My Spring 2023 Turkey Kit
I have a couple of simple gear philosophies. Clothes should keep you comfortable and in the field when it counts. As for calls and such, I ask myself, “What do I have the skill to use proficiently?” Don’t get me wrong – I’m a gear head. I like having a lot of gear. But use must be purposeful and practical.
Practical turkey gear has to cover a lot of bases. Spring temperatures vary throughout the day from dang chilly to near spicy. We need clothing layers to account for those swings. Then there’s transporting all of the things we use throughout the day. We need shoes that keep our dogs from barking, and it’s imperative to mind hydration.
I’m always tinkering with my turkey gear as I encounter new situations that motivate me to solve new problems. But I’m giving you the lowdown on what I currently use. Let’s start with clothing.
Before we Get Started on Clothes…
I’ve noticed that lots of guys dig their heels in when it comes to clothing brand loyalty. My heels aren’t dug in. There are quite a few companies that make great hunting clothes. Kuiu, Sitka, and First Lite all make top-notch gear. And I own pieces from all three companies. But you can also find some decent stuff at Walmart. The point is to try stuff out and see what works for you while buying the best clothing you can afford. It’s not about buying the best only to have the best. But quality gear typically has the longest field life.
Base and Mid Layers
There are often big temperature swings in the spring. So, it’s nice to have layers that are easy to put on and take off. I love the Kuiu 145 zip-off base layer pants for that reason. They’re full zip, meaning you can keep your boots on while you change in and out of them. And the weight is perfect for cool early mornings that grow warmer each hour. They’re not so heavy that you’ll sweat your keister off, but they provide enough insulation to keep you warm and still while you’re waiting for a gobbler to pitch down.
I also frequently wear the Kuiu 145 quarter-zip top. Again, just enough insulation without making you sweat like you stole something.
On colder mornings, I’ll break out my First Lite Furnace quarter-zip. The Furnace is my old stand by. I’ve used it to layer in more hunting situations than another piece of gear I own. And I constantly wear it around the shop during the cold weather months.
Regardless of brand and weight, it’s important to consider base layer material. I always choose wool or synthetic because each has better insulating properties than cotton. However, I usually choose wool because it doesn’t hold your stink like synthetic fibers.
We’ll keep the Kuiu train rolling at the start of this section. I’ve been an Attack pants fan for a while. They’re durable, have lots of pocket space, and the side vents are great for keeping cool while moving. There are many times when the 145 quarter-zip is also my outer layer top. On cold mornings, I’ll add the Furnace.
This year I’ve added the Nomad Leafy Top to my kit. Many serious turkey killers wear the Nomad top or something like it, and who am I to argue with their successes? I’m joining the club.
I can’t move on without mentioning rain gear. Since I mostly run and gun hunt in the timber, it's rare that I hunt during steady rains when I can’t clearly hear gobbles. So, I don’t often have the need for rain gear. That said, this year I'm searching for solid options for the days I want to sit at a field edge and wait for a tom to strut in a clearing. I’ll report back with what I choose.
Vest and Boots
My vest and boot choices follow the same theme – light, simple, comfy, and quiet.
I use the Knight and Hale Run N Gun 200 vest. It’s simple and has just enough pockets, but not so many that you carry stuff you don’t need. The seat has great padding and keeps me comfortable so I don’t end up getting busted because I’m shifting all over the place. The back pouch is also the perfect size for a hydration bladder. I use the bladder because I’m more apt to drink because it's easier. And the set up saves a lot of unnecessary movement. I’m not constantly digging out, and replacing, a water bottle.
My boots are the Danner Mountain 600s. They’re lightweight, which is important when you do a lot of walking. And they’re comfortable, also important for covering miles.
Friction calling is my main game. I’ll do a little mouth calling, but I’m usually down to get the friction on. I carry Tipton Creek pot calls and Houndstooth mouth calls. But there are tons of great call makers out there. Try some calls and stick to what works for you.
This might not sound like gear, but I don’t leave home without it. So, I consider it part of my kit. This guy isn’t getting Lyme disease or alpha gal syndrome. I use Sawyer’s on all of my outerwear and frequently reapply. It’s great stuff. I’ve literally watched ticks crawl onto my pants and die. I also check myself religiously after each hunt. I send any ticks I find to the lab for testing.
Alright, that’s my current turkey kit. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you have about what I use and why I use it. Shoot me an email and we’ll chat.