Neat Things for Spring Turkeys
By: Jeff Helsdon
Need a new call or decoy to round out your gobbler gear? Check out these goodies.
New equipment ranges from a scope designed specifically for turkey hunting, to waterproof calls and new decoys. The good news for equipment junkies is, there's too much new stuff to list here. These are just some of the highlights.
Must-haves in the 2009 lineup are new waterproof calls from Quaker Boy. I was frustrated last year when damp conditions limited the effectiveness of my friction calls. The H2O Easy Yelper is a waterproof version of Quaker Boy's successful Easy Yelper (MSRP $29.99). The Firebox (MSRP $57.59) is a new waterproof box call with curved lids and sides designed to create a realistic raspy tone.
H.S. Strut is creating waves wi th i t s new Ring Zone friction calls (MSRP $28.99). In this case, the waves are made by sound, as the calls were tested against the real thing with an oscilloscope. The Ring Zone is available in ceramic, slate, and starfire crystal surfaces. An outer ring keeps your fingers off the calling surface to increase the size of the resonating area by 200%.
Bass Pro Shops' RedHead line has two box calls on opposite extremes of the size spectrum. The Long Box (MSRP $47.99) is more than 11 inches in length and provides plenty of extra volume. The Mini Box (MSRP $29.99) is perfect for someone looking for a small call with a big sound that takes up less space.
If you're looking to lighten your vest, but still want the ability to sound like different turkeys, then Quaker Boy's new Trifecta (MSRP $35.99) could be the solution. This potstyle call has three different surfaces (aluminum, slate, and cordierite) to make it sound like three different turkeys. Use another striker and it can sound like six different birds. MAD Calls new Cherry Bomb pot call (MSRP $47.99) has proven itself in the field during development and in competition. This slate call with cherrywood can produce loud cuts and yelps and raspy yelps, clucks, and purrs.
For diaphragm-call lovers, Quaker Boy, Primos, and H.S. Strut added to their existing lines of mouth calls. H.S. Strut's new offerings are in its Premium Flex Infinity Latex series. Quaker Boy has three calls in its Foam Fit line (MSRP $9.59) and a combo pack (MSRP $20.99). Team Primos expanded its Signature Series mouth calls ($15.25) with three new options.
The trend towards gobbler decoys continues with new offerings from many of the big companies. Flambeau's new Master's Series King Strut (MSRP $146.50) is the first entirely collapsible gobbler decoy on the market. Only the head of this decoy is hard, with a foam body that will move in the breeze and collapse for transport. Real turkey tail, beard, and wings can be added. The decoy comes with a blaze-orange carry bag and instructional DVD.
Red Head's Strutting Tom, pictured on p. 28, centre, (MSRP $68.99) takes realism seriously, from the taxidermyquality head down to a two-pronged metal stake designed to look like turkey legs. It also features a true-to-life paint scheme, with feather detail in the rubber body. This decoy also has the option of using either the provided folding tail or a real one.
Carry-Lite is including two heads in its new decoys. The Peep'N Tom Gobbler (MSRP $125.99) is 10% smaller than the Pretty Boy, is made of softer material to aid carrying, and includes two heads. They can either be used interchangeably or, if both are used at once, to give the appearance of two gobblers. Using a real tail fan is also an option.
One step down from gobbler decoys, Primos has introduced the Jake-Mobile, also on p. 28, right (MSRP $65.99), a scaled-down version of the B-Mobile gobbler. It's designed to fold up to fit into a turkey vest.
On the hen-decoy front, there are also more new options. Flambeau's Shady Lady (MSRP $71.99) is the first flocked hard-body turkey decoy. The flocking adds texture and eliminates glare. If flocking adds the same realism to a turkey decoy as it does to a goose decoy, it should be impressive. A three-position stake gives options for displaying it. The second new hen in the Flambeau line is the Fair Lady (MSRP $47.99), a hard-body decoy that can be placed in three positions. Both come with blazeorange decoy bags.
Pretty Penny, also pictured on p. 28 (MSRP $77.99) is the new girl in Carry-Lite territory. It comes with two heads. Carry-Lite also offers a combo kit (MSRP $161.99) with Peep'n Tom and Penny, plus an instructional DVD.
There's a new turkey-gun sight option. Tru-Glo's Gobble Stopper red-dot scope (MSRP $107.99 in camo, $83.99 in black) is designed specifically for turkey hunting. Besides the centre dot of traditional red-dot scopes, it has a ring that represents a 24-inch circle at 30 yards. Red or green illumination is available.
Run-and-gun hunters or those who otherwise like to travel light should like the new H.S. Strut Ultimate Waist Pack (MSRP $29.99). It has 15 compartments to organize your gear. Hunter's Specialties also offers a pruner and folding saw to clear bush. These tools are also available as a combo with a carrying case (MSRP $26.39).
If you're looking for a little support during turkey season – for your gun, that is – the new Primos Trigger Stick short bipod (MSRP $101.99) is an option worth looking at.
Late-season hunters who have to combat warmer temperatures have a new choice in Redhead's Stalker Lite II clothing line. It's lightweight, moisture wicking, and quiet. A couple of options are available for shirts (MSRP $23.99 to $35.99), as well as one pair of pants (MSRP $35.99).
Finally, one small but practical thing that caught my eye was a new call muzzler for box calls available through the National Wild Turkey Federation. It costs $6.95 U.S. and is available through http://turkey-shoppe.nwtf. org/product822.html.