When I first started hunting turkeys many years ago I could not have known less , it would have been impossible. My knowledge extended as far as knowing when the season started/ended and what time of day I could hunt. So I began and hunted as hard as I could and learned a lot along the way. As always, I learned a lot of what people told me was nonsense. One example is about hunting turkeys in the rain. It didn’t take long before I figured out hunting in the rain was maybe the best time to hunt birds. I’ll explain.
If you’ve read any of my posts here you already know I’m not one to follow and buy in to conventional wisdom, it isn’t in me. Turkey hunting was no different. So when someone who was experienced hunting these birds was telling me what an expert he is I immediately questioned everything and often did the opposite of what they did. What lead me to hunting in the rain was a combination of trying to disprove what I had been told and hunting when I had time because it’s so limited. I’ll explain what I learned and why I tried to never miss a rainy day in the turkey woods. Here are my 5 reasons to hunt turkeys in the rain every chance you get.
1) No one is in the woods: Well that’s an easy one and many would say “they’re smart enough to get out of the rain”. They’re too lazy to hunt in the rain and don’t know what they’re missing. If you get in the habit of hitting the woods in nasty weather you will have the place to yourself and be able to do whatever you want and wherever you want. Those “blue bird” days are great but no one misses those and we often end up running into other hunters and the birds are on to everyone within 10 minutes of daylight. Enjoy having the place to yourself and the freedom to go wherever you want. I can remember many times during the rain where I would be able to hunt near or on the property line and work birds that were “next door”. Nobody was bothering them and it was a chance to maybe kill one you normally wouldn’t have a shot at. I killed the biggest turkey of my life sitting on a property line calling a gobbler from probably 500-600 yards away. I would go to this spot and watch this turkey everyday before I left the woods. I just wanted to know he was alive. My neighbor was hunting him everyday but never caught up with him. He made the mistake of telling me about it and after 3 weeks of watching him he finally came. There was no one around on that drizzly day and that turkey came a long ways uninterrupted.
2) Turkeys can’t hear in the rain: Not very well anyway and this makes them uncomfortable in the woods. If you’ve hunted turkeys you know how well they hear and how they depend of hearing to keep them alive and in touch with other birds. The rain will make them very uncomfortable and you can take advantage of it. So what do they do? They head for the open ground where at least they can see at a distance. Think about how often you’ve taken a ride when it’s raining and you see turkeys in every field. This is what they do and this is where you should be. I’ve called turkeys across fields at times when it’s raining so hard I don’t even know how they heard the call. Bottom line , it’s easy to find them on rainy days so get the rain gear on and get in the woods.
3) You can move quietly: This is obvious but not to be understated. You’re set up on the edge of a big field and spot a group of birds a few hundred yards away, now what? Maybe you tried calling but can’t get their interest , maybe they can’t hear you. During those rainy days you can move and move fast without making much noise, do it.
Next thing you know you’re working your way back towards the field and are setting up 100 yards away from them without them ever knowing. I do this all the time ,so should you.
4) Cover more ground: When I’m hunting on rainy days I don’t spend much or any time in the woods trying to call. I move and cover as much ground as possible. The reason is I assume they will be out in the open so I check every field/opening I know of instead of sitting in the woods waiting for something that isn’t going to happen. This is the perfect time to move and see every place you can hunt and do it efficiently. During the nice weather we all tend of get setup somewhere and sit it out for hours. It works sometimes but we go days without checking our other spots and maybe miss out on opportunities because we fall in love with one place. Assume they’re going to be in the open and cover ground until you find them. Go sit on the hardwood ridge when the weather’s nice, rain isn’t the time for that.
5) You can sleep in! So you’re hunting tomorrow morning and checking the weather, it doesn’t look good. It’s going to rain all night and into the morning well after sunrise. Sleep in and enjoy it. If it’s raining all night long there’s a good chance the turkeys will stay in the roost until well after the sun is up. Not to say it’s a guarantee but it’s common. Keep an eye on the radar and get in the woods just before the rain stops. When it quits raining the woods are still really noisy from rain dripping off the trees. Turkeys hate this believe me! What often happens is they fly down just before or after the rain ends and head for the fields. That’s where you are , ready and waiting. When they fly down later in the morning they’re often aggressive and ready to make noise. Calling can be a lot of fun during these hunts but you have to be there before they show up. Try it , you won’t be disappointed.
Hunting in the rain is some of my favorite hunting there is. I’ve told a lot of guys about the action I have during the lousy weather and I still see no one in the woods when it’s wet. I’m not smart enough to get out of the rain I’m sure I won’t be anytime soon. If you want some bonus turkey action you should try being as dumb as me and enjoying some of the best hunts you’ll ever have.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by. Please write me anytime and share your thoughts or ideas for other topics. Good luck in the woods and please keep in touch. mj