Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Right Turkey Vest

© By Othmar Vohringer

Somebody asked me the other day, “What is the right turkey vest to buy?” Turkey vests come in different models and the best way I know to choose one is by considering your personal needs. Are you a minimalist or do you like to carry as many different calls and gadgets as possible in the woods? Answering this question for yourself will be the deciding factor how many pockets your vest should have.

A good vest should have several itemized pockets to conveniently store and retrieve calls and other things you need. A good organized turkey vest will be essential to your success and comfort, there is nothing worse then having to fumble around in the pockets when you quickly need to change calls in a critical moment when the tom is closing in fast.

Since you’re going to sit around a lot, leaning with your back against a tree trunk a turkey vest should provide you with well-padded seat cushion and backrest. The seat cushion should be waterproof because it is not always possible to set up in a try spot and there is nothing worse then sitting for an hour or longer in a wet spot.

What I'm getting at is that you should take your turkey vest seriously and look at all the options before purchasing one. It will make all the difference in your success and enjoyment of the hunt.

Here is what I look for.

I want customized pockets on my vest to hold box, pot-calls and mouth calls in separate compartments that are quickly and easily accessible with minimal movement. A couple of large cargo style pockets with sewn-in elastic loops are also great for securing extra shotshells and pot-call strike pegs. Everything has to be in its separate place to avoid noise when walking. I also want separate pockets on the inside of the vest that can hold a water bottle or two, a sandwich and other small snacks, like chocolate bars and such. My turkey vest has over 28 pockets of various designs and sizes to store all the essential gear that I need on any given day in the turkey woods.

Sit on It
Many manufactures make big deal about the thickness of the seat pad on their vests. While that is important, more important is how flip the seat down and how to fold it back up again. You don’t want to get into all sorts of gymnastic manoeuvres or even take the vest off to be able to buckle or unbuckle the seat. Some manufactures use Velcro that lets you easily let take the seat down or put it back up, but Velcro also is very noisy and that noise has spooked a few birds. My vest has an ingenious solution to this problem. The seat is attached and detached with a magnet. It’s easy and above all it does not make any sound. Don’t be shy when you in the market for a vest, like a pair of new shoes, wear the vest and try to undo/reattach the seat with one hand, and by all means sit on it for a while. This will quickly tell you if you feel comfortable or not. Also check out the backrest, remember you will not always have a perfect tree to lean against.

Game Pouch
All vests have rear pouches that you can use to tote out a 20-pound gobbler (a blood-proof liner is a great touch). But most days you'll use the bag to pack rain gear and rolled-up foam decoys. Make sure the rear pouch is easy to get to and open. Some of them are impossible to reach back into without tacking the vest off. On my vest the game pouch has zippers on both sides that I can reach easy to open the pouch and make the opening larger to stow or retrieve things easy.

Get Organized
With all that said; the best vest is useless if you have to think about in which pocket you stored what items. Spend some time to get familiar with you vest and the location of all the different pockets and what they are for. Then fill your vest with all the items you take with you on a turkey hunt and practice taking them out of the pockets and make sure to put them back into the same pocket. Do that until you can do it blindfolded. There is no bigger detriment to success then having to fumble around and looking for what you need.

This blog post has been brought to you by Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

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