Inclination is the joker in the patience game…your inclination to make something happen.
You could be doing as much walking as sitting, so good boots will add to your comfort. Here, again, technology has prevailed. I used to wear an old pair of uninsulated rubber boots as standard footwear since I spend a lot of time wading water in the swamps and hardwood bottoms. They were great boots, but they fit so tight at the ankles you “pull up porch boards” trying to get them off.
Muck Boots, LaCrosse and several other companies still make uninsulated rubber boots that are great for hunting in the Southern swamp country, but new technology makes them much easier to get on and off.
If there are poisonous snakes in the area you plan to hunt, you can add to your peace of mind by wearing some protection. Rocky and several other companies make snake-proof boots that are lightweight and comfortable. If you plan to hunt in Texas where snakes are plentiful, the 16-inch high boots will also provide some protection from prickly pears which are more numerous than snakes.
When I was the president of an NWTF chapter in middle Tennessee I would book a guest to speak at our monthly meetings to keep interest and attendance up. The featured speaker at one memorable meeting was a doctor who was also a turkey hunter. I had asked him to do a presentation on emergency treatment for snake bites, shock and any other medical crisis that a hunter might encounter in the turkey woods. The meeting was very well attended with everyone expecting some profound information on snake bite treatment from the good doctor.
When I introduced him, he stood up, faced the audience and said, “If you get a poisonous snake bite, the one most important item you can have on your person is” … he reached in his pocket, pulled out an item, held it up and said “a set of car keys. If you get bitten,” he said, “walk to your car, get in and drive to the nearest hospital. No tourniquets. No cutting holes in your skin and sucking out the poison. Hospitals have very effective treatments for snake bites these days so get yourself to one.”
To add to that I say look where you walk and, more importantly, look where you sit.
For turkey hunting boots, lightweight, comfortable and waterproof are my main concerns, and the boots should be at least eight inches high.
Clothing can cause some discomfort if the materials are not matched to the weather conditions. There are many good camo patterns available for turkey hunters today. They are available in weights that will keep you comfortable in all weather conditions and temperatures and concealed from prying eyes, if you hold still. High tech clothes designed especially for turkey hunters are also available from many clothing manufacturers including Russell Outdoors for Mossy Oak, Whitewater for Real Tree and Ol’ Tom and Mad Dog in either pattern. Turkey vests with multiple pockets are also handy and available from many of the clothing manufacturers.
I keep two different vests packed and ready at all times. One vest is packed for extended excursions with all of the possibles I think I might need to keep me comfortable and patient, and one is packed for brief sashays with a few calls, gloves and a face mask for quick hunts on small hit or miss pieces of property. Lightweight rain gear that folds and fits in your turkey vest pocket can save you a lot of misery and let you ride out a spring shower without having to go to the truck. Make sure your face mask is comfortable and effective. Look in the mirror sometime before you start hunting to see what your face mask covers up. I now use a half mask and pull it up over my nose.
I have two pairs of camo gloves, one for warm weather and one for cold weather. I cut all the fingers off both hands or each pair of gloves for comfort and the ability to handle little things like diaphragm calls.
Water & Snacks
You should have a flask or a bladder or a plastic bottle that will hold 20 or more ounces of water if you plan to be out for any time. I also carry some Zip-loc bags filled with homemade venison jerky and trail mix in my turkey vest pockets to lend patience to my appetite. Once you have all of your comfort gear laid out, all you have to do is check the weather before you leave the house, put on the right clothes , make sure you’re heading for an area that holds turkeys and you have more than two-thirds of the patience formula whipped. You can go out there and sit all day if you’re so inclined.
Inclination is the joker in the patience game. If this is your only day off or the last day of the season or your only chance to hunt this property, or if you’re hunting with an outfitter, your inclination is built in and you will stay until the last ray of hope fades in the West. In other situations you may have plenty of it when you start out but when nothing is happening and the hours start dragging you start thinking about things you should be doing. When you start thinking about other places that might be better and wondering why you didn’t go there in the first place your inclination is going fast. You might even decide to quit hunting and mow the lawn.
Patience played a major roll in just about every one of my successful turkey hunts. Wait! That’s the key word here. Wait until he’s on the ground, wait until the hens leave, wait a while between callsonce you get him coming in and wait until he gets close enough to shoot. Wait…Wait…Wait! The hardest waiting is between the time you get him cranked up and when he gets in range.
You have patience on one shoulder telling you to “be cool, he’s coming, just relax, he’s taking his turkey time, don’t try to rush things.” On the other shoulder you have impatience screaming in your ear to “be aggressive, make something happen, move closer, throw in some cutts and cackles, he’s going to lose interest, he’s going to get away!”
Impatience is hard to ignore, but patience puts the bird in the oven. To paraprase Mark Twain, “All good things arrive unto them that wait — if they don’t die in the meantime.”