Weather or Not

Some guys have seen stormy times down south where spring gobbler seasons have just started. One of my turkey hunting buds reported in after an Alabama hunt this past weekend. All he said was: "Weather just north but barometer at bottom. Silence . . ." How wild turkeys react under certain conditions determines how you hunt them.

If rainfall is heavy at fly-down time, turkeys might stay right on their tree branches. If rain arrives after flocks are on the ground, birds will more than likely move to open fields, or edge cover.

Hot conditions influence patterns too. Texas and desert southwest birds live out their feathered lives in rising mercury extremes, and seem just as active and vocal during hot spells as on cooler days. I once killed a Hill Country spring Rio with the temperature over 90º F. He gobbled to my calls, and came on a string. I've seen New England and New York state turkeys shut down in high heat.

Turkeys look. Turkeys listen. Wind makes it tough for them to do both. Wind-tossed tree branches make the woods a place of constant motion. There's often enough noise to challenge a turkey's hearing, and prey species require that ability. As a result, spring gobblers often move to calmer locations. Hollows, draws, and places out of the wind, will get their attention on such days. Don't squander hunting time elsewhere.

Here are four other tough-weather tricks can help:
1. Many manufacturers offer waterproof friction calls. Of course mouth diaphragms work no matter what the weather.
2. Use online sources to predict weather patterns, including radar tracking available at such sites.
3. Dress for success. Wear wind- and water-resistant clothing to keep you outdoors when everyone else has given up. Carry a change of dry camouflage clothing in a plastic container in your vehicle as well.
4. Sleep in on extreme weather days, estimating when the storm will break. Plan on hitting the woods when that window of time arrives.

Any of you Strut Zoners out in that wild weather this past weekend?

--Steve Hickoff