Scott Westbrook

Tools for the Geriatric Turkey Hunter

There was a time when we could run through the woods with the best of them. The rush of stalking a mature Tom in a creek bottom or around the edge of a field felt more like actual hunting than the waiting game of deer or dove hunting. However, the squatting, bowing, and running in full gear while carrying a loaded shotgun has become increasingly less appealing with age. Worry not; modern technology has the tools where we can still enjoy hunting these majestic birds while passing on our knowledge in real world settings.

Padded Bicycle Shorts – I know I’ve lost most of you right now. Sitting under a tree working the slate or box call for hours can be taxing on one’s rump. Modern turkey vest manufacturers still haven’t perfected a cushion to touch the comfort of a good pair of bike shorts with built-in extra padding. Trust me, this is not an area where you want to buy the cheapest you can find. Go to a cycle shop, spend a little money, and get the best pair you can afford. Don’t be shy. Tell the salesperson exactly how you’ll be using them. Do you have a hard time getting comfortable on the bleachers at youth sporting events or on a church pew with a long-winded pastor? These will work in those settings, too.

Turkey Lounger – These are a little more affordable. For about $30 you can score a low-profile camouflage folding seat which will sit nicely behind your blind or against a tree. If you’re hunting with your child or grandchild, let me tell you what works for me. Place the detached pad from your vest on the ground in front of turkey lounger. Position the young hunter on the pad while you sit behind them in your chair.  This gives an elevated view a few inches over their shoulder so you can instruct your Padawan when to take the perfect shot.

Thermacell – I didn’t care for mosquitos when I was younger, and I definitely despise the Zika and West Nile-carrying vampires now.  Thermacells are a handy device, and some fit nicely in a box call pocket on a standard vest. They’re less effective on windy days, but, thankfully, so are mosquitos. Keep an extra butane powered replacement cartridge in your vest, too.

Several other items come to mind (fiber optic sites, rangefinders, support inserts for rubber boots, etc., etc., etc.), but the three things above make sitting under a tree this spring much more pleasant.  For those of us who have experienced the thrill of a thunder chicken spitting and drumming through the woods while in full strut, take some time this spring and introduce the same excitement to the next generation.


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