Rethink Your Turkey Vest

Ten items you've never thought to carry – but should

turkey vest
Load your turkey vest with everything you never knew you needed.Patrick "Buzz" Hayes

Every turkey-hunting vest contains the old standards, staples, and standbys. Turkey calls. Locator calls. Decoys. Saw, snips, or both. Extra shotgun shells. A headlamp. Gloves and a facemask. Camo fabric for a makeshift blind. Seating. Mosquito control. Water. Snacks.

You can get by with these vest basics. But since you’re lugging the whole thing around anyway, why not add a few items from the following list and make your turkey vest work even harder to lead you to a successful hunt?

glow tacks
Glow tacks.Outdoor Life

GLOW TACKS

After putting a bird to bed, use glow tacks to mark your path out so you can come right back to the specific setup tree you've selected. Works better than a GPS.

energy drinks
Energy drinks.Outdoor Life

ENERGY DRINKS

Stow a couple of energy drinks in your vest to help you go the extra mile during those midday lulls.

medical kit
Personal kit.Outdoor Life

PERSONAL KIT

Fill a sturdy quart-size ziplock bag with small essentials that will make a big difference in your personal comfort. Possible items include sunscreen, lip balm, aspirin or pain killers, tissues, sanitary wipes (multiple uses), and adhesive bandages.

gun rest
Gun rest.Outdoor Life

GUN REST

Keep the gun up longer, and with less shaking, with a monopod such as Hunter Specialties' V-Pod Shooting Stick. ($30; hunterspec.com)

Neck pillow
Neck pillow.Outdoor Life

NECK PILLOW

Stuff an airline-style neck pillow in your vest to set up for a peaceful slumber—and wake up to a gobbler in range. Sometimes an extra hour gets the bird.

locator call
Locator call.Outdoor Life

OFFBEAT LOCATORS

Sometimes you need something odd to get a gobbler to sound off. I once hunted a gang of Black Hills toms that would only gobble at a peacock yodel. Throw a goose or mallard call in your vest and honk or quack it up. Sandhill crane squawks work great—try Haydel’s CC-07 Compensator Crane Call. ($25; haydels.com)

spare socks
Spare socks.Outdoor Life

FRESH SOCKS

It’s amazing what a change of socks can do for your attitude if you’ve stepped in a creek or really sweated up your feet.

hearing assistance
Hearing assistance.Outdoor Life

HEARING HELP

Hear faint, distant gobbles­—or the crunch of leaves from a gobbler at 100 yards—with a hearing enhancer. I use the Electronic Shooter Protection (ESP) Elite Classic Unit. Less expensive, quality devices are also available. ($900, espamerica.com; gsmoutdoors.com)

Tick spray.
Tick spray.Outdoor Life

TICK SPRAY

There's nothing worse than the heebie-jeebies you get when you feel a tick crawling on you. Carry a can of repellent and thoroughly douse your clothing the day before a hunt—and your setup tree before settling in.

mushroom bag
Mushroom bag.Outdoor Life

MOREL BAG

Morels are a turkey hunter’s bonus harvest. Mesh bags allow spores to spread so you can take home another morel harvest next year. ($18; morelmushroomsupply.com)