting if I need to get up and change my location quickly. If you find yourself nodding in agreement, may I suggest you check out Danner’s new Ambush GTX boots ($155; SEE IT HERE!).
This 5-inch, 52-ounce uninsulated boot was made with the mobile hunter in mind. The first thing you notice is the abrasion-resistant lace cover that keeps everything nicely bundled in a sleek, compact package. At times I felt like I was wearing a revolutionary pair of basketball high-tops. The upper is Cordura and the collar is filled with soft, comfortable padding. Rugged leather covers the toe and heel, and a layer of Gore-Tex waterproof lining keeps your feet dry. It comes in Realtree Hardwoods Green HD finish. This is literally a go-anywhere boot.
One other new gear item I toted along was a new Backbone Case from Nite Ize ($15-21; SEE IT HERE!). I needed to keep my camera in something, and I didn’t want to throw it in my vest, so this rugged case suited me just fine. In fact, I barely knew it was on my belt, but I never had to worry about losing it, thanks to a strong molded plastic belt clip. Additional features include multiple pockets (both inner and exterior), water-resistant zippers and a removable shoulder strap. The rugged material comes in black or Mossy Oak Break-Up.
—John Taranto, Senior Editor