Okay, minus your ID, licance, tags, gun, ammo, and clothing, what are the 10 most important items you carry on a turkey hunt? In other words, if you could only carry 10 things (each call counts as one) what would they be?
A box call-- I've got several and I rotate them
A pot call -- I've got several
A push-pin -- I've got a couple Easy Yelpers
A mouth call or two
A butt pad-- that is amazingly important
A turkey tote-- if nothing else, I throw in a spare shoelace. That's really all you need, but nowadays I carry a hunter orange tote bag so I don't get shot.
A book of matches
A cellphone or walkie talkie
That's 12, but I never go anywhere without the compass, whistle, knife and book of matches-- even if its a half mile to the back of the property. They are all important for personal survival. I'm a stickler on it too.
Even though I know the property like the back of my hand, I know what it's like:
1) I've been stuck in fog so thick I couldn't see 10 feet. A compass is your only hope
2) I've been physically incapacitated-- I've never had to crawl out, but I know folks that have. If you're down on the ground and in pain, your sense of direction gets screwed up in a hurry.
3) I've had heat stroke and gotten my head really screwed up. I hear hypothermia can do the same thing, but so far I've been lucky.
Whistle: You'll use up your energy calling for help. When it gets bad, sit down, pull out the whistle and call.
I now carry a Caughlins compass/whistle combination. I used to carry the Compass/whistle/matchcase, but it was taking up room. THe former costs $2.99 at Walmart. The laster costs $5.99. That and a knife in your pocket have you pretty well fixed.
A knife: A world of uses
Matches: If it gets really bad, just sit down and build a fire and wait for rescue. It also really settles your head if you've gotten mixed up and lost.
Cellphone or walkie talkie: I'm 50. I'm not 25 anymore. There are a bunch of things that happen to 50 yr olds that don't happen to 25 year olds. A good many of them can be remedied with swift rescue.
The one thing you need to leave behind: Leave a note on your car telling folks where you'll be, and when you're due out. Better yet, leave that with your next of wife, family, or next of kin. Do not just drive off somewhere, park the truck and walk into some place and hunt. It'll be days before you're found and you'll be mulch. I hunted alone for years, and always called my Mom or my Wife and told them fairly exact plans. Included in those plans was a time certain when it was a good idea to call the authorities and mount a search.
Lastly: Anytime you go out remember to keep your head on straight. A cool head is your best asset. Don't let yourself go nuts pursuing a gobbler. Don't let yourself get too cold or too hot. Don't overextend yourself. We take for granted that we'll be sensible out there, but somebody always seems to get hurt, lost, or shot. Keep it all in one sock, guys. No one is immune.