Late season turkey hunting is quite different from opening day. First, days are much longer and getting to your favorite turkey woods or roosting area requires a significant adjustment in alarm time. In some regions, you’ll need to be an hour earlier than on opening day. Ironically, daylight may arrive sooner, yet dense timber remains dark for a longer period of time.
Typical early season sightings include gobblers with hens, while in late seasons, toms are often alone. Gobbling decreases as well. During the mating season, a gobbler will sound off repeatedly to attract hens to breed. For this reason, they are very vocal. In late season, gobbling is not rewarded with hens willing to mate and thus it decreases.
On accessible public land, virtually every gobbler alive has been worked by hunters, some to the extent that a yelp has the same response as a coyote sighting. Once hens establish nests, toms won’t leave those areas completely, yet may wonder like rutting deer to find receptive hens. As I checked my turkey blind the afternoon prior to opening day, I saw two mature toms strutting nearby. As the birds walked away, I noticed one had a white spot on its head, unusual for the non-strutting stance. Ten days later, I saw the same gobbler more than a mile from my blind and the landowner noticed it’s return a few days later.
Patience, Patience, Patience
Since many turkeys are call shy and very spooky about standard hunting practices, patience is your best ally. As insects, ticks, and snakes emerge in warm weather, many hunters refuse to enter the woods and turkey travels may return to normal. Use owl hoots, crow calls, and other “non-yelping” means to locate roosting turkeys and set up in likely travel corridors. Use very soft clucks and purrs instead of hunter yelps with which gobblers have been bombarded. This post from Bowhunting.com is intended for archers, yet these 5 tips work with shotguns as well… maybe better:
Killing a turkey in the late season can be tough. That’s why many of us are still sitting on a tag or two with the final weeks of turkey season approaching. But it can be done. One of the hottest turkeys I’ve ever killed came to the call, screamin’ his head off, in the last week of season. You would have thought it was opening morning. He simply did things right, even in the late season. So for all the hard-headed toms you’ll come across in the late season, remember, there are other birds that are more willing and eager to play the game. Here’s 5 ways to kill a late season turkey.