Are you in search of the best time to hunt turkey? There are possibilities that with the changing era of technology, you will surely get to find apps related to suggesting best timings for hunting. But, a bit of real understanding is also required to excel at hunting. It is not a complicated task to do. You need to sit where you are and think various vital factors that can impact the responses from a turkey.
And, if you are reading this piece of article, then you need to read it carefully till the end to find all the answers to your query. In fact, the time of less pressure is the best time to hunt turkey, also considering the best weather for turkey hunting as a significant portion of the decision. To arrive at this decision efficiently, you need to take keynote of certain things that I have mentioned below.
Understanding The Seasons
You, lucky turkey hunters, are blessed with two main turkey seasons, i.e., spring and fall turkey seasons. Each of the seasons places its importance on the turkeys as well as on the hunters. Thus, in the first place, you need to understand these seasons to arrive at your wanted answers.
State Hunting Regulations
See your state’s hunting regulations and the spring season dates or bag limit. Like, in Arizona, according to the hunting regulations of 2019, youth-only hunting is permitted with different slab dates, and the annual bag limit is only one turkey. While in Connecticut, the season mentioned is April 24 to May 25.
This shows that how important it is to determine the best time because you are not going to get a chance the whole time, instead of some rules and regulations against turkey hunting in almost every state in the US. Well, there are lots of calendars available online to guide you in prescribing the turkey season, but there are very few hunters experience on finding the suitable time if you can get a chance to hunt in these seasons. Let us see what it is.
You can bag turkeys in the fall season, of course, with the approval of state wildlife agency biologists who account for wild turkey populations.
Likewise spring, these seasons are also established by setting the bag limits or season length, etc. The hunters who are missing out on fall turkey seasons have almost lost to learn the behaviors of a wild turkey. It is a challenge as fall hunters come across the full range of vocalizations by a flock of other birds as well as brood flocks.
In the East, both November and December seasons are available to hunt. In regards, November sees far more hunters.
So, this is a time to be watchful and patient to bag a bird. Many biologists also prefer specific archery season limits in fall seasons. However, bowhunting is permitted in both the seasons of fall and spring. As many as 42 states permit fall hunting, the most challenging part of fall turkey seasons is to find them. As I said, you need to be patient as unlike spring; you won’t be able to hear the sound of their gobbles. Most of the hunters rely on less audible clucks, kee-kees, yelps or turkey scratching in leaves or their wings flapping.
A turkeys. lthough scouting is the key for even every season, looking for their food sources can sound very helpful. See for their tracks, droppings, and feathers. If the soil is still damp and dark, it means that there are chances that birds have been there in the past few hours. Turkey scratching is usually V-shaped disruption of the leaves that points in the direction where turkey traveled. They vary with the age and sex of the bird. Scratching on the top of scratching is a general sign that area is traversed by a large flock of wild
As I mentioned earlier, this season hovers around April to May. Spring turkey season is a hectic season with lots of hunter’s crowd out there.
Hunters make a lot of excuses as well as mistakes in this season, which can be a big hurdle in determining the best time. The reasons like where to shoot a turkey or using the best decoys for turkey hunting leads this time. In springtime, most of the turkeys are killed before 8:00 a.m. This means that turkey hunting after 8:00 a.m. can prove to be rewarding because of less pressure. Most hunters leave the woods at 10:00 a.m. Thus, if you have the patience to stay for late, then the time with the presence of fewer hunters is the best time to hunt turkey.
Most of you are stuck at judging the distances beyond 60 yards or like 70 yards just by thinking that nowadays turkey chokes and loads are designed to be effective in longer ranges. Especially in the spring season, hunters step out without even practicing the downrange ballistics of their loads. Thus, even with a dialed-in turkey-specific rig, still, the best range is about 30 yards. Lets enjoy the strutter coming in the field.
In the early morning, hooting like a barred owl or cawing like a crow can be adequate to make a turkey gobble. Apart from that, you need to practice several calls like cluck, tree yelp, cutting, cackle or purr, etc. And, if you have decided to hunt in timings of less pressure, then also, these calls place their equal importance to encourage turkeys to gobble.
Springtime Turkey Behavior In Cold Weather
Turkey hunting in cold weather can be depressed if you are expecting springtime turkey behavior. Looking for tracks is your best buddy. Turkeys generally roam around in flocks in winter and are ignorant of your calls or decoys. But, their predictability can tell you that they roost typically in the same spot every night and feed in the same places every day. So, note their winter roost, and if the weather warms down by around 10 degrees, then you would be better to hunt those big strutters.
Timings Of The Day
You can choose to either hunt early in the morning, in the afternoon or the late day and evening. The pressure of the hunters on the site also varies according to the timings of the day.
Hunting in the early morning and early day
Almost, all the early morning crowd is get done with their hunt at 8:00 a.m. At this time, the pressure gets somewhat at ease, which can be an excellent opportunity for you to hit the woods after breakfast. Early risers hit the woods at about 4:00 a.m., which is a superb cause for high pressure in the lands of turkey. Thus, instead of hitting the woods at 4:00 a.m., I would suggest you wait for the rush to ease. This principle works well in both fall and spring turkey season when more hunters are in the woods.
