Outdoors: Hunters shouldn’t let a little rain dampen their turkey hunt

Outdoors

Pop-up blinds are the ticket to keep turkey hunters dry on rainy days.

We can’t control the weather, but we can learn how to deal with it. There are certain things turkey hunters can do to adapt for chasing turkeys on a rainy day. Weighing out your options and knowing how turkeys react to rainy conditions can help bag a gobbler

Your approach to hunting turkeys in the rain should be a little different than on fair weather days. If the day begins stormy and heavy rain is falling gobblers and hens may opt to remain on roost well after daylight starts. But, as the storms move on and the rain subsides, the turkeys will leave their roost position and begin their day.

“Turkeys may not gobble when there is a heavy rain falling,” said Phillips, of Lincoln, a long-time turkey hunter. “But they will sometimes answer a call if close by.”

Phillips recommends looking for rainy day turkeys in open fields, food plots or along old logging roads. When on the ground turkeys will hang out in more open areas to rely on their keen eyesight to spot any danger from predators. The rain falling on leaves and through the trees limits their hearing.

Top areas to focus your hunt are pastures, harvested grain fields, right-of-way along powerlines and gas lines. Use a quality pair of binoculars to scan the field for turkeys. Take note of their direction of travel and if any gobblers are present.

Most turkey hunters own a poncho or a top-notch camo rain suit. While these garments provide protection in a light rain or drizzle, it can be a long day if a heavy rain persists. However, a pop-up style blind can be the cure for hunting rainy day gobblers.

The pop-up style blinds are perfect for hunting rainy day turkeys. The blinds are inexpensive, light-weight and can be set up in minutes. Most models are roomy enough for two or more hunters.

“Turkeys just don’t seem to pay any attention to the blinds,” said Johnny Ponder of Munford. “Birds will walk right by the blind and don’t even notice it.”

Pop-up blinds provide concealment for the hunter while keeping everyone and gear dry. Hunters can bring along a fold-out chair to remain comfortable for hours even during heavy downpours. Most blinds have several different shooting windows that can be opened just enough to make a shot on a gobbler.

“If possible, set the blind near a group of small trees to help with concealment,” Ponder said. “Along the edge of patch of weeds or near a large tree will help the blind appear more natural.”

Phillips reminds turkey hunters not to forget about utilizing a shooting house during a stormy turkey hunt. Once situated in the blind or shooting house make certain there is room to shoulder a shotgun and put a bead on a turkey.

“Your calling will need to be louder and a little more frequent during a rain,” Ponder said. “The rain can limit the distance sound will travel.”

Ponder and Phillips both suggest using standard turkey calls like the yelp and cackle. Turkeys will call in the rain and will respond to various types of calls. Box calls generally give a little more volume and can be effective anytime.

Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at charjohn@cableone.net.

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