Turkey hunters may wish to take heed to this famous quote unofficially tied to the U.S. Postal Service.
“Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor dark of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Attributed to the Greek historian Herodotus approximately 2,500 years ago, the phrase also holds truth to the weather complications turkey hunters face each spring. Ignore the dark of night reference as that will lead to trouble, but prepare for every other weather phenomenon to complete your spring mission.
Rain can affect turkeys depending on if it arrives in a mist or a deluge. Heavy rain can postpone fly down, whereas a light drizzle could simply be shaken off by the skyscraper sleepers. A quality hunting app, like HuntStand, can give you precise and up-to-date forecasts for gear preparation or even a delay of the hunt in case of lightning.
Pre-setting a ground blind in a heavily used turkey area offers you a dry backup. Scout edges near heavy timber or an interior location under a heavy canopy that includes scratching opportunities. Once set up, use subtle flock sounds to lure in gloomy turkeys. Rain can hit the pause button on a hunt, but stand ready. When the sun breaks through it can cause toms to fire up for a suntan.
Luckily, most spring snow events arrive and depart with speed. Even so, a snow bombardment could prod turkeys back to a winter pattern. Check wintering areas if your target flock has flown the coop. Flocks may suddenly congregate in valleys, hardwood hollows, areas with warm springs and around wildlife food plots.
Like a pounding rain event, turkeys tend to hunker on edges or just inside a canopy of timber in these areas. If the snow cover persists, turkeys may visit livestock feeding areas for trouble-free scrounging thanks to bovines.
The good news is that black birds stand out in a white backdrop. Speed scout with your vehicle and a binocular to find the standouts. When you find birds, watch their antics. Sluggish flocks may require a soft approach, but once the storm resides a tom will leave strut marks in the snow right to your aggressive calls.
Sometimes wind accompanies rain or snow. Sometimes it just blows on its own. Regardless, be ready to have your hearing limited just like the birds you hope to call. First, get the jump on the wind. Start early as oftentimes the wind won’t scream until after sunrise. Check hourly forecasts for guidance. Next, find protected areas like coniferous forests, coulees or deep canyons to block the wind. Lastly, cover lots of ground and move with the wind at your back to push call sounds farther. Turkeys won’t hear your wind-muffled approach and they certainly won’t hear your calls from very far so call loud.
Sometimes the weather is too nice and too hot. Don the sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat before you hike to cool, shady habitat to find turkeys. Like windy days, begin your hunt early to beat the heat. As the thermostat cranks up, turn your attention to shaded areas with nutrition nearby.
Oftentimes turkeys lounge near lowlands with running water to enjoy the cool environment and get a sip. Use your standard turkey approach, but when a gobbler heats up, crank up with him before the global warming shuts him down.