Foul Weather Birds
Published: April 29th, 2020
By: Eric Davis

Foul Weather Birds Evening Sun File Photo

The weather forecast for Friday currently is calling for rain with winds ranging from five to ten miles per hour. This weather typically shuts gobbling action down to little or nothing. This can lead to cold, wet, miserable mornings that make you want to sleep in the next time rain is in the forecast. However, there are a few things you can do to make the best of poor weather during turkey season.

One of the first things to do is to invest in some gear. Just like deer hunting in the fall, being comfortable makes you stay in the field longer. Staying dry will keep you from heading home early, increasing your chance of seeing turkeys. Quality raingear is probably the best purchase to make. You can buy a set (jacket and pants) that packs down to fit inside a pocket, is lightweight, and is somewhat breathable which allows some sweat to evaporate without letting water in from outside. Wearing rain gear allows you to be mobile when the weather is not the best.

Another option to stay dry is the pop-up ground blind. Essentially, it is a camouflage tent that gives you cover from the rain. Blinds come as either framed with spring steel or with a hub and pole support system. Blinds with the spring steel are cheaper than hub style blinds but are a little harder to setup and take down. The downside of a pop-up blind is that you cannot be as mobile.

A looked over piece of gear for wet weather is waterproof calls. Whether you like box calls or pot calls, you need to make sure your call will work when its wet out. There are box calls with special coating on the lid and top rails that will make noise still when wet. Another old timer secret is to carry your box call in a bread bag. That way the call stays dry, but you can use the call in the bag and still hear it. For pot calls, slate calls and wood strikers will stop working when they get wet. Consider a crystal- or aluminum-surfaced pot call and a carbon striker. They will keep working when wet. They also have higher sound frequencies so the sound will carry and hopefully be audible to turkeys over the rain.

After getting the appropriate gear, the next focus is on the turkey’s behavior to come up with your game plan. A wild turkey spends its time constantly on the lookout for predators. They use two senses primarily for this, hearing and sight. When raindrops are falling in the woods, it can be deafening. This makes it hard to listen for approaching predators, so turkeys will head to open fields. In the field, the turkeys rely on their eyesight to try to catch approaching predators.

So, if you have the turkeys patterned and know what field they like to use, especially on rainy days, head to the field edge first thing in the morning. If you can, put up your ground blind the night before. This will save you time trying to put the blind up in the rain in the morning. Be prepared for the turkeys to stay on the roost longer in the rain.

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I like to use decoys when setting up on field edges to keep birds from hanging up outside of shotgun range. In heavy rain, toms are not particularly aggressive so I would shy away from using a strutting decoy. A jake decoy paired with a hen decoy would be my go-to. Any bird that comes into the field should come check out the decoys. The turkeys will likely not be calling a lot so match the real thing. Keep calling to a minimum, with just some yelping every 15 minutes or so.


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