What is the Best Time of Day to Hunt Turkey?
Turkey hunting is an engaging activity that hunters can do in different weather conditions. I’ve tried hunting gobblers in spring when it’s cold and rainy and in the middle of a hot and sunny day.
Whether you prefer to hunt in spring or autumn, one of the first things you should ask yourself is what is the best time of day to hunt turkey? This is essential if you want to increase your chances of scoring a game.
Today, I will give you reasons why I prefer a particular time period for my turkey hunt. I will also give quick tips to help you make the most of your hunt no matter what the weather condition is.
What is the Best Time to Hunt Turkeys?
Honestly, I think that scheduling a turkey hunt is really a matter of personal preference. I know some hunters who like to follow birds in the afternoon and check out their roosting place, and then come back early in the morning to do their kill. Other hunters seem to have no problems hunting late in the afternoon.
That said, I personally do the bulk of my turkey hunting between 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Here are several reasons why I prefer this time period:
Aiming for a midmorning hunt allows you more time to find a good spot and set up your gear. Whether you’re using a tree stand or hunting at ground level, having enough time to set up avoids last-minute problems that may cost you a game.
If you plan to hunt turkey, I recommend finding a high place to wait and call for your target. When you get an idea where the gobbler will come from, find a spot where you think the tom might pass by as it searches for hens. Doing this may help you block the tom’s path and lure him to you by using your preferred bird call.
Toms spend early mornings courting and mating with hens. Because of this, they tend to be quieter and they gobble less because they’re already breeding.
However, at about nine o’clock in the morning, hens begin to desert the toms either to lay eggs or simply because they stop being in heat. Many toms suddenly find themselves partnerless, so they begin to gobble louder in hopes of attracting new mates.
Some turkey hunters find midmorning too hot for a hunt, so they take a break, go home, or go back to work. This means there are fewer hunters in the hunting grounds and you now have less competition.
Fewer hunters also mean that toms that might have run away earlier may now return to their usual spots. This gives you more opportunities to track them down.
Different Hunting Conditions
Turkeys tend to have different habits, depending on weather conditions. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your game, no matter what your hunting condition is:
I find it easiest to hunt during calm, quiet days because I can hear the toms’ gobbles from even a mile away. At the same time, the turkeys usually hear my calls better, so I have a bigger chance of coaxing them toward my hunting spot.
If you’re hunting on a quiet day, then good for you! Just remember to make soft to moderate calls to make it realistic. If a turkey suspects that it’s hearing a fake call, it might get spooked and run to the opposite direction.
Gobblers usually look for cool spots with lots of shade when the temperature rises to 70 degrees or higher. Set up in these areas and call softly until the turkey gobbles back.
I’ve discovered that many toms roost longer during the rainy season. Be patient and wait for them to fly down their nest.
Many turkeys prefer open areas during a rainy day because they can’t hear much if they stay in the woods. They also dislike water drips from trees and bushes. Take advantage of this and set up in an open field or other similar spaces.
Avoid using wooden box calls because they sound fake during rainy days. Use a diaphragm or a glass call instead. I usually use a Knight & Hale Dual Threat Glass & Slate Turkey Pot Call on rainy days, but you can try other brands, too.
I dislike hunting on windy days because turkeys do not gobble as much. If you want to try your hand on hunting in this weather, you can use a pot or high-pitch call, since they carry sound better than other turkey callers.
Hunting in snow isn’t as bad as it sounds. I found that turkeys may actually gobble loudly after a snowy night. However, they also tend to roost longer because of the cold weather, so be prepared to wait it out.
Look for turkey prints in the snow and search for evergreen trees. Turkeys prefer these spots to keep themselves warm.
Try using a glass or aluminum call instead of a wooden one because the latter sounds weird when it absorbs moisture.
While you can technically hunt turkeys at any point of the day, consider hunting them between the 9-2 window. Toms are generally more eager to gobble back at your calls during that time, and you’ll increase your chances of hitting a successful game.
Make sure you have the right turkey call for your weather condition.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you have other tips on turkey hunting? Leave your questions and suggestions in the comments’ section below.