Monday morning a switch turned on in my brain that let turkey hunting take over most of my thoughts. That switch was triggered when I was outside with my dog before going to work. A crow cawed and two turkeys gobbled a few hundred yards behind my house. A few seconds later, another crow cawed, and they gobbled again. Hearing the first gobble of the spring helps get me to finally put winter in the rear view and gets me ready for May to get here. I started to get my turkey hunting gear out of storage and as I got my vest out it made me think of some of the items that have accumulated in my vest that I think many people might not think of.
Travel/Camping Toilet Paper Roll: It took me years to finally need to use it, but when I did need it, I was glad I had it. There have been days where the people I am hunting with are glad that I have it in my vest. Being prepared to take care of business in the middle of the woods or at hours where places with restrooms are not open yet is especially important. A three pack of these small rolls is only a few dollars and it an incredibly wise investment. Keep them in an airtight bag so they do not get wet on rainy days.
Saw and Pruner Set: Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find a good place to sit when setting up and there being a bunch of twigs or branches making it impossible to maneuver your shotgun to get a clean shot. Pull out the pruners and nip a few branches back to open a shooting lane in a few seconds. If you are setting up in more open spaces, use the saw or pruners to cut some limbs with foliage on them and jam them in the ground to break up your shape with a makeshift partial blind. These also help when using pop-up blinds to cut brush to help blend the blind in to its surroundings.
Zip Ties and Pens: I keep these in an inside pouch in my vest that is designed to hold a pot call striker. These are for filling out tags and attaching the tag to the bird. This allows you to fill your tag out immediately upon harvest as required by the hunting regulations.
Thermacell Bug Repellant: Only in the last few years have I started to carry a Thermacell in the turkey woods. Like toilet paper, it only takes one trip with it to ruin the hunt. The unit uses butane to heat up a pad with repellant to crate a buffer zone around you to repel mosquitoes and black flies. It takes a few minutes to warm up and get the cloud of repellant going and can be less effective when it is windy out.
Extra Gloves and Facemask: These are mostly there as security in case I take a glove off to put a decoy away or something and drop it only to realize I dropped it 20 minutes later back at the vehicle. They also help when hunting with a new hunter who might forget theirs at home or not have one yet. Later in the season when it gets hot, it is nice to swap out a sweaty facemask for a dry facemask part way through the morning.