The Best Turkey Gear for 2012

posted on February 21, 2012

Down-n-Dirty Outdoors Haint
Every year a wave of new products with a common theme seems to sweep through a particular industry, and for the turkey hunting world this season it appears calls designed to play on a tom’s dominance by gobbling to him are in vogue. Down-n-Dirty Outdoors Haint was one of the first announced and coolest designs to take the evolution of the once-popular gobbler tube into a bold new direction. The Haint is a custom-quality, wood-barreled reed call that makes what are undoubtedly some of the most realistic—and loud—turkey gobbles of any call I’ve ever heard. It can be tricky to blow at first, but DnD has a great instructional video online. With a little practice, a hunter can get the method down pretty easily; however, don’t expect to just bust this call from the packaging the morning of your hunt and expect to pull a longbeard in—that is unless the turkeys in your neck of the woods come to duck calls and party horns! MSRP is $55.

Quaker Boy Vest-A-Blind
Turkeys have sharp vision and to overcome that defense, many hunters prefer to go beyond mere camouflage clothing and opt for some type of blind. With the Quaker Boy Vest-A-Blind, the hunter’s turkey vest contains the company’s ghillie-style Outline Buster blind that rolls out in seconds and drapes over the hunter making him look just like a bush. In addition to the wearable quick-blind, the vest also contains storage compartments for calls and other items, just like a regular turkey vest, and has a safety orange flag to use when needed as well. Take down is just as quick. MSRP is $160.

Hornady Turkey Loads
Industry leading ammo and shooting component manufacturer Hornady goes all in on the turkey hunting game this year with the full-line introduction of its 3-inch, 12-gauge Hornady Heavy Magnum Turkey ammunition available in 1 ½ ounces of hard-hitting No. 4, 5 or 6 nickel-plated shot. The nickel plating is reputed to be among the thickest available for minimal deformation when exiting compressed chokes. In fact, with its loads employing a Versatite wad, Hornady even recommends gaining optimal performance using Improved Cylinder or Modified chokes, though in testing rounds on several guns, I actually experienced better performance with a full choke. At 1,300 fps at the muzzle, the load carries enough momentum and power downrange that Hornady is comfortable billing this as a reliable 50-yard load. MSRP for a box of 10 shells is $18.

Knight & Hale Bloodwood Cutter
Venerable callmaking company Knight & Hale has revamped its turkey call line-up for 2012 with some great calls, and leading the pack is an heirloom-quality box call named the Bloodwood Cutter. The mahogany box with a bloodwood lid is hand-tuned and delivers on both classic looks and sounds. An inlaid turkey print medallion adorns the lid. MSRP is $40.

Primos Lock Jaw
Few things are more aggravating when easing through the woods than a squeaking box call. Finally someone has come up with a better way to silence a call than the dubious rubber band. Primos’ Lock Jaw box call silencer is a pliable device shaped to slip over the entire box call and secure the lid in place without contacting the rails of the box. MSRP for a package of three is $7.

Hunter’s Specialties Smokin’ Gun Combo
Newbie hunters or veterans just looking to rapidly add to their call collection will be interested in the Hunter Specialties’ Smokin’ Gun Combo that includes a waterproof walnut hybrid boat paddle-style box call; the Smokin’ Gun glass friction call built with a custom-made wood pan, larger calling surface and comes with a wood striker and the Premium Flex Smokin’ Gun mouth call, which is a three-reed diaphragm with a middle cut for making higher-pitched yelps and cutts. MSRP for a package including all three calls is $49.

Ameristep Lumbar Backrest
Turkey hunters spend a lot of time with their backs up against rough barked trees, and Ameristep’s new Lumbar Backrest offers some support—literally. Actually designed for use with a treestand for deer hunters, the individual strap-on backrest works great for turkey hunters as well. It carries easily as it will fit in the game pouch of most turkey vests. The mesh backrest allows your back to cool after rushing to get in place, attaches quietly and supports the lower back for comfort that will allow a hunter to sit much longer with less fidgeting when necessary. MSRP is $15—not a lot for added comfort.

Flextone Dirty Mouth
Not all hunters can blow triple- and quad-reed calls, and not every gobbler prefers a raspy hen. The Dirty Mouth by Flextone is perfect for both as it is an easier-to-work double-reed call with dual splits on each end to produce clear-sounding, higher-pitched yelps, cutts, clucks and purrs. The Dirty Mouth is ideal for mixing kee-kees with yelps—the former, a lost call of young birds that can work deadly wonders to pull both hens and toms in close when they are flocked up and otherwise unwilling to move. MSRP is approx. $8.

MAD Super Aluminator
MAD’s original and once-discontinued Super Aluminator friction call was the call that introduced many turkey hunters to the ear-piercing volume and high-pitched gobbler snatching cutts and yelps that spurred many a shock gobble and brought countless toms to the gun back in the late 1990s. The call was so popular and hunters are so fond of it that MAD has re-released the call and Super Aluminators are back in production. Every hunter should have an aluminum call in his or her vest for those days when nothing else will make a forest full of shut-mouth toms gobble. MSRP is $20.

Mossberg SA-20 Turkey THUG
With high-performance turkey loads and precision-constriction choke tubes, more and more turkey hunters are discovering the benefits of toting a lighter-carrying—and lighter-kicking—20-gauge shotgun. Recognizing this interest, Mossberg is delivering through its popular line of Turkey THUG shotguns by offering the SA-20 Turkey Thug. This gas-operated autoloader is capable of handling 3-inch shells and features a 22-inch ported vent rib barrel with extended turkey choke tube, a fiber optic Dead Ringer Beard Buster sight, drilled and tapped receiver for optics, swivel studs and a padded camo sling. Exposed metalwork areas are in a matte blue finish with a Mossy Oak Obsession camo stock and fore-end. MSRP is $578.

Stay Tuned...

MOJO Outdoors Fan-Tom
The problem when companies want to create buzz at January’s SHOT Show but can’t quite get manufacturing and supply channels revved up in time to bring a product to an early market such as for spring turkey hunters, is you hear about a cool item that you’re going to have to wait another year to actually try out. MOJO introduced one of those products, but it’s still cool enough that you deserve to hear about it. The company that has made motion decoys a staple among many hunters of varied feathered creatures is bringing its action abilities to turkey hunting with the MOJO Fan-Tom aka “Fantom.” Get it? It’s a string-operated stake and frame that allows a hunter sitting a distance away to raise and lower a realistic looking gobbler fan placed in a field or in the open woods. Gobblers will raise and lower their fans while strutting and the motion will prove deadly to many turkeys once the partial decoy makes it to market—at this point maybe May of this year at best. For any hunter who has ever used a turkey fan to draw a gobbler within range, the MOJO Fan-Tom offers an additional level of safety by putting some distance between the hunter and the fan. Keep checking MOJO’s website to see when this baby will finally be available. MSRP will be approx. $33.


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