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Afternoon turkey searching barely crosses the minds of some hunters, and it’s simple to know why. For many turkey nuts, the spring gobbler hunt and early mornings simply go collectively. All of us love watching a spring morning are available to sound of turkey gobbling on the roost. However there’s a value to be paid for this mindset, and it will get steeper because the season progresses. Punching the alarm at 4 a.m. could also be thrilling on the opener, however by mid-season, I’m groaning and swatting at that clock prefer it’s a pesky fly.

If you happen to’re in search of a respite and afternoon turkey searching is allowed in your state, you alternative begins one minute after midday and lasts till nightfall. And whereas it lacks the romance of the daybreak hunt, this time interval can supply the most effective motion of the day if you understand how to take benefit. So, right here’s your information to afternoon turkey searching.

Afternoon Gobblers: Case In Level

I’ve killed and known as in a pile of birds after the midday bell, the most recent being my dad’s 2023 turkey, which he pulled the set off on at 5 minutes earlier than 3 p.m. That turkey devoured simply as laborious as any hen does at dawn, lined 200 yards in twenty minutes, pausing solely to strut and drum, and walked into the decoys making an attempt to determine if he ought to breed the pretend hen or thrash the pseudo jake. Dad, who’s 93 by the best way, dropped the hammer earlier than the tom may make his selection.

The writer’s dad, Marv Bestul, took this Minnesota longbeard at 3 within the afternoon. Scott Bestul

And to make all of it even higher, we’d slept in that morning. The forecast precisely predicted heavy rain at daybreak, and when the clouds broke about midday, we allowed a while for the birds to dry out and have been all arrange just a little after 2 o’clock. I yelped and cutt for about quarter-hour, and when the tom sounded off, I knew we have been within the sport. In the long run, we didn’t hear the quantity of gobbling you may on a transparent morning at fly-down, however I’ve way back adopted the credo that one gobble from a hen that’s prepared to return is way extra thrilling than 100 from turkeys who don’t know what the following 5 minutes of their day appear like.

Why Afternoon Turkey Looking Can Be So Good

Truthfully, it type of blows me away what number of hunters miss out on the post-dawn gobbler motion. Irrespective of what number of occasions professional hunters inform them “the most effective stuff occurs after mid-morning,” in the event that they haven’t tagged a tom by 9 a.m., they’re heading for the diner, or the trout stream or, in actually unhappy instances, the golf course. In the meantime, gobblers that have been henned up all by way of the early morning are simply now turning into extra weak. Hunts after that preliminary fly-down exercise may be efficient for the best of causes—as a result of many toms have doubtless misplaced the hens that ran to their first gobbles, and even essentially the most dominant tom in an space may discover himself with out feminine firm. This lonely-tom situation truly turns into increasingly doubtless because the season progresses, as hens end laying eggs and get critical about sitting on them and hatching a brood.

If you happen to hunt in a state that closes a midday every day, the best way to take benefit is to skip the diner and keep within the woods from 9 to midday. Or sleep in, go to diner first, and begin searching at midmorning. However in the event you’re fortunate sufficient to reside in a state that permits afternoon turkey searching, you’ve acquired hours and hours to take benefit, and because the afternoon wears on, the percentages get even increased {that a} given gobbler is lonely.

Afternoon Turkey Looking Hotspots and Techniques

That mentioned, it’s a little bit of a unique hunt than the one which begins at midnight. Within the early morning, you’re relying on birds sounding off in principally recognized roosting web site. However at noon or the within the afternoon, you’re seeking to spot or strike a tom that might be in any variety of locations. There are three good methods to do that. First, in the event you reside in massive, open nation or have entry to a lot of fields which you could see from the highway or with a brief hike, you can begin with a milk run of spots to glass for strutters. Second, in the event you hunt extra wooded terrain and wish to be cellular, you possibly can cowl floor slowly and stealthily whereas making an attempt to strike a hen with hen name or locator name. I’ve discovered {that a} boat-paddle-style field name and a crow name are tops for this. Third, you possibly can easy setup in a great spot and look ahead to a tom to return round or hold forth close by, which is what my dad and I did the opposite day. Listed below are three good locations to begin.

1. Feeding Areas

One great spot to search for afternoon turkeys is a well-liked meals supply. Within the first weeks of season, that’s usually farm fields of picked corn and soybeans or, in additional timbered habitat, leftover mast from final fall’s acorn crop. Because the season progresses, greening clover and alfalfa fields suck in birds that aren’t solely drawn to the inexperienced stuff itself, however the bug life that accompanies that progress.

2. Water Sources and Loafing Areas

Water sources like creeks, streams, and pond or lake shores are one other favored spot for afternoon turkey searching, particularly when the climate warms. Actually, because the hunt continues into Could, scorching climate can actually have an effect on turkey exercise; birds merely transfer much less when the mercury soars, and loafing cowl—which I often discover on north-facing slopes or expanses of shady, mature timber—turns into a well-liked hangout for afternoon turkeys.

3. Roosting Areas

Because the shadows lengthen, I shift my consideration to the roost websites the place turkeys will finish their day. Three seasons in the past, I took one among my latest-day gobblers, a hen that was drifting towards a grove of giant oaks within the night. I noticed the tom in an alfalfa area as I drove as much as the farm and took a minute to glass from a distance. I waited till the hen disappeared into the timber, then grabbed my gear and hustled throughout the fields towards him. I arrange on the wooden line, not 100 yards from my final sighting, and yelped softly a number of occasions over the following 10 minutes. Out of the blue, an enormous pink head popped out of the woods and headed my approach. The tom didn’t gobble as soon as, however couldn’t resist the urge to take a look at one final hen earlier than mattress time. After I wrapped my tag on his leg, my clock on my cellphone registered a number of clicks previous 7 p.m.

trail cam photo of turkey
Neatly positioned path cameras can inform you the place toms wish to loaf and roost within the afternoon. Scott Bestul

I’m fortunate sufficient to reside pretty near the birds I hunt, so gathering intel can merely be a matter of spending time within the woods and paying consideration. However I’m removed from on the market day-after-day, so I’ve discovered to depend on a scouting software well-known to deer hunters, the path digicam. I easy transfer my fall whitetail cams to areas the place I do know, or suspect, turkeys is likely to be hanging out. These cams can present clues to not solely what number of gobblers are in an space, however after they like to hang around there; info that may remove a whole lot of guesswork for afternoon turkey searching.

In the long run, I nonetheless love to look at a spring dawn and listen to first gobble of a morning, regardless of how exhausted I’m. But when, as so typically occurs, the roost hunt turns right into a goat-roping, I do know I’m removed from accomplished for the day. I’d break for a nap, however then I’ll get proper again on the market. And as my dad’s hunt proved, a number of the finest searching of the day can lie forward. 

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