Bill Marchel, on what he packs for the hunt:

1. Binoculars and a range finder

I have them on every turkey hunt. The binoculars help identify distant birds as toms or hens, and the range finder tells me when a bird is in shotgun range.

2. Cellphone

Nearly everyone carries a cellphone. The Google Earth app tells me where I am and describes my terrain. I also like an app called ScoutLook. It combines terrain and weather information such as radar and wind direction. Be sure your cellphone battery is fully charged when you leave your vehicle.

3. Camouflage mask

I like to wear a camouflage head net instead of applying face paint. Beware: A head net over eyeglasses can cause them to fog.

4. Lighters

I carry two Bic lighters in case I need to start a fire. I've had poor luck with waterproof matches. Why two lighters? Chances are one will work if the other fails.

5. Headlamp

A headlamp helps navigate the predawn forest. The lamp also comes in handy for placing decoys and assembling other gear in the dark. There are many options available on the market. Find one that works for you.

6. Decoys

I normally use only one hen decoy when hunting, but I also carry one jake decoy. I prefer the inflatable models made by Cherokee Sports ( The inflatable decoys are lightweight, use little space in my backpack, and look real.

7. Calls

I prefer diaphragm turkey calls to others. In fact, I don't even carry a box or slate call anymore. A pouch full of various calls hangs around my neck. A crow call can often cause a turkey to "shock gobble." For whatever reason, a tom may respond by gobbling — and tell me where he is — at the sound of a crow or sharp noise.

8. Multitool

I always carry a multitool. I mainly use the knife blade for dressing a bagged bird and the saw blade for trimming branches.

9. Shotgun

What can be said? Each hunter has his or her preference. It's a good idea to pattern your gun before hunting to determine the best load-choke combination. I like to add a gun sling to my shotgun. Makes it easier to carry.

Some other things of note about what's in my pack: If it's cold, I add extra gloves and a stocking cap. I like to have chemical foot- and hand-warmers, too. If rain is in the forecast, a lightweight camouflage rain outfit goes in. And, uh, don't forget the toilet paper.

Bill Marchel