You'll Be Amazed at What Gear Fits in This Container
Save a buddy’s turkey season, or maybe your own, with this easy to put together emergency kit.
With all apologies to Mr. Disney and his theme park, turkey camp is the "Happiest Place on Earth."
Or it least it should be.
But even turkey hunters are human, and the hurried pace of modern life makes it easy to forget to pack a piece of essential gear.
If your camp is close to a 24-hour sporting goods store, a forgotten piece of equipment simply means an unplanned trip into town.
If your camp is in the backcountry, forgotten gear might just relegate you or a buddy to full-time camp cook and clean-up duty.
Be the camp hero with this easy to assemble kit.
You might just save someone’s hunting season.
Editor's note: Please scroll below to click through this photo gallery and see more on this turkey hunting emergency kit.
Image 1 of 8
1 | Container
You can’t beat an Army surplus ammo container for housing your kit.
These come in a wide variety of sizes, making it easy to pick the right balance between gear-storage needs and the amount of cargo space available in your hunting rig. Ammo boxes are waterproof, easy to carry, and darn near indestructible. Since we can drive to our camp, we go with a larger box that measures by 18 inches x 10 inches x 6 inches, giving us plenty of room for gear.
Here are the contents of our camp kit . . .
Image 2 of 8
2 | Ammo
Short of leaving your gun at home, not having ammo for it is about the quickest way to ruin a hunt. Pointing your empty gun at a big gobbler and whispering “bang” just doesn’t yield the same satisfaction as seeing a turkey flopping on the ground in front of you.
To cover the largest majority of the guns in camp, a box of 3 inch, 12-gauge shells and a box of 3 inch, 20-gauge shells should suffice. Pick a standard shot size like No. 5 or No. 6 lead. Your forgetful buddy might not be able to stretch his shot as far as he would have with the high-dollar super loads they left at home, but at least he or she will be in the woods.
Image 3 of 8
3 | Choke Tubes and . . .
You would be surprised at the number of times we have seen hunters show up in camp with an improved cylinder or modified choke in their guns. Many hunters enjoy using the same gun for turkeys that they used for small game the previous fall. If you have hunted with the same gun and load combo for years, it is easy to fall into the habit of skipping range time before turkey season comes in. Grab your turkey gun from the safe, head to camp, and remember about halfway there that you never switched out your choke tube.
Worse yet is showing up at camp with no tube at all in the gun. Maybe you took your small game or waterfowl tube out and meant to put your turkey tube in later. And then you didn’t.
A bag of basic full or extra-full tubes in the basic thread patterns to fit most of the popular guns on the market today can be assembled for not much of an investment. Basic tubes for Rem Choke, Invector, Invector-Plus, and Benelli/Beretta tubes will cover most of the guns likely to show up for camp. After season sales are good ways to stock up on inexpensive tubes.
Be sure to clearly label all tubes with both the thread pattern brand and gauge so that no one gets the wrong tube stuck in their gun.
Simple gun repairs can be taken care of at camp if you have the tools to do it. A good set of gunsmithing screwdrivers, some needle nose pliers, a can of cleaning/lubricating spray, and a rope-style barrel cleaner will take care of any minor problems that might pop up.
Image 4 of 8
4 | Turkey Calls
A few basic turkey calls will fill in for any campmates that leave theirs at home. Stick with basic friction and mouth calls that will be easy for just about anyone to run, regardless of calling experience. I’m a sucker for pot 'n' peg calls. I carry a wide variety of call surfaces and strikers. I also tend to scatter strikers throughout the turkey woods like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed. I always toss a handful of extra strikers in our kit.
Image 5 of 8
5 | Realtree Camo
Ask any waterfowl hunter what causes ducks and geese to flair, and most of them will answer bright, shining faces and moving hands. Since turkeys see as well or better than most waterfowl, those same lessons apply. Toss in a few pairs of Realtree camo gloves and some extra facemasks for anyone who might not remember to bring theirs. An extra hat or two can come in handy as well. A set of packable rain gear comes in handy in inclement weather.
Image 6 of 8
6 | Flashlight
Having a flashlight can make the difference between being under that gobbler roosted on a distant ridge at daylight and listening to him hammer while you sit at the truck waiting for enough light to start hiking.
Pack a few extra headlamps or small flashlights in your kit for anyone that might have forgotten to bring one. And toss in a few extra AA and AAA batteries for backups.
Image 7 of 8
7 | First-Aid Kit and . . .
Nothing ruins a hunt like a minor medical emergency. Packing along a good kit can mean the difference in treating it at camp and missing a hunt to drive to the nearest town. Make sure your kit has pain/inflammation relief, various sized Band-Aids and bandages, an anti-itch cream for bug bites or skin rashes.
Speaking of bug bites, an extra bottle of bug spray or a Thermacell can spell relief from mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers. If you are hunting in open areas or later in the season, a tube of sunscreen can prevent a painful burn during an all-day hunt.
Image 8 of 8
8 | More Gear
Every hunter knows there is no handier piece of gear to bring along than a roll of duct tape. From patching a hole in a blind, to stopping a boot leak, to a temporary repair on an air mattress, duct tape can be your best friend.
Experienced hunters will tell you that the ability to sit still can mean the difference in killing a bird and watching it run off well before it ever gets in range. One of the most important pieces of gear in a hunter’s arsenal can be a good cushion. I like to toss an extra turkey vest with a drop-down cushion into our kit. If a new or forgetful hunter shows up at camp without one, he or she will appreciate the borrowed cushion.
There is no doubt, there are times when having a turkey decoy or two out can be an effective hunting tactic. If you hunt in a state that allows the use of decoys, toss a foldable or inflatable decoy in your kit for anyone who might need one.
While this camp kit might not cover every minor emergency that pops up, it will cover many of the most common. No one knows your camp better than you do. Stop and think back over the past few years to remember what else you might add to your kit to cover your camp’s needs.