February 21, 2023
By Steve Wayne
Shopping for a turkey hunting vest can be rather confusing. There are so many choices with such a wide range of prices. A new turkey hunting vest can cost anywhere from $20 to $300. Before shopping for a vest, consider these features.
NUMBER OF POCKETS
If you are a run-and-gun type of hunter who carries a small number of calls, a small, waist-style vest with a limited number of pockets might be a light option for packing up and moving to a gobbling turkey. Carrying a wide variety of calls and gear requires a vest with many pockets, and that will add weight to a vest.
TYPES OF CALLS CARRIED
Different types of turkey calls require specialized pockets which will hold each type of call securely and, more importantly, silently. Don’t skimp on this feature. If your pockets won’t quietly store calls, you may find yourself sounding like a sick, squeaking turkey as you try to walk silently through the woods. Pay attention to pockets that are made for pot/slate calls, strikers, box calls, and mouth calls. Cheaper vests may offer specialized pockets but without much fore thought. There has been many a hunter who had to cut his or her hunt short to backtrack to find a lost call or striker that fell out of their vest. The Primos Hunting-Will Primos Turkey Vest has balanced, specialized pockets such as a silent box call holster that separates the lid and box for a quiet carry and will adjust to smaller size box calls. The vest also has two pot call pockets with a divider for silent carry, and lanyard D-rings for attaching locater calls, mouth call pouches and/or fly down wings.
EXTRA ITEMS CARRIED
If you carry additional gear, you may consider pockets to securely hold a Thermacell with butane replacement cartridges and pads, spare chalk, shotgun shells, clippers, a saw, gloves, face mask, or a flashlight. High quality vests will have a wide variety of specialized pockets for many situations.
SEATING AND PADDING
For sitting long periods of time, consider a vest with a foam seat that will make your hunt more comfortable. The thicker the pad, the softer the seat. For using a tree as a backrest, consider a vest with a wide and thick foam backing to increase the comfort of leaning against a hard tree.
A one-size-fitsall vest will work for many but may not fit small or extra-large frame hunters. A vest offered in different sizes may provide a more specific and comfortable fit. Adjustable strapping on the vest will help hunters adjust a vest to their liking. A large game bag on the back of the vest provides a place to carry your harvest after the hunt and can double as a pouch to carry collapsible turkey decoys. A hidden blaze orange cloth is a nice feature to use while safely walking out of the woods after the hunt. Other features to consider includes water bottle holders or a designated compartment for a hydration pack, double stitching, and high-quality zippers.
For turkey hunting in Florida, select a camouflage pattern with a good amount of green coloration in it, as the Florida woods are often teeming with vibrant green coloration of plants. Excellent camo patterns for Florida turkey hunting include Mossy Oak Obsession, Realtree APG, Realtree Hardwoods Green HD, Realtree Xtra Green, and the popular FL Camo which includes palm patterns tailored to blend in with the Florida woods. For hunting in hardwood hammocks or cypress swamps, the Mossy Oak Bottomland is an excellent camo pattern that blends in exceptionally well. FS
Published Florida Sportsman Magazine February 2022