Dear Writing Huntress,
This is my first year turkey hunting. I will be going out in the woods with my boyfriend, who has been hunting for years. He told me I should “prepare for anything,” but didn’t really explain what that meant. We live in Nebraska and it’s spring. Is my warm weather gear enough?
~ Prepared for Nothing in Northern Nebraska
Dear Prepared for Nothing,
Congratulations on your first season chasing those thunder chickens, and good luck. After five years of hunting, I’m still waiting for my first gobbler!
Preparedness is a fickle friend during spring turkey season. Unless you’re hunting in Hawaii, being prepared for anything means literally that — being ready for every single imaginable weather phenomenon in your area.
This reminds me of a turkey hunt I went on, in North Carolina. North Carolina springs aren’t the coldest, especially in relation to western New York, where I grew up. Hence, when we planed a turkey hunt near the northern edge of the state, I checked the weather — mid 60s and sunny — and packed wares comfortable for that temperature: hoodies and warm-weather gear.
By the time that we arrived at hunting camp, rain began to fall. Figuring it a spring storm, we set our alarm clocks for the early morning and headed to bed. We awoke to a monsoon and 40-degree temperatures. My now husband and our hunting buddy had packed accordingly, layering their bodies with fleece and long johns, over which they sported airtight rain gear. I, assuming the weather would pass, threw on what I had, which wasn’t much.
Hours later, we retreated from the hunting spot because of a deluge of ticks, freezing rain and my reluctant admission that, yes, I was freezing my tail off. I couldn’t stand the cold any longer. Although I was swaddled in anything my husband wasn’t wearing, it was too late. Had I planned better in advance and carried everything necessary to stay out the duration of the hunt, then maybe I would be telling you the story of how my preparedness bagged my first turkey that spring day.
What does this mean for you in Nebraska? Simple — plan extensively and bring more gear than you think you need, in order to endure the three elements turkey hunters battle most: weather, concealment and creepy critters.
Your best bet for triumphing over spring turkey weather is a trifecta of preparedness, encompassing cold weather, warm weather and rain gear. For cold weather gear, I’d go with Próis Hunting & Field Apparel’s Generation X ($225 jacket, $199 pants). You’ll stay cool in the Próis Pro Edition ($229.99 jacket, $165 pants) combination and the Próis Eliminator series ($259 jacket, $179 pants) will keep you as dry as the desert of Arizona, even in the soggiest of conditions.
Team WON’s managing editor, Britney Starr, swears by the Prois Eliminator jacket/pants set. Britney said, “I chased gobblers in three states this spring, and the only common denominator among them, was rain. I would have been miserable if it wasn’t for my
Próis Eliminator rain gear. I also love the ducktail feature. It keeps my backside dry when sitting on the soggy ground!”
Turkeys have all-seeing eyes, which makes your camo selection imperative. Do a little research on the area you’ll be hunting and figure out what type of foliage you will be blending. Be sure to invest in a good face mask or quality face paint (I always go with Hunter’s Specialties 3 Color Woodland camo compact, $6.49) as well as gloves, high-necked shirts (Próis Ultra Backcountry Shirt, $64) and a location-appropriate hat.
Ticks, mosquitos and other crawly creatures are enough to put any hunt to an end. Having the right insect combatant will keep you comfortable enough to shoot that gobbler when he decides to strut into your shooting range. I never leave home for a hunting adventure without my ThermaCELL (Hunter’s Starter Kit $49.99) and mosquito repellent refills. As for ticks, I combine a clothing-only wash that is applied every six weeks (Sawyer Duranon Permethrin Insect Repellent, $7.19 — $50.39) and a skin spray (Repel DEET 100 Insect Repellent, $39.99) to ensure a tick-free adventure.
While this seems like a lot of gear to tote around, especially if you’re stalking a bearded bird or two, you can never be too prepared. Besides, if all else fails, use your pack of preparedness as a seat, because as any turkey hunter will tell you, your behind will go numb after about five minutes of breathless turkey wait!
Questions for the Writing Huntress can be submitted via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our respective social media outlets, listed below.