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.
"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."
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."
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.
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."
"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:
Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.