We pay a lot of money for a field vest that may feature recoil protection, a zippered game bag, bellows pockets, 24 shell loops and a water repellent finish. But most field vests have one major flaw: they feature a lined game pouch to protect your back and legs from blood. One of the worst mistakes we can make is to shoot a couple of sharptails or pheasants on a 50- to 70-degree day and then pile them in a rubber lined game pouch and continue the hunt for the rest of the day. When you take the birds out of the pouch a couple hours later, you’ll find the birds still hot or warm. Naturally, this is not a good way to handle any meat. What can you do to your field vest?
First, purchase or find any old nylon mesh duck decoy bag. Next, take the bag and show it to your wife or girlfriend. Tell her that you will bring home fresh birds after every hunt if she cuts out the top three-quarters of the game bag and sews in the nylon mesh to replace the heavy rubber backing of the field vest. Photo one and two illustrates our converted field vests. Note the nylon mesh goes on the outside of the game bag only; this allows air circulation. If you cannot recruit your wife to make the alterations, check around; most dry cleaners sew alterations. Remember, after your dog completes that fantastic flush and hundred-yard retrieve because you shot the bird on your third desperation shot, gut the bird and place it either in a vented game bag or in your ice cooler for a better tasting meal. By the way, if your wife refuses to convert your field vest, just say, “Well, honey, _______ has a similar vest for $xxx.” A little blackmail sometimes gets the job done.