In spite of those piles of dirty snow still on the ground, turkey hunters should be thinking about the spring turkey hunting season.
Here are some new items I think you might be interested in.
Comfort in the turkey woods is something we all know about. Most hunts require finding a tree to lean against, then quickly getting set up. There are many times when that back-support tree isn’t necessarily available and/or in the right spot.
On my way back from Florida, I made a stop at Bass Pro Shop and found something very comfortable that doesn’t necessarily need a tree — the RedHead Bucklick Creek Turkey Lounger Vest — a vest/chair system with a drop-down, self-supporting seat that provides the freedom to sit “still” comfortably in a good shooting position, on any terrain.
Other features of this lounger include adjustable padded shoulder and sternum straps, easy-access shot shell loops and generous separate zippered waterproof pockets for mouth calls, two double slates and a box call.
The vest is made from tough, waterproof microfleece fabric, has an adjustable game/decoy bag and can carry water with clips on the shoulder straps ($100).
Now there’s another Bass Pro Shop item in their RedHead line that will work well with the Bucklick Creek vest, the Gobbler Portable Ground Blind.
The blind is a die-cut 3D fabric cloth wall that is 27 inches high, nine feet long and goes up quickly with shock-corded fiberglass ground stake poles. It will give a hunter lots of cover ($20, www.basspro.com).
Decoys are also an important part of the spring turkey hunt, and Hunter Specialties has a pair that will turn any hot tom’s head — the Jake and Suzie Snood couple.
Both are made of durable expanded rubber that will resist creases and dents and still fold easily. It is covered with long-lasting no-flake paint. Each decoy has a built-in air valve that allows for a quick inflation and setup.
The Jake is posed in a semi-aggressive stance that triggers a strong reaction from other gobblers. Suzie comes with a dual-position stake that can pose her in a content or receptive breeding pose. There is also a Penny Snood that comes in a relaxed feeding pose. Jake sells for $80, Suzie and Penny are $60 each (www.hunterspec.com).
At the Shot Show this year, I got to try a new turkey load by Federal Premium called the 3rd Degree. It patterns very well. The new shell uses a multi-shot three-stage payload to deliver lethal patterns at any range based on the loading alignment of three different sized pellets. The leading section contains 20 percent of the total pellet count — No. 6 nickel-plated Flightstopper lead.
These “first out” pellets will disperse quickly and create a larger pattern inside of 20 yards. The next 40 percent is No. 5 shot that creates a dense and even pattern at moderate ranges. The last 40 percent of the load is No. 7 Heavyweight pellets. These tungsten-iron materials create a high density that gives the shot more energy than the No. 5 lead shot at 40 yards and beyond, providing more hits on the target at long range.
This pattern is maximized by the Flitecontrol wad which opens from the rear and stays with the shot column longer. The 3rd Degree is offered in 12-gauge in 3- and 31⁄2-inch shells ($18/$21, www.federalpremium.com).
Years ago, when Jerry Wilson of Wilson Game Calls invited me to turkey hunt with him in Pennsylvania, I got to use his calls, and I’ve been using them ever since. They’ve called in quite a number of toms for me, and are responsible for the majority of my seven National Turkey Federation Grand Slams.
Jerry is offering three new attractive glass friction calls — Glass 1, Glass 3 and Glass Lightning. All have the volume to get a far-off tom’s attention, and can be toned down as he gets closer. All three of these calls come with a striker matching handle and purple heart shaft ($40).
There are two other calls that bear consideration. The first is Jerry’s four-in-one Turkey Call. It can produce at least five tones from each of its four sides, really up to 20 different tones, that will bring them to you in the spring and fall hunts ($25). The other one I’m rather fond of is the Ed Noonan Series ($30, www.wilsongamecalls.net).
I know many of you will be taking advantage of the special Youth Wild Turkey Hunt the weekend of April 24-25. How happy would your young hunter be if you surprised them with “their own” shotgun? That’s a smile you definitely would want in a photo.
If this has got you thinking, check out the Remington Model 870 Express Compact Jr 20-gauge. This pump-action shotgun has a 12-inch length of pull and is adjustable, allowing it to be changed as the young hunter grows. Other features are a Rem Choke 20-inch raised vent rib barrel, chambered for three-inch shells, all-weather stock, forend and smooth cycling twin-action bars. Total weight is 5.75 pounds ($349. www.remington.com).
To help that young hunter stay on target, top that Remington off with a BSA PMRGBS compact, lightweight (eight ounce), multi-reticle sight. This features a 3 M.O.A. dot, crosshair, 10 M.O.A. dot crosshair and 65 M.O.A. circle with 3 M.O.A. dot. I like, especially for turkey hunting, its red, green, blue dots for different lighting conditions.
It also comes with an integral weaver-style mounting rail. Included are batteries and rubber lens cover. I like the little circle with the red dot in the center; just put that tom’s head inside the circle and squeeze the trigger ($119 www.bsaoptics.com).