Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds… and that should double down for turkey hunters. If you are staying home when the weather goes south, you are missing some of the best opportunities for filling a tag, possibly on one of those old boss toms that seem impossible to kill under normal circumstances.
The best example is a hunt I enjoyed with Mossy Oak’s Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland and Wil Prmos in Western Mississippi. As we awoke in a cabin along the Mississippi River, thunder rolled and rain fell in torrents. You can’t hunt turkeys in the rain was the sentiment, yet I relished the unique opportunity.
We slogged through a mucky road, set up and within ten minutes I had a soggy longbeard in front of my CVA double barreled muzzleloader. Smoke hung in the air like a cloud, but the gobbler was down, an event Strickland captured in his book The Truth about Spring Turkey Hunting According to Cuz.
Bad weather can make for great turkey hunting if you keep these five tips in mind:
First, get out there. If you take the extra effort to hunt in bad weather, you can be assured that most of your pussy cat, fair weather competition will be waiting for another day. This is especially important if you hunt public land or have a private lease with multiple club members.
Dress for Success– With today’s great waterproof, windproof gear, there’s no reason to stay indoors. If needed, carry a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate in the back of your turkey vest so you can enjoy the hot liquid and perk up your spirits as the day progresses. Break out your rubber deer hunting boots so you won’t have to worry about wet feet and you can cross streams and walk through water for better access.
Use a Pop-Up Blind
Whether you are hunting in rain, snow, wind or all of the above, you’ll be amazed how cozy a pop-up blind can be on a bad weather day. You can be more mobile in the blind, not worry about being seen, and all of your gear stays dry, especially important if your hunting with granddad’s old side-by-side. Woods Wise makes a series of Mystic No Chalk calls that work when wet, an important feature as most callers shut down with moisture.
If the weather is really bad, slip away from work around 10:00 in the morning, a tactic that can pay off on any day as most guys hunting before work have long left the woods and gobblers have bred their hens at dawn’s early light. With leaves dampened by rain, you can sneak into the woods unnoticed and be less likely to bump deer that are up and feeding.
Call Loudly and Slip Around
Windy weather is probably the most adverse condition, because the frequent movement of limbs and bushes tends to make deer and turkeys uneasy. On windy days, you will need to call loudly and remember that you may not hear a responding gobble. Move slowly along old logging roads or field edges. On rainy days, turkeys tend to move into open fields and onto small clearings to keep their feathers dry, so you can anticipate seeing them before hearing them.
One of my favorite father/son hunts was a cold, rainy, foggy morning when by nine o’clock my dad and I were both soaked. “Let’s go have breakfast” he suggested, but instead of eating and then going home, we returned and each killed a gobbler before the noon closing time.