5 Items for a Ladies Turkey Hunting Pack
by Mia Anstine
We sat silently, peering up at the bulbous black spots silhouetted on the tree branches. As darkness turned to light, we began to hear soft clucks followed by the raspy boss-lady as she lined everyone in the tree out. Then we caught the rumbling, drumming sounds of the big guy. The tom strutted on his branch, welcoming the sunrise and then he bellowed a loud, commanding gobble. Our eyes grew big and we knew “it was on”, and we were ready.
When you’re hunting big tom turkeys, you need to have a few essential items. I’m going to refer to these things as though you’re going to take shape and someday strike out on your own to hunt. As women, we need to be self-sufficient, independent, confident hunters. You can get started by getting your gear.
Turkey Hunting Pack – A good turkey hunting pack makes life on the turkey’s turf a lot easier. We’re all different shapes and sizes, so I recommend one that has adjustable shoulder, chest and waist straps. Similar to hunting clothing, you don’t want to be getting hung up in the brush because your vest is too large.
Look for a vest that has a seat cushion. It’ll be a lot more comfy if you have a long sit, trying to call in a hung-up bird. Make sure your vest has lots of pockets, but stay away from Velcro closures. They’ll not only make noise when you least expect it, but they’ll make it difficult for you to reach for a new call when you need to switch things up.
Calls – Speaking of calls, talking turkey is part of the fun of the hunt. Your vest will need to hold, and you’ll want to get box calls, diaphragm, and friction calls. You should also keep on hand one or two extra strikers along with sand paper and chalk for tuning.
Camo – Camouflage hunting clothes are a must and will help make you invisible to the keen eyesight of a thunder chicken. Remember, birds CAN see color, so you should stay away from the fancy pinks and bright purples for this hunt. The importance of pattern is a tossup. I do a lot of spot and stalk, so the terrain changes. The key is to break up your human silhouette.
To conceal yourself further, grab a facemask or face paint. Wear a cap for sunny days, or a beanie for chilly weather. Speaking of chilly weather, gloves aren’t just for keeping your hands warm. Camo gloves can conceal jewelry and also help hide movement as you cluck, purr and maneuver the striker.
Ammo – Always remember extra shotgun shells, and if you’re hunting with a partner, remember to put your 12 gauge shells in a different pocket than their 20 gauge. If you’re archery hunting, you’ll want to throw in tools, just in case of crisis.
Miscellaneous items – I always have a knife and a multi-tool in my pack. I use them to breast out birds and they comes in hand in case of emergency. Carry hand warmers. They’re great for stopping the shivers. Any lady, who’s spent time in the woods, knows they need to have rations of tissue. Something some forget is feminine hygiene. Make sure you pack these in a private pocket along with Ziploc baggies. The bags will serve to keep them dry and also come in handy for packing out unnecessary items that don’t need to be left in the woods. If you’re anything like me, springtime means allergy time. I pack extra antihistamines in my vest so as to not have a snotty mess inside my facemask. Plus, gobblers generally don’t come running to the sounds of sniffles and snorts. Other “must haves” for me are Chapstick and sunscreen. The elements can be hard on your lips and skin. Remember to protect yourself. Since we’ll be turkey hunting, you should know they can’t smell, but if you want the opportunity to see other wildlife, you may tone down the scent products.
Mia Anstine is an outfitter, guide, hunter, mentor, firearms and archery instructor. Among other publications, she is a staff writer for Beretta USA, Women’s Outdoor News and guest at North American Hunter. As a public speaker she teaches and inspires others to get involved in outdoor activities. She takes pride in guiding ladies and children for their first hunts. She’s hunted elk, mule deer, black bear, turkey, game birds, waterfowl, predators, varmints, hogs, carp and has more on her bucket list. To learn more about Mia, visit her website at www.MiaAnstine.com.