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Mark Drury’s Top Five Essential Pieces of Turkey Hunting Gear

A successful spring turkey hunt begins with the right gear. Who better to inform your loadout than the Mad Man himself, Mark Drury? Here are Mark’s top five essential components of turkey hunting equipment to give you the best shot at success this season.

1.     Turkey Hunting Vest  Hunt turkeys for any length of time and you’ll realize how quickly your arsenal of tools and accessories builds. As your skill increases, so will your usage of these different components. You’ll want to keep them all on hand, organized and easily accessible. A vest designed specifically for turkey hunting will do that, limiting the turkey-alerting movement required to get at your gear.

As an added threat that adds almost no weight, a tail fan tucked into your vest can provide heart thumping adventure as you use it to fan your way closer to a wary gobbler.

2.     Weapon The best turkey weapon is the one you’re the most proficient with. Whether it’s a shotgun or a bow, be sure to be practiced up enough to know your lethal range. If you’re shotgun hunting, visit the range to pattern your gun before hitting the field. If you’re opting for the added challenge of taking a bird with archery tackle, practice shooting from the position you’ll likely be hunting from (usually seated).

3.     Hen Decoy There’s nothing that seals the deal with a curious gobbler better than a hen decoy. Old toms are notorious for hanging up out of range if they can’t see their potential mate. For an added level of safety and convenience, tuck your decoy away into the back of your turkey vest on your way into and out of the field.

4.     Turkey Call An absolute must for the turkey hunter. Nothing is more effective at bringing turkeys to your location than calling. Mouth calls, box calls and slates each have their own advantages and drawbacks. Most turkey hunters will carry all three (and sometimes multiples of each kind for different sounds) on their hunts.

5.     Locator Call Think back to games of Marco Polo in the pool as a kid. Locator calls work in much the same way, causing toms to shock gobble when they hear them. Common calls include owl, coyote and crow. Using a locator call is a great way to pinpoint birds that are on the roost.

6.     Winchester Long Beard XR Shells Getting close to a gobbler isn’t enough if you can’t knock them off their feet. Winchester Long Beard XR shot shells consistently produce devastating patterns even beyond 40 yards. Make sure you’ve sighted in and patterned with them to ensure you know how they shoot from your particular gun and choke.  

While gear is critical, there’s one aspect of your kit that cannot be purchased: confidence. Acquire and familiarize yourself with your gear before the season begins to ensure you’ll use it effectively when season finally starts. Do that, and it’s likely you’ll be walking out of the field with a notched tag and an old tom slung over your shoulder.