What's in Your Turkey Vest?

By author of Turkey Blog with Steve Hickoff

Realtree's Phillip Culpepper and Tyler Jordan talk favorite calls, shells, gear and must-have snacks for chasing Spring Thunder

Most serious turkey hunters are pretty particular when it comes to filling the pockets of their turkey vests. So what do the Realtree pros carry? We caught up with Phillip Culpepper and Tyler Jordan, hosts of Spring Thunder on Realtree 365, to ask about the must-have items they carry in their vests. Here's what they say.  

Realtree's Tyler Jordan yelps to make spring gobbler contact. (© Spring Thunder photo)

Best Vest

"I've used the same turkey vest the last two seasons," Culpepper says, the Michael Waddell Signature Series Time & Motion Strap Vest 2.0. "I love the wide nylon shoulder straps and the removable seat cushion (sometimes when I run and gun I like to take the cushion off). And I also like the elastic shell holders inside. Both large pockets hold shells in place." 

That's the vest Jordan prefers, too. "It's got the comfortable seat cushion and zippered pockets I look for in a vest," he says, "and it's lightweight."

Both Culpepper and Jordan prefer this Michael Waddell Signature Series Time & Motion Strap Vest 2.0 (Ol' Tom courtesy photo)

Turkey Calls

Like many turkey hunters, these guys have their preferred calls dialed in.

"My favorite two are a box call and diaphragm," Culpepper says. "I’m very particular about getting the sound I like in each call. Right now my favorites are the Bone Collector Death Valley box and the Ridge Beater mouth call."

Jordan adds: "My picks are the Bone Collector Lights Out pot call, Cadiz Hen and Death Valley box." 

These guys carry Bone Collector turkey calls. (© Spring Thunder photo)

Locator Calls

Owling and crow cawing to draw shock gobbles from silent birds is a classic approach for spring turkey hunters. While Culpepper and Jordan both often use their natural voices to owl hoot, each guy has a crow call pick — the Classic Swagger crow call from Bone Collector.

Turkey Loads

Like vests and what we carry in them, shotshells are a subject of much discussion among turkey hunters.

Tyler Jordan chambers the 3-inch Federal TSS Heavyweight loads, shot sizes No. 7 and No. 9. Culpepper also hunts with Federal TSS too. Make his No. 9s. He adds, "Using this load with a Kicks .655 choke has been a lethal combination."

[Learn More: Federal Premium TSS Turkey Loads]

Realtree's Phillip Culpepper, set up on a gobbler. (© Realtree photo)

Gear Accessories

What other go-to gear items do these guys carry to turkey hunt? Culpepper's list includes: 

Some of Jordan's favorites:

  • Colosseum Call Caddy 
  • Colosseum Realtree EDGE Gun Rest
  • Bioshield bug repellent 
  • Realtree EZ Saw 
  • Havalon Knife 

[More Ideas: What You Need in a Turkey Vest]

Both guys carry the Colosseum Call Caddy to hold their diaphragm calls. (© Realtree photo)

Decoy Picks

Turkey decoys. Some love 'em, some hate 'em, but for many hunters, they're an important gear item to carry along on hunts.

Culpepper says he uses one particular decoy for almost every setup. "My Hunter Specialties 1/4 strut Jake we call Lil’ Bocephus is a must-carry."

Jordan likes the HS Strut-Lite Jake and Hen combo. 

[Check It Out: Cool Photos of Gobblers Fooled by Decoys]

Favorite Snacks

"This may be the most important question I get asked," Culpepper says. "You’re only as good as what you are prepared for, and I believe snacks play a major role." Here are his top picks in no particular order:

  • Water
  • A box of Nutty Buddys (family size)
  • Moon Pies
  • Swiss Rolls
  • Pork Rinds
  • Slim Jims
  • "And occasionally a banana or apple." 

Jordan's go-to? "Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars." 

[Still Hungry? Great Snacks for All-Day Turkey Hunts]

Watch Phillip Culpepper and Tyler Jordan on Realtree 365's Spring Thunder