Turkey Hunting in the Rain
The chill in the air; the darkness that slowly melts into a grapefruit then orange sky and finally sunlight; the sound of a gobbler in the distance as you lean back against a tree watching and listening – there’s simply nothing like it.
But how about when it’s raining? It’s harder to feel so inspired. The good news is, rain almost always brings gobblers out of the woods and into open fields. And because it may take a couple extra hours for the them to leave their roost on a rainy day, you may have a little extra time to scout, or sleep in.
But about that rain...
Spring is a naturally rainy season with a relatively small window to kill gobblers. Because of these factors you can’t afford to avoid getting wet. Depending on what kind of weather you’re up against, turkeys will respond differently. So instead of staying home, come up with a game plan to tag out no matter the conditions.
After the downpour
Although feathers guard against rain, turkeys still tend to seek shelter during heavy downpours. Once the weather calms and the sun peeks out, however, toms will resume gobbling, strutting, and seeking hens in open fields with short grasses. They’d prefer not to drag their feathers along the wet, muddy ground. Once you’ve found such a spot, hunker down and watch.
From here, it’s decision time. If the rain persists and temperatures drop, turkeys will shut the show down. You may have to take a more aggressive approach – stalking or reaping will be your best bet. If hens are present and you don’t want to risk scattering the flock, determine which direction they are ambling and try to intercept them where they’ll re-enter the woods to roost.
During a drizzle
Turkeys would rather be out in the open to see and hear threats during a drizzle. While they are acutely aware of the sight and sound impairments due to falling rain, nature’s helpful disguise for movement will still work to your advantage. The distraction will help pad the sound of your steps in the leaves, and creeping up towards the open field will be less risky. Be overly careful to remain low and out of sight, since their vision is so keen.
A stormy thunder
You’d think that thunder would be a sure-fire way to ruin a perfectly good turkey hunt. When in fact, the thunder can scare the toms, causing them to gobble and give away their location. Pinpoint the spot and start creeping in that direction. Setup on a tree that’s at least 100 yards short of where you think you heard the gobble. As you begin calling, keep your eyes moving to spot a tom that’s likely going to walk in unannounced.
Draw them in with decoys
Since the sound of rain and wind can inhibit the clarity of any calls you make, use a turkey’s impeccable eye sight to your advantage – draw them in with decoys. Heavy rain makes gobblers impatient - they know the breeding season is only so long. Set up a Spring Fling or MISS PURR-FECT to entice them out into the open and right in the line of your shotgun.
Bottom line, a little bad weather shouldn’t keep you out of the woods. With a solid strategy, you can still come home with a turkey. Get your rain gear on, grab your gun and go in search of the open fields where turkeys are sure to be.