There is not much you can control when turkey hunting. Weather, particularly, is a factor that you have no control over. Many spring gobbler hunters forego days in the woods when the weather turns ugly however you shouldn’t. The turkeys are not going anywhere, but harvesting one in foul weather does take a few additional turkey hunting tips.
Not every day in spring gobbler season will be the best weather for turkey hunting. There will be rainy days, windy days and days of extreme hot and cold temperatures outside of the norm for springtime. Changing weather will certainly affect turkey activity. The spring season is short and the chances you may have to take a longbeard are even fewer. Birds are out there in all sorts of weather, and you need to be also.
“If you could be turkey hunting, you need to be turkey hunting.” David Holder – Raised Hunting
Turkey Hunting in the Rain
On rainy days, especially cold rainy days, gobblers go quiet. Turkeys will opt to stay in the roost longer. Once they do fly down, they will alter their daily routine. Rainy evenings and mornings can also produce fog. Foggy mornings will likewise keep birds in the trees usually until the fog lifts. When turkey hunting in the rain, there are two turkey hunting tips to rely on.
First, turkey habits in the spring are fairly predictable. The same holds true on rainy days, they are different but predictable. When turkeys do get off the roost, they will go to open fields. There are plenty of theories as for why they go to open fields on rainy days, including to keep water off their feathers, to seek out bugs or be able to spot predators from a distance that would otherwise go unnoticed in the soggy woods. Regardless of the reason, if you want to know how to find turkeys in the spring on rainy days head to the fields. Position your set up along the field edge and your decoys out in plain sight. Be patient and wait them out. Hold off on calling until later in the morning, especially if the weather is predicted to clear up. If it is a field you know birds frequent, they are coming to it anyways on rainy days so let them, then make your move.
The second tip is based on how to locate turkeys in the spring. The hardest part of hunting on rainy days is finding birds if they are not in your favorite field already. Here it is best to glass open fields, logging roads and other forest clearings. The rain will conceal your movement if you spot a gobbler working one of these opening areas and allow you to get into position and prepare your strategy for calling him in.
Must have turkey hunting gear for rainy days.
- Waterproof and quality mouth calls to be able to sound off loud enough for a gobbler to hear you over the rain.
- Top-end optics that are waterproof and fog proof to be able to find birds utilizing fields.
- Waterproof turkey hunting clothing to stay dry and comfortable hunting in a day of wet conditions.
Video: How Does Weather Effect Turkey Hunting Check out this video to see these tips in action!
Spring Gobbler Hunting Tips for Tackling Windy Days
Turkey hunting on cold windy days may be the toughest conditions to chase spring gobblers in. Windy days can be very annoying. Wind gust can blow your decoys all around and being able to hear anything it pretty much impossible. Not to mention that the birds during windy days are shut down.
Hunt visually during windy days. The main reason is you simply can’t hear anything. Seek out areas like protected draws, leeward sides of forage rich ridges and low spots in open, protected fields. Turkeys will take cover in these less windy areas where they can see and hear better. Go back to your turkey hunting basics on these windy days. For example, stick to loud box calls to project sound off in the distance in the hope a bird hears you. Also, one of the most taken for granted turkey hunting tips is sitting still. Sit still and ready and expect a gobbler to walk in because you won’t be able to hear a bird gobbling or walking as it approaches.
Turkey Hunting Gear to Help You on Windy Days
Use a box call to produce loud but controlled calling scenarios in an effort to cut through the wind at a sheltered gobbler.
Have a comfortable seat or chair to be able to sit still for long periods as you wait to ambush an incoming bird.
Tips for Extreme Hot or Cold Days
If you are hooked on turkey hunting, you understand and accept that there will be rainy and windy days in the spring. However, inclement weather that can make a turkey hunting day intolerable are days when it is extremely hot or cold.
Turkey hunting cold front birds can be slow. Again turkeys are not going anywhere and their breeding cycle continues regardless of the weather, although gobblers and their activity can slow almost to a stop during cold snaps. For days when the mercury drops to unusual spring lows, three turkey hunting tips are useful to bag a bird.
First, hunt southern exposures. Southern hillsides and southern facing fields are going to warm up the fastest as the sun comes up. Birds will move to these areas when temperatures are cold to take advantage of any additional warmth they can. Second, concentrate calling spring gobblers around quality, high-energy food sources. Food plots and fields planted with calorie-rich Arrow Seed cover crops and food plot varieties offer forage to help maintain energy and heat in cold weather. The third and final tip for hunting spring gobbler season in cold weather is to be patient. Even on really cold days in the spring, the temperature will often rise in the afternoon, which turn turkey activity that was otherwise stifled in the morning back on. Where legal, it pays to wait until the afternoon to hunt when the forecast is for cold weather.
The other extreme you could be hunting in is heat. Hot weather is as miserable for turkeys as it is for us. Just like with cold weather, extremely hot temperatures can slow gobbler activity. Birds will move towards areas close to water sources like deep draws which provide both water and cooling shade during high heat. On hot days, the best time to hunt is the first thing in the morning. The slightly cooler temps at dawn will get birds off the roost at first light and receptive to engage before the sun gets too high.
Hunting Strategies for Extreme Hot and Cold Days
Dress in layers. For cold days, layers allow you to add on if the cold gets to you while you are waiting out the gobblers. Likewise, layers allow you to take clothing off as the sun gets high in the sky and heats things up.
On hot days, position yourself near watering holes, small mountain creeks or other shady areas that have adequate water. Turkeys will frequent these areas throughout the day and even if the temps have them quiet you can wait and ambush one when they show up.
The best weather for turkey hunting doesn’t come along every day. Hunting for birds in the spring will have to include foul weather days. Depending on if you are hunting in the rain, the wind or on hot or colds days, different turkey hunting tips and tactics will be more valuable than others. The birds are still there on bad weather days, and you should be there too. The season is far too short to let the weather keep you from turkey hunting.