If you take your turkey hunting as seriously as we do, you need to check out these NWTF-licensed vests. Your gobbler season will never be the same…
by the HuntDaily staff
We all have our unique approaches to turkey hunting, but unless you work primarily from a blind setup, mobility and adaptability are two essential ingredients to a successful hunt. Mobility means going where the birds are…and fast. As for adaptability, it’s all about setting up for an efficient shot regardless of the environment. Which ranks highest for your turkey hunting strategy depends on your hunting style and the terrain you’re hunting.
ALPS OutdoorZ has two turkey rigs that maximize hunter mobility or adaptability, whichever is most important for you. These National Wild Turkey Federation-licensed vests are packed with features experienced tom chasers will appreciate. The quality is also on par with the company’s hunting packs we’ve tested in the past.
The Long Spur
The ALPS OutdoorZ vest we’re really excited about is not really a vest at all in the conventional sense, but more of a “tactical turkey hunting harness.” The Long Spur is designed specifically for the run-and-gun hunter who puts a premium on lightweight, unencumbered travel. It’s available in Mossy Oak Obsession pattern.
Where we hunt in the Appalachian Mountains, patterning turkeys and locating their roosts can be challenging. Often, a successful hunt follows a breakneck scramble over ridgetops, across deep valleys, and through laurel thickets. High mobility is a must, and that’s where the Long Spur shines.
The heart of the Long Spur is the modular harness system. We say “modular” because everything attached to it can be removed, allowing you to customize the rig to your specific needs. The system is comprised of a padded shoulder harness with fully adjustable straps to fit comfortably to your body profile.
Secured to the front of the shoulder harness are two chest pockets. One pocket offers storage for two slate calls, pockets to hold your strikers, and five-cartridge-capacity shell loops. The other pocket is made to hold your box call, locator calls, and a couple of mouth calls. This is a “silent pocket” in that your box call paddle slips into its own pocket, effectively separating it from the box and preventing accidental clucks. You can remove or configure these chest pockets as needed. What we most appreciate about these pockets is that there is a place for everything—no more calls and cartridges banging around loosely. Think stealth and ease of access.
A couple additional features of the shoulder harness are the diaphragm call pocket and the zippered game/decoy bag. You can place the diaphragm pocket on either the left or right shoulder strap. It’s easy to get to but always out of the way, whether you shoot left- or right-handed.
The other great idea is the game/decoy bag. This is located in a zippered pocket high on the back of the harness. The bag stores in the pocket so it’s out of the way until you need it. If you do use it to carry out your bird, the back separates from its pouch so you can wash it out once you get home. This configuration is much appreciated not only for its obvious utility, but also because it eliminates having a back panel. Thus, your back doesn’t sweat when you’re hustling through the brush on those warm mornings.
Secured to the bottom of the harness via quick-release buckles is a padded, pocketed waist belt. A 500 cu/in lumbar pack is secured to the belt with a zipper. Here you can store your food, water, and other large items. When it’s time to set up against a tree, simply unzip the pouch and set it aside.
Another interesting feature is that the entire waist belt/lumbar pack assembly can be used as a stand-alone system (separate from the harness). It’s the ideal scout pack when you’re out locating roosts the night before the hunt.
For maximum comfort and customization for run-and-gun operations, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better solution than the Long Spur.
The Grand Slam
Let’s face it…you can’t always choose the most comfortable spot for your turkey setup. Well, that no longer matters if you’re wearing the ALPS OutdoorZ NWTF Grand Slam turkey vest (available in Mossy Oak Obsession or Mossy Oak Bottomland).
At first glance, the Grand Slam looks like what you would expect from a full-featured vest. Closer examination, however, reveals something that should make open-country gobbler chasers stand up and cheer. We’re talking about the kickstand frame that fits in the back of the Grand Slam. This frame is quick to deploy, adjustable for your size, and provides a solid back rest even if you’re caught in the wide open with no tree or rock in sight. What’s more, the frame is removable. For maximum adaptability in any environment, this vest is your huckleberry.
Another feature we like is the thickly padded foldaway seat integrated into the vest. Not only is it comfortable, it is held in place with magnets when not in use. To use, simply flip it down and sit. We just got back from an early season hunt in Texas, where sitting on the ground or against a bush can be a painful experience. Here, the Grand Slam proved its worth.
At 6-7 pounds, depending on the vest size, the Grand Slam may not be your first choice for long-distance run-and-gun operations. For typical spring turkey environments, on the other hand, where being able to set up instantly is a major benefit, the Grand Slam may be your best friend.
article copyright © 2017 by HuntDaily.com; promoted by ALPS OutdoorZ