Turkey Hunting Strategies for Chasing Afternoon Gobblers
- Understanding the difference in turkey behavior from morning to afternoon.
- Committing to areas where gobblers will be.
- Adapting turkey hunting strategies to afternoon birds
Turkey Behavior in the Afternoon
Afternoon turkey hunts can be as prosperous as sunrise action. As midday retreats to early evening, gobblers will be drifting between loafing areas on their way to feeding areas. Solo gobblers will be in search mode looking for lonely hens, which are not already spoken for or are not in nesting mode. Big toms will often patrol silently so it is important to hunt transitional areas between loafing and feeding areas and wait them out. Turkey calling is useful but responses are typically few and far between in the afternoon. Don’t get frustrated and remain patient during this time of day. If you’re in an area with birds, sit tight and wait for them to come in silently.
Finally, there is spring turkey hunting in the late evening. The closer to dusk you get the more motivated turkeys are to reach their roosting area. One of the best turkey hunting strategies for evening hunts is to ambush birds on their way to roost. That way if you blow it in the evening, you potentially will not disturb their roosting pattern and ultimately that spot for future hunts, including potentially the next morning. If you know where turkeys roost, set yourself between their feeding areas and the trees they roost in. If the property has significant terrain, your setup should take to the hill above or level with the roosting trees. Turkeys will typically favor approaching their roosts from the high side to make the fly up to the roost easier.
Commit to Turkey Habits in the Spring
Alternative Turkey Hunting Strategies for Chasing Afternoon Birds
- Alter your turkey calling approach. Reduce your calling down to soft yelps and purrs. Turkey talking later in the day is minimal so loud and continuous calling will usually not be well received by gobblers this time of day. Also, turkey calling tips like being silent and listening instead of calling as well as trying a gobbling call can all work to your advantage in the afternoon.
- Match decoys to behavior. After the morning, most aggressive turkey behaviors are diminishing. Similarly to calling techniques reserved for morning hours, using turkey hunting decoys that mimic fighting or breeding in the afternoon is just out of place. Switch to more feeding decoy setups with multiple hens or deploy the walking harem setup in and near feeding areas to exploit afternoon turkey behavior.
- Run and gun known turkey areas. Not all afternoon turkey hunting strategies revolve around setting up in one spot and waiting them out. Use the run and gun tactic to cover the ground between loafing and feeding areas. You’re basically looking to glass these areas from afar to see if birds are there or calling here and there to generate a shock gobble. If either one produces, sit down and then commit to the area and work the birds.
Don’t dismiss hunting turkeys in the afternoon where you’re able. The late day action is without a doubt different than the morning but can get just as hot if you know how to hunt them after lunch. The three key turkey hunting strategies for killing afternoon gobblers include understanding late day turkey behavior, committing to areas that have birds and altering your tactics. Focusing on these tactics will put you in more situations to be able to harvest an afternoon gobbler this spring season.