Beau Martonik’s Turkey Hunting Gear Setup
By: Beau Martonik
Turkey hunting is simply two different styles – sitting and waiting vs. running and gunning. I love the running and gunning style of turkey hunting on public lands in the Appalachian Mountains region of Pennsylvania, which requires a lightweight, streamlined gear setup. This gear setup allows me to cover miles quickly and efficiently without the additional bulk and unnecessary gear. Below are my gear recommendations to make for a successful turkey season.
I’m using the Sitka Equinox Guard hoody and pants due to their lightweight, fast-drying materials that wick moisture away from your skin. In addition, they are built with Insect Shield technology that repels mosquitoes, ticks, ants, flies, chiggers and midges. The clothing is highly bite-resistant and has internal leg gaiters to ensure that no skin is exposed. I had Lyme Disease almost 10 years ago, which led me to take ticks seriously. The hoody has a built-in face mask to keep you completely concealed from the turkey’s keen vision.
Lastly, I prefer a lightweight synthetic boot like the Crispi Thor II for covering uneven terrain while still being waterproof with GORE-TEX. For the eastern woods, I like the GORE subalpine camo pattern that has just the right amount of green, brown, tan and black to blend in as the woods are starting to green.
I tested the new Sitka Gear Equinox turkey vest last year and will use it again this year. Until this vest was developed, I felt like turkey vests were either too baggy due to being “one-size-fits-all” or too bulky and heavy. This vest is built more like a streamlined backpack that fits tight to your body, securely fits all of your calls in waterproof pockets, has a place for your water bladder, and a foam seat that can be deployed in seconds. If I decide not to use a water bladder, I’ll bring my East Meets West Adventure Nalgene bottle to mix some Ignite and BCAA supplements from MTN OPS to help give me energy and hydration after multiple 3:30 A.M. wakeups.
In addition to the vest, I always like to carry binoculars to glass an open oak flat or field before stepping out into it. The Maven B.3 8x30s are small and lightweight but offer excellent low-light capabilities for the size. I attach the Garmin inReach Mini to the lanyard on my bino harness in case I get into an emergency outside of cell coverage.
Unlike some turkey hunters, I don't carry many calls. Well, at least, I didn't think I did …
I recently tried out a David Halloran checkered short-box call and instantly fell in love. In addition, I am carrying one of David’s slate calls, and one of Francis Cherry's (my grandfather) patented Frank turkey calls that are no longer in production. My grandfather's call has a built-in owl hooter that I use for locating Tom's in the morning and evening. I'm not great at using diaphragm calls, but I like to keep them on me for close quarters when I don’t want to create movement. Finally, the last call I carry is a push-button call from Hunter’s Specialties – another call that works well with minimal movement and low cost.
A decoy is the last item I carry on some hunts. I like the Avian X hen breeder decoy, as it’s one of the most realistic-looking decoys I’ve seen. It packs down relatively small, is quiet and is set up in seconds. Turkeys have incredible eyesight, so having a good-looking decoy is essential.