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Ah, spring is approaching, and with it comes spring turkey hunting season. Hunting turkeys isn’t that much different in the spring as it is in the fall. The differences really lie with the weather and different tactics to use weather conditions to your advantage rather than have the weather conditions foil your fun. Here are some suggestions for you based on the different weather conditions in the spring:
1 . On calm days, you can hear turkeys from a pretty good distance, especially if you have situated yourself on high ground…like a hill or a ridge. The only downside to calm days is that they can hear you too, so try to walk silently. Pause as often as you can while you walk.
Clear spring days also allow for your calls to carry to them. Remember when you are calling that you want to sound like a real turkey, so think like a turkey. You don’t have to be the loudest turkey caller anyone has ever heard, just be soft and subtle. They will hear you, and they will more likely be fooled by the softer approach.
Back to listening to them, when you hear them, then you know where they are. When you know where they are, you can hunt them. You are not only listening for turkeys gobbling. Turkeys also make a scratching noise when they rustle through leaves and brush for food. You might also want to listen for flapping sounds made by turkeys flying down from their roost.
2 . On windy days, I don’t even waste my time. Turkeys are pretty quiet on windy days and even if they aren’t, you can’t hear them anyway. Hearing is essential to turkey hunting, so it is a pretty important aspect of a successful hunt. If you absolutely have to go on a windy day, hunt early in the morning. The wind often dies down in the morning for a few hours. Also, use a box or pot-peg call. Their high pitch sounds penetrate the wind better than diaphragm calls. Finally, if you do manage to get a turkey that gobbles back at you on a windy day, get ready and get ready fast. That turkey is close if you can hear him.
3 . On rainy days, again, I avoid going. No sense of being miserable when conditions make for poor hunting possibilities. Turkeys don’t do anything on rainy days, no noise and no activity. However, if it rains and then clears up, get out there! Spring is when toms are looking to mate, so when it clears up after a rain, they are actively seeking hens. Also, gray days, or a very light rainy day, are not rainy days. Toms cruise for hens on all but heavier rainy days. Remember though that on rainy mornings, even light rains, turkeys will tend to roost longer than normal, sometimes as late as 8:00 a.m.
Turkeys don’t care to hang around dripping woods, they move to open fields where they can hear better. Because of this, open areas such as open fields, food plots and under power lines are great places to try. These are the days to use a diaphragm call because the box calls are made from wood and don’t work when they are wet or moist.
4 . In Wisconsin, I have seen it snow in April and once even in May. Turkeys will likely roost in evergreen trees on cold, snowy nights, so after it snows, look for pockets of pines or cedars on the sides of hills and try there. As much as I don’t like snow, toms gobble like crazy after it snows. They might come down later than normal on a snowy day, but they will be there. They will strut and feed beneath the evergreen trees.
Another great thing about snow is that they leave prints and it is really easy to track them. In addition, a turkey’s outline sticks out like a sore thumb with snow on the ground. Just remember that the snow helps them see you too, so use the terrain to break up your outline and move pretty slow. Again, moisture isn’t good for wooden box calls, so use a diaphragm call.
5 . Turkeys are dark in color, which means that they absorb heat on hot days. They like to keep cool by hanging out in shady areas. So, before noon, around 10:00 a.m. or so, start checking out patches of shady trees in the middle of fields, dried up creek beds, etc. Quietly sneak up to those areas and then make either a call or some type of noise. This should get them to gobble out of shock.