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  • by Steve Sorensen | The Everyday Hunter®

Tips on Turkey Hunting — #4: GO LIGHT ON GEAR

Do you need a vestload of the latest, greatest gear to bag a gobbler? No. I've found that traveling lightly makes hunting easier, so almost everything I carry fits in one of three categories.

FOOD: Juice or water, maybe a small thermos of coffee, a couple of breakfast bars, and maybe some raisins or trail mix. These things add to my success by keeping me going.

CALLS: When I took a variety of calls, I never used more than a couple of diaphragm calls, a good box, and a slate or pot call. Narrow your calls down to what you operate the best. Most hunters take a good box, a couple of diaphragms, and a slate-style call. (I often take only the scratchbox call I make myself.)

COMFORT: I carry a good seat that keeps my bottom a few inches off the ground. If rain is in the forecast, I’ll take a rain jacket. It’s a good idea to have an extra headnet. And toilet paper. These all help me to stay in the woods longer. You need a few other things, including gloves and a couple of extra shells , but most of everything else is baggage. I seldom take decoys because I don't like carrying them.

Hunters who try to be a walking sporting goods store never use 80% of what they take, they use 10% occasionally, and 10% is their go-to gear. So, limit yourself to that 10%—the gear that's essential to you might be different from what's essential to me and learn to be very proficient with it. Remember, gear doesn’t make you a better hunter.

Watch for more “Tips on Turkey Hunting” two or three times each week until mid-May. I don’t claim to be the best turkey hunter around, but I’ll share what I know. It might be helpful to those who pursue our greatest game bird. While you're at it, check out my gobbler-killin' scratchbox turkey call at It's full of deadly sounds.

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