Let’s be honest, most new turkey gear is pretty much the same as the old turkey gear. But not all of it. Each spring, a relative handful of companies rolls out a smattering of products that are actually innovative, or truly unique, or just plain better than what you have now.
That's what’s in this roundup: a ground blind with one-way see-through material that you can peer out from (but turkeys can’t peer in); a breeding-pair decoy that’s so realistic you almost have to cover your eyes; a new turkey load that’s as hard to miss with at 5 yards as it is deadly at 50 or more. Plus, we tested and selected the sweetest-sounding new calls of 2018, including a pair of surprisingly affordable custom yelpers.
If the turkey hunting this year half as good as the new crop of gobbler gear, you’re in for a great season.
Beaver Creek Rubber Necker
$50, Beaver Creek Game Calls
The latest from custom call maker Patrick Urckfitz was my favorite new box call. I love its classic, natural sound. Purpleheart over walnut, the Rubber Necker is loud enough when it needs to be, but mellow and convincing for close-in work. Because it’s a one-sider, it’s hard to make a bad yelp on the Rubber Necker. It’s also hard to beat this price for a custom box. — W.B.
Primos Double Bull Surroundview 360
The SurroundView 360 is fully wrapped with a panel of one-way see-through material. That means you can see out, but turkeys cannot see in. It’s a big deal. Not only are there no blind spots with this blind, but whereas most pop-ups shutter you from the outdoors, this one pulls the spring woods right in, so you can enjoy it all. — D.H
DSD Mating Motion Pair
$300, Dave Smith Decoys
The Mating Motion Pair combines a jake decoy and a laydown hen, in a breeding pose. But there’s more: A pull-string sets these two birds in motion — yes, that motion. I don’t know what’ll happen when day breaks and Tom looks down from a limb to see Jake and Henny doing this, but I sure want to be hiding in the bushes to find out. — W.B.
Strut Commander Voodoo and Sandman Mouth Calls
$9 each, Strut Commander
The ghost-cut Voodoo starts with a piercing, clean high note and drops into a loud, henny yawp — perfect for making far-off toms give it up. (It makes a killer kee-kee run too.) Once your bird shuffles in closer, switch to the Sandman (shown). This triple is easy-blowing enough for purrs, whines, and do-whits. It’s a closer. — D.H.
Alps Impact Vest
$110, ALPS OutdoorZ
You know what I want in a turkey vest? As little as possible. No rods, frames, or orthopedic cushions. In fact, I’ll often just throw some calls and shells in a fanny pack and go. That’s why I like this vest so much. There are days when I do need the extra space that a vest affords — and on the days that I don’t, I can simply remove the detachable front accessories pocket and carry that with its built-in shoulder strap. — W.B.