Josh is busy hunting turkeys in the Volunteer State this week and working on a fresh column for next week. Here is a classic from Crawford.
It is no question that April is one of my favorite months of the year. The glooms of winter are starting to fall away, as flowers are blooming, mushrooms are popping, and turkeys are gobbling. With spring gobbler season opening this week, I thought it would be good to visit a subject pertaining to finding turkeys during different times of the day, as well as in all sorts of weather situations.
Knowing where the birds are is imperative when trying to bag your gobbler this spring. If you are like me, your time in the morning is probably limited due to work and other obligations.
Therefore, it is important to make the most of your time afield, spending it in areas that the turkeys area are, instead of where we want them to be.
Dr. Mike Chamberlain is a Wild Turkey Researcher, and a Graduate Professor at the University of Georgia. In his studies of radio collared gobblers, he has found that Toms typically will roost at about the midpoint of the ridge that they are on.
The reason behind this is so that they can “pitch” or fly down directly into the ridge, meaning that they are landing in a spot that they know is safe from predators because of being able to see it from their perch.
Along with roosting at the midpoint of the ridge, gobblers will often times position themselves at the “head” of the hollow, or ravine they are in.
This is most likely so they can broadcast their gobbles over a larger area while they are in the tree.
On a beautiful, blue bird, day, gobblers will often end up on benches, and old logging roads slowly moving along looking for bugs, and seeds to eat.
While they are doing this, they will often strut, and gobble from these locations, making it a good idea to be above them, on the top of the ridge while hunting.
Toms will typically gobble well on the roost on sunny, high-pressure days. After fly down, they will head to the benches and roads to strut, then will begin gobbling again around 9:00, making this a great time to catch them in a vulnerable state in these locations.
On a day with rain, or high humidity, turkeys will often get out of the woods fairly quickly and head to the fields where they can feed on bugs and worms. It is also believed that turkeys like fields on rainy days because they can use their keen vision as a defense mechanism, as they are unable to hear as well in the timber.
If you are lucky enough to catch a gobbler in a field on a day like this, you have a decent chance to call him in, as long as you set up in a location where he cannot see you.
Another good tactic in this situation is to use an artificial fan, or a real one from and old turkey, and crawl behind it. Often times Toms will see the fan, then run in to confront the intruder.
Windy days are the bane of turkey hunting, as not being to hear birds gobble stacks the deck against you. Success can still be found on these days if you know where the turkeys want to go.
When the wind is howling, birds will typically seek a flat spot in a bottom, or a field in a lower elevation, where they can get out of the wind.
Slowly slipping through a creek bottom, listening for a faint gobble is a good tactic in the timber.
In a field, these are the days that you can belly crawl to birds, as the wind may aide in getting away with a little more movement than normal.
Hopefully you can find Toms in these locations during this turkey season, and employ some of the tactics in order to get a gobbler inside of the magical forty yards.
Good luck to everyone this season, and stay safe. o