The waning days of spring turkey season can be feast or famine. During some seasons, breeding behavior is all but over. But in seasons when gobblers remain ready, the hunting can be the best of all.
Breeding Stage Clues
Not all turkey seasons are created equal. During some springs, late-season turkey hunting is striking in the amount of gobbling activity. Toms are still ready to go, but with most hens either incubating eggs or non-receptive, longbeards can actually be pushovers. In
other years, it’s all done by the time the sun sets on the final day.
Decoy to Use
Use them all–let the gobblers sort them out. In all seriousness, hens, jakes and strutting toms can and will work now. When using tom decoys, try positioning a squatting hen somewhere nearby. The mere sight of a receptive female can be all the incentive a gobbler needs to come running.
How & Where to Set Up
By this time of year, it’s common for wandering hens to frequent the same places on a daily basis. These hens are not receptive, but have likely left their nests for a short while to feed. If hunting blind (without having seen or heard a gobbler), you’ve got a starting point. If not, go to the places where you’ve heard birds earlier in the season. Also be sure to check fields for strutting birds–especially when it rains.
How to Call ‘Em In
Whereas logic might dictate going low and slow with late-season birds, it’s not always necessary. If a tom is ready, willing and able, over-calling won’t make much of a difference. Feel him out. If he’s responsive, don’t shy away from yelping at him.
A spate of warm spring weather or cold and wet weather can shut down the breeding season prematurely. If you can’t raise a gobble, put out a decoy, sit in a field and call. Watch for a silent approach.