Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Hunting Turkeys In Wet Weather

© By Othmar Vohringer

The early spring turkey hunting weather can be fickle. Often times hunters get up before dawn only to be greeted my miserably rainy weather and promptly go back to bed. Turkey hunting in wind and rain does not have to be futile. True, hunting turkeys on a beautiful sunny day is nice for the hunter and can make for much livelier turkey action. But in wet weather the hunting can be just as good and you do not have to content with a lot of competition from other hunters.

The common opinion is that turkeys shut down on rainy days, but that is not always the case. Some rainy conditions make actually turkeys more active and gobble more. While a heavy downpour and cold can shut gobbler activity completely down, a light drizzle and overcast skies seem to have not much effect on gobbling activity. When it stops raining and the first rays of sun break through the clouds gobblers become very active, making up for lost time.

On the other hand when it rains steadily, especially on cold days, the turkeys shut down. The birds sit longer on the roost as normal and huddle together. What can you do? Go out after sunup and hunt fields and openings with low growth vegetation. Turkeys prefer short vegetation to keep their feathers dry, rather than slogging through high grass and underbrush that gets them wet. In the open turkeys also can hear much better than under the trees where the noise of the rain hitting branches and foliage makes hearing approach predators harder.

What I like to do in rainy weather in to look for turkeys in open fields, use binoculars from a distance to prevent been spotted by the birds. By watching the flock for a while I usually can determine what direction the turkeys travel and then try to get around and ahead of them. Set up and stake out a decoy or two and then start calling. Be patient as the turkeys may not respond as quickly as they would on sunny warm day, but they will come.

Keep the calls you’re not using in a sealed plastic bag to prevent them from getting wet, a wet friction call becomes useless. Keep the call you’re using close to your body and upside down in order to keep the call surface dry.

If the wind is howling on a rainy day were you can’t hear the birds, and they can’t hear you the birds become a little spooked. On these days turkeys seek refuge in wind shelters hollows and depressions out of the wind, where they can hear again. Find these wind sheltered places, set up and call very loud and strong. Make the calling sequences short then pick up your gun and be ready, chances are you won’t hear the toms gobble back at you –let alone hear them coming in- in all that noise from the wind.

The bottom line is that with work and all the other commitments we only have so many days in a given season to go turkey hunting. With that said, we might just as well go out whenever we get the chance, regardless of the weather, and make an effort. You can’t shoot a turkey sitting in camp.

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