Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hunting Turkeys In Bad Weather

© By Othmar Vohringer

A turkey hunter who insists on waiting for the perfect weather won’t hunt much. Spring weather is notorious for changing conditions. Rain, snow, freezing departures, thick fog and blistering heat are all possible during a single spring season. Often the weather conditions will change within a single day.

The best advice is to hunt whenever you can and adjust your hunting tactics to conditions. Hunters who brave the unpleasant weather conditions often can increase their success rate because the competition stays home. This alone can be a great advantage for those of us who hunt on public accessible land. Turkeys, the survivalists they are, have learned at what times hunters crowd the woods and fields and under what conditions they stay home.

In many cases you won’t have to adjust your strategy. Heat doesn’t bother turkeys and neither does a freak cold snap, even if this includes snowfall. Fog may cause turkeys to stay longer in the roosting tree in the morning, which can work to your advantage. Rain and heavy wind however, do cause turkeys to alter their daily patterns and forces hunters to adjust tactics accordingly.

Rain and heavy wind drives turkeys generally into the open areas. A heavy downpour may push them into heavy cover, but a gentle, all-day rain doesn’t seem to bother them at all.

My advice for bad weather toms is to locate where they are and then try to get as close to them as you can without letting the birds know that you’re in the area. Wind doesn’t spook turkeys as much as it does whitetail deer, but it can make gobblers to abandon their common strutting areas in favour of calmer and wind sheltered places. Heavy winds wiping branches about creates enough noise to impair a turkey’s hearing. Under these conditions look for the birds in open areas and wind sheltered hollows where they will hold up until the winds subside. In windy conditions use call that produces lots of volume, which you need to cut through the noise of the wind, a paddle box call is perfect. In windy weather be ready to hunt before you start calling because you will not be able to judge the distance of the toms response, or more often due to wind noise you will not hear anything. When you hear the gobbler answer to your call he probably is already very close leaving you little time to react.

The conclusion is simple, you can’t kill a tom sitting at home waiting for nice spring weather, or “the ideal turkey hunting weather”, so you might just as well be out there sunshine, snow or rain and hunt.


This blog post has been brought to you by Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

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