Turkey hunting in the rain can pose a unique challenge. Unlike me and you, turkeys do not rely heavily on taste and smell as they have a weaker sense in these areas. However, they compensate for this with exceptional visual abilities.
With their keen eyesight and acute hearing there are some tips and tactics you can use to kill a turkey in the wet and rainy weather. If you know where to go and why to go there, turkey hunting in the rain can provide great advantages.
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Can turkey see good?
With their eyes positioned on the sides of their heads, they can see up to a 300-degree range without any head movement. While there is no concrete evidence about the extent of their hearing abilities, turkeys are known to possess acute hearing and are quick to flee upon detecting any abnormal sounds.
From my experience, the rain has had no effect on normal turkey patterns. A heavy downpour might force them under some type of cover, but a light gentle, all-day drizzle doesn’t bother them. They appear to ignore it for the most part. Let’s take a look at a few essential tips you should know for turkey hunting in the rain.
Hunt the open fields
During rainfall, turkeys tend to gather in open fields or pastures. The noise of rain hitting the surrounding foliage can hinder their sight and hearing, causing them to become easily startled. Turkeys tend to be quite nervous and will flee at the slightest hint of danger.
The open field provides a much better field of vision to watch for predators. Also, turkeys would rather walk in short vegetation than underbrush and taller weeds so that their tail feathers won’t drag.
What decoy should I use to turkey hunt?
Decoys are a great addition to turkey hunting whether it’s raining or not. I usually set up with a few Montana Decoy’s and a Primo’s Gobbler/Hen pair.
Because of the wind and rain, it’s possible that a turkey may not be able to hear your call, but it will have a better chance of spotting your decoy in an open field due to it’s exceptional vision.
Short story: Last spring, I was hunting during a light all-day drizzle. I set up alongside a brush pile and placed two decoys about 20 yards from me. After about an hour, 3 gobblers came in close range to check out my decoys. My safety was already off so I pulled the trigger; the other two gobblers left the area.
How to call a turkey
When you are in the field turkey hunting in the rain, don’t be afraid to be bold and use some volume on your turkey call. Wind doesn’t spook turkeys like it does deer, but it can cause them to be extra alert and cautious of their surroundings. Turkeys have a difficult time hearing when rain is coming down and the wind is blowing, so don’t be afraid to let loose on that call.
Remember, turkey are very skittish, so if they look your direction when you strike your call, stay still and don’t move a muscle. Turkeys can see the slightest movement, even the blink of an eye.
I like to be noisy and make sure that my call can be heard on a rainy or windy day. I have a few calls, but my Knight & Hale Ol Yeller has been with me for years and years. It requires no sanding or chalk and can be used in rainy or windy conditions. When a tom responds to your call, raise your gun and get ready – anytime you hear a gobble on a rainy or windy day, he’s gotta be pretty close.
What to wear when turkey hunting?
It is important to be comfortable when you are in the woods waiting on a turkey. You could be sitting for hours in the same spot. It will take time for turkeys to enter into an open area. It is best to have a vinyl poncho and some rubber boots to stay dry. Personally, I like wearing Frogg Toggs to keep me dry. It is a bit noisy when rubbed together, but it does allow you to breathe and stay 100% dry at the same time.
While hunting Turkeys in the rain, it’s very hard for you to hear a turkey gobble. The sound of the drops falling on leaves and the wind create harder conditions to hear. The sound of the rain hitting the roof of your hunting blind may be just enough to put you to sleep. You should always be alert. A turkey might be 10 yards behind you and you would never even know it.
By using these tips, you should be able to call in a gobbler within shooting range. What other tips do you have for turkey hunting in the rain? Do you sleep in or do you brave the weather?
Photo credit: Don Sniegowski