My close friends are well aware that I’m a freak about staying organized and my passion for chasing spring gobblers. In fact, some would say that I’m OCD, which I would agree with, especially when it comes to all of my turkey and deer hunting gear.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend an hour looking for that favorite call or decoy that could seal the deal on a mature gobbler. Maybe it’s the plastic containers I labeled “Turkey Hunting” and “Decoys” with a marker, my numerous pot and box calls that I rough up with sandpaper or added chalk to prior to the season. Or perhaps it’s the way I pack my lunch and snacks the evening before a hunt, or maybe it’s the peg holder I made that I’m staring at while writing this article so that I have access to my calls any time of day to practice. You catch my drift. Whatever way you look at it, it’s pretty obvious that I’m very particular when it comes to turkey hunting.

I began donning a turkey vest some six years ago. I know it seems ironic, doesn’t it-that I waited almost eleven seasons before slipping one on? Prior to that, I either crammed everything in my pants pocket or coat or a camouflage fanny pack call. It’s not a good choice for a turkey call addict like yours truly. Once, my collection of calls outnumbered the pairs of socks in my dresser, so it was time for an upgrade. Plus, I was still suffering from a traumatic hunt where I left the turkey woods with tag soup. You know, the kind that keeps you up at night pondering what went wrong and what an idiot you were.

Here’s what happened: The gobbles sounded as if the bird was moving in fast, or so I thought. But then again, this is a disturbing trick that turkeys use against the ears of a hunter. When rational thoughts came back to my one-track mind once again, I soon realized, yeah, this is a wild turkey we’re dealing with. They will come in when they’re good and ready.

Oftentimes, thunderous gobbles in the turkey woods cause us to scramble when we actually have more time than we think. After frantically searching for the perfect tree, I finally plopped down on my seat cushion and reached into my pocket to retrieve one of my pot calls. While holding the striker in my left hand, I gently made contact with the slate in an attempt to perform my best rendition of a hen. The problem, the yelp, which I was trying to reproduce, sounded more like a barking red squirrel. The call had been in my pants pocket while running and gunning early that day, and the friction from my legs while walking caused the slate call in my pocket to be rubbed smooth like waves crashing over rocks.

Therefore, with the gobbler still off in the distance, that’s what I like to tell myself. I was able to locate a scotch pad in my fanny pack in order to rough up the surface for more of a realistic yelp. With an hourglass quickly running out of sand and a once vocal gobbler replaced by the sounds of crickets, it was time to move locations. “Had the turkey seen me? Did the squirrel sound cause him to flee?” I will never know. My internal dialogue began to run amok.

After this particular hunt I was determined to never set foot in the turkey woods without donning a turkey vest ever again. You’ve heard the common cliché many times before: it’s all in the details, and turkey hunting and organizing all of your calls and gear is no exception.

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to keep all of your turkey calls organized and stay comfortable in the turkey woods is by wearing a turkey vest. It’s basically like wearing a toolbox. Donning one prevents you from fumbling around aimlessly searching for your calls when the moment of truth is approaching and will allow you to easily access them. That’s why a vest is an essential part of my turkey hunting arsenal each spring.

Depending on which style suits you best for your specific needs in the turkey woods, each one contains a variety of pockets that are designed to hold certain types of calls, a seat cushion and other necessary turkey hunting equipment such as decoys, gloves, face mask, water bottle, bug spray, and most importantly-all of your turkey calls. They also typically come with a detachable seat cushion, which is a welcomed addition for a variety of terrain and long sits.

Everything that I need, whether I’m running and gunning or sitting for longer periods can conveniently fit inside of my vest. It is especially useful when circumstances require you to be mobile and move on short notice, which is commonplace while chasing turkeys throughout the season.

Turkey vests come in a wide variety of camouflage patterns and designs, which will allow you to match the location you’re hunting whether it’s early or late in the spring turkey season. It doesn’t really matter which style you own as long as it fits you comfortably and holds all of the essential items necessary to get the job done in the Turkey Woods.

Through the years, the number of calls that I own has reached so-called epic proportions due to another issue I have. I’m thankful that there is enough room to bring along my favorite and most effective calls and keep them stored in the pockets of my vest and use them at my disposal.

Usually, by February, my level of anticipation and excitement for the upcoming spring turkey season has reached an all-time high. Therefore, to help prevent me from going insane and to pass time I begin organizing and stocking up my vest. I recently did a turkey vest dump and below you will find some of
the items that I bring along for a day in the turkey woods–minus the snacks, which the mice hate me for.