I returned from another unsuccessful spring archery turkey hunt in Nebraska. I use the term unsuccessful very lightly because although we didn’t harvest any gobblers, we came home with so much more. My goal is to leave the field knowing something just a little more than when I arrived. With these seven spring turkey hunting must-haves, I know I collected a bit more expertise about the turkeys, the friendships, the land, and the comforts of camp.
I am a hunter who loves to share adventures and experiences with others. It has taken years and few failed attempts, but finding a tribe to hunt with is worth its weight in gold. I was fortunate enough to find a group of men and mostly women to chase Nebraska gobblers with. Please visit HuntressView to read more on finding a hunting tribe!
Spring weather in Nebraska is like a yo-yo. We arrived in a blizzard and our last evening sit was in the mid 60’s. Having the right clothing is imperative to your comfort and those around you.
Ridge Merino Wool Base Layers
I have heard the hype about Merino wool but for some reason, the word wool reminds me of ugly itchy sweaters. I had the pleasure of trying the Ridge Merino Women’s Aspect mid-weight crew and bottoms, and I could not believe that I have deprived my outdoor-loving self of this wonder! What a disservice.
Women’s Aspect Crew
What is this wonder?
Merino wool is proteins composed of amino acids and natural compounds. It is a natural, renewable fiber—meaning one sheep can grow four to five pounds of wool per year. These happy critters hang out in temperatures that range from 5 degrees to 95 degrees—no problem.
How does it work?
It is quite simple. When it is cold outside, the natural fibers of merino wool clothing trap air, insulating you. When it is warm outside, the fibers transport sweat from the skin, quickly helping you to keep cool and dry.
Women’s Aspect Bottoms
Merino wool is odor destroying!! The lanolin present in all sheep’s wool has antimicrobial properties that kill the bacteria in sweat that creates odors. And because wool manages moisture so well, surviving bacteria don’t have the damp environment they need to thrive. Without the buildup of odor causing bacteria, wool garments not only smell better at the end of the day, they don’t develop a permanent stink that can’t be washed away like so many synthetic fabrics.
Merino Wool is one of the softest materials available, as comfortable and luxurious as cashmere. Traditional wool (my ugly, itchy sweaters) came from sheep with course coats whose wool fibers are thick and rigid, causing itching and irritation. The smooth fibers in wool from Merino sheep are considerably different. These incredibly fine and smooth fibers bend easily at the lightest touch, creating a fabric that is soft, smooth, and comfortable enough to wear right next to the skin. The Ridge Merino Women’s Aspect crew and bottoms retail for around $70 each and can be purchased through the Ridge Merino website.
Hillsound Armadillo LT™ Gaiter
When we arrived in Nebraska, it was a massive wet blizzard. The snow subsided for the first morning hunt, but the terrain was soaked! Another outdoor gear hack that I never knew I needed until I did is the Hillsound Armadillo LT™ Gaiters.
Turkey hunting requires a lot of schlepping through diverse terrain- tall grass, swampy areas, and mud. The Armadillo LT™ has a waterproof and breathable upper made of Flexia’s three-layer fabric, and it is contour-fitting and lightweight. The fabric is stretchy which ensures a snug fit that won’t pinch or fall down. The lower is a 1000 denier and high-density nylon, providing supreme protection from the elements. Hillsound uses the YKK waterproof zipper that zips from the top down to keep all the water, snow and mud off of your pants and out of your boots. The Armadillo LT™ Gaiters are must-have turkey hunting essentials. They retail for $49 and can be purchased through the Hillsound website.
Klymit Versa Luxe Camping Blanket
Staying warm and comfortable in the field is important, but there is something to be said about the coziness of camp. While we are fortunate to have a house to stay in while hunting in Nebraska, the 1940 abode can be a little inconsistent with temperature control. I packed the new Klymit Versa Luxe camping blanket this time, and it may have been the most coveted piece of turkey hunting gear. It is everything we love about the Klymit Versa blanket but with a technical high-loft fleece inside. The blanket stores easily in the foot box, creating the perfect pillow. As a 58 x 80 inch blanket, it can completely surround one person, or be shared with a friend. Corner snaps, a cinch cord on one end and foot box on the other create a sleep system. Engineered for versatility. The outside soft touch ripstop serves as a barrier for the elements, while the soft fleece keeps you warm and cozy. The blanket retails for $119.95 and can be purchased through the Klymit website.
Burris Droptine Binoculars
Binoculars are a must for any kind of hunting, but especially turkey hunting. Most of the time, the turkeys do just the opposite of what you think they will do. Having a good set of optics not only allows you to move in, but you get to see some great action from far away. Several evenings we sat near the roost so most of the time was spent watching the entertainment. Strutting, fanning, running, pecking and putting are all part of the turkey hunting game. The Burris Droptine Binocular line is designed to provide the ruggedness demanded by hunters and other extreme binocular users. Comfortable and lightweight enough for extended glassing, with an easy-grip exterior cladding that makes them easy to hold, even in the wet and even with gloves. The Droptine Bino comes in 8X or 10X and retails for $279. They can be purchased at the Sportsman’s Warehouse or Cabelas.
Sitka Gear Bino Bivy
The Sitka Gear Bino Bivy can be the best friend of any turkey bowhunter. Whether you are stalking or sitting in the blind, the harness fits snug and adjusts for any number of layers. It is easy to slip on and holds your optics in place with two elastic tethers. It has two side pockets for storage of diaphragm calls, and the zipper system and comes with an attached lens cloth. The Sitka Gear Bino Bivy comes in 8x-10x and 12x-15x in both the sub alpine and optifade patterns. The harness retails for $149 and can be purchased through the Sitka Gear website or at most outdoor retailers.
Bill Saunders 2 Sider Turkey Call
This 2 sider glass over slate call is so unique. It offers 2 different sounds just by flipping it over. This was my first time using a friction call, and there are definitely a few tricks of the trade. Make sure that you are not gripping the striker or the pot too tightly. Let it rest on your fingertips so if you were to turn it over, it would fall off.
Also, make sure your friction calls are conditioned correctly. The Bill Saunders 2 sider turkey call comes with 2 strikers and conditioning materials. Make sure to use the sandpaper or a sanding stone to scuff the surface of glass or crystal calls. Run them in a straight line back and forth, not in circles. Blow the dust off the call’s surface, or even use a disposable alcohol pad to clean the area. Don’t worry about conditioning slate- or most aluminum-surface calls. Simply use a cleaning pad to wipe dust, oil and grime away from the calling surface.
Keep your striker tips clean with fine sandpaper. Place a square on one palm, and press the striker tip directly down onto it. Then lightly twirl the striker clockwise and counter-clockwise, which evenly cleans the tip without changing its shape.- https://www.nwtf.org/
I definitely do not claim to be an expert, but as I spend more time in the field, I find things that make the hunt more fun and more comfortable. I will be heading back to Nebraska soon, and you can bet I will be geared up with these 7 must-haves!