Especially in turkey hunting with a bow, the spot you pick up at this time is essential. Get a proper spot where birds will usually start to perk up and become active again at 11:00 a.m. You can hit the place that won’t have hunters coming and going. It is the way where birds were pushed out of the hunting area, and now, they are coming back.
Hunting In The Late Day And Evening
Honestly speaking, this time is not very successful for most of the hunters. Unlike early morning or early day, this is not a time to wait still as the time is too short of catching the gobblers. Getting the right spot without setting off the birds can be a bit difficult in this short period. Well, in the evening, you should hunt more rooted in the woods where there is plenty of food and nesting areas that are away from people and predators.
There may be chances that you come around areas where there are apparent signs of turkeys moving away. But it is riskier to wait. Thus, going for an active approach is better in the evening. If we talk specifically of the timing here, then I would say that 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the fall and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in the spring are best. These are the standard timings. A little variation can be there depending upon the area of your hunt. In these times, turkeys are looking for their last meals of the day. Turkey is more desperate, being less prone to seeing you.
No matter how good you are at hunting turkeys, there is always a factor such as weather which places a great emphasis on your turkey hunt. Typically, you will come across mainly four weather conditions, i.e., rain, wind, warmth, and snow. Have you remembered that sometimes bad weather can also be your good friend? So, here it applies as wind, rain, and snow are considered as bad weather by few of the hunters. If you use some tactics, then you will be surely able to find best timings in these weathers too.
Let us see the best time to hunt turkey in each of the weather provided.
Turkey Hunting In The Wind
The scene in the winds is like gobblers can’t hear you, and you can’t hear them well. So, you should insist upon making louder calls even to make them shock gobble or to call a male turkey. Sometimes you flow past your position after picking out a single distant gobble in the wind. Instead, you should listen hard at the bottom of a big puff of wind. Do not stop making calls even then. And, always remember that if you are going for turkey hunting in the wind, then look for the turkeys at calmer locations like creek bottoms, open hollows or open fields inside big timber or the fields shielded by winds.
Turkey Hunting In The Rain
In case of heavy rainfall, turkeys will often delay flying down on the ground. However, not all wet days affect turkeys the same way. Some rainy conditions even make them shut up. Thunder will make them sound off whereas overcast skies and drizzle seem to prolong their gobbling activity into the day. On the other hand, in conditions of steady rain, especially in cold one, their gobbling will shut down to a lower level. So, in the rainy conditions, the best timings can be the time when their gobbling activity is going on.
Setting Up Around The Turkeys In The Rain
In the first place, you can wait if you afford to handle an extended sit and try to strike with cold calling a bird. And, in the second scenario, you can focus on the areas or spots where field turkeys are shaking the rain off their wet feathers. Or, if you had spotted them out in an open field in this weather, then it is advised to wait and determine their line of March. Set up around them and call with patience in this timing.
Turkey Hunting In The Snow
These birds stay on the move anyhow. Fresh snow will help you to track turkeys which can prove to be very useful on a western hunt. As snow is quite common during spring hunting season in Nebraska or Wyoming etc., turkeys might hit the open grounds in this season as in rainy season. If you go about the west, their turkeys routinely mingle with livestock when spring snows cover the natural food sources.
Dealing With The Turkeys In Snow
If the gobblers pitch out their roost and move towards these areas, you will surely intercept them in the way. Deep snow can challenge their movements as against the ice-crusted snow. Thus, we can conclude here that the best time in the snow to hunt can be the midway of turkeys where they are going to mingle out the livestock.
Snow demands a right dress up. Dressing in layers is what to wear turkey hunting in the snow. You have to dress for success.
Hot temperatures make these birds restless. They react somewhat negatively to hot weather. So, in case it is warmer, move your hunting time earlier if you can. However, warm weather has a different impact on different areas like in Texas and southwest desert birds are just seen as active on hot days as they are on colder days.
Even if it is foggy in daylight, birds will stay on the limbs until the fog burns away. Their gobbling goes like fine. It can be easily put to your advantage. Use mist as well as their gobbling to get close, set up, and be ready when they fly down.
And, you can utilize the day timing in its best possible way if the fog sets in the day. This situation will increase the turkey movement as the flocks like spring flocks are hard-hitting to transition between roost and open areas. That will be the region where they preen, breed, feed, and hang out. If the sun appears after a dense fog or steady rain, then it is advised to make the best use of this time and head to areas such as open hunting areas near wooded roost sites. Such timely conditions often create a flurry if turkey activity. And, sometimes in foggy fields, even your best decoys for turkey hunting will not work. All you have to do is to take the chance of best timings that I have mentioned and hatch a successful hunt.
At last, I would like to say that whenever you got a chance according to the legal rules and regulations for turkey hunting, that time is the best time to hunt turkey. You need to make the best use of that time by applying some tactics as I have discussed in the article above. However, there may be times that are not so successful for turkey hunting, but these times are very less in number. A favorable condition is unpredictable. So, you must prepare yourself to hunt even in bad to worse weather also. The main hurdle in determining the time is so-called ‘weather’ which you need to consider every time before you go for a hunt or even while hunting.