Turkey Searching within the Wind
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No person hopes to go turkey looking within the wind. What all of us need is a shiny, crisp morning that dawns with birdsong, comfy temps and, a tom sounding off from a close-by tree. Windy days mess with that ultimate situation in quite a lot of methods. They’re normally colder, which makes issues much less comfy for us and infrequently give turkeys a case of lock-jaw. To make issues worse, a stiff breeze additionally makes any toms that do wish to gobble tougher to listen to.
All of it begs the query: Do you even wish to hunt turkeys on a windy day? And my reply is: Certain, if these are the playing cards you’re dealt. Whereas the situations are removed from ultimate, I’ve realized easy methods to rating on these days when the wind sways the treetops. Turkeys may not act as sparky on breezy days as they do on good mornings, however when you learn the way wind impacts turkey habits and easy methods to modify your ways accordingly, you’ll be proper again within the sport. Right here’s easy methods to go turkey looking within the wind and punch your tag anyway.
How Wind Impacts Turkey Conduct
One of the miraculous issues about turkeys to me is their capacity to hold on to a roosting limb and journey out a windy night time. How they get any “sleep” (if that’s actually what they’re doing up there) baffles me. However sleep (or a minimum of relaxation) they have to, as a result of when daybreak comes they pitch down and start a brand new day like all the time. However throughout that windy day, they’re apt to behave somewhat otherwise.
Subsequent to their eyesight, turkeys rely closely on superior listening to to assist them keep away from and evade predators, and naturally, heavy winds compromise that capacity. To compensate, windy-day turkeys will usually search reduction from wind the by feeding, strutting, and loafing in sheltered valleys and on the lee facet of hills.
The opposite ploy that turkeys use on windy days appears counterintuitive; they head to fields and pastures. Whereas this doesn’t give them any benefit by way of listening to, the open expanses permit turkeys to make use of their eyes to identify predators or different threats. Hanging within the wide-open additionally permits birds to zero in on potential hazard from an extended methods off to allow them to take evasive motion. I as soon as watched a flock of 10 hens and three longbeards milling in a big alfalfa discipline one windy afternoon, the followers of the strutting toms blowing forwards and backwards in a stiff breeze because the hens fed round them. Out of the blue the once-content birds snapped their heads erect and, as if somebody sounded an alert, the birds flushed nearly in unison and sailed far overhead and throughout a broad valley. Minutes later I noticed a coyote, watching the flock disperse by the spring air. How lengthy he’d been stalking the birds I couldn’t inform, however he needed to search for a unique protein supply that day.
It’s additionally price noting that how a lot wind it takes to affect turkey habits is a relative matter. On the prairies and plains, turkeys dwell with wind as a matter of routine; the Kansas rancher who’s let me hunt for years all the time jokes “If deer and turkeys needed to look ahead to a peaceful day to be energetic out right here, they’d by no means transfer.” Conversely, turkeys residing in big-woods habitats appear to restrict their motion when the wind kicks up. In fact, they don’t have the posh of shifting to fields and pastures like their open-country cousins, however they do appear to gravitate to stands of mature timber, the place they’ll see higher than in brushier habitat.
Adapting to Windy Day Turkeys
Any time I really feel lower than assured when confronted with a windy day, I bear in mind a Kansas hunt from a number of years again. My buddy Tom and I had pushed 12 hours to bow hunt the prairie birds of western Kansas and arrived on a day when it appeared practically inconceivable to kill a gobbler. Whereas the snow–which blew sideways in sheets for a lot of the morning—had ebbed a bit, the wind had no intention to surrender the struggle; it was double the grass and brush over, and inflicting the tops of historic cottonwoods to sway so exhausting it appeared they’d snap.
Nonetheless, we staked down a blind in a spot that I knew held turkeys. Then I positioned two decoys out and propped stout sticks towards them so that they wouldn’t blow away. I used an extended boat-paddle-style field name–recognized for its quantity and shrill pitch—to bang out a sequence of yelps, however I nonetheless felt like I used to be whispering throughout rush-hour visitors. I used to be rummaging in my vest for an additional name when Tom stated, “What’s that up there?” He pointed to a pair of black specks on a distant ridgeline, and thru my binocular, I noticed a pair of gobblers that gave the impression to be staring our means.
“Needs to be a fluke,” I muttered, however cranked on the boat paddle once more. Then I stared in amazement because the birds stretched their necks out to gobble, then set their wings and sailed towards us. Minutes latter, they had been in our dekes and Tom arrowed the most important one, a brush-bearded gobbler that crumpled solely 10 yards off.
How one can Hunt Turkeys within the Wind
Because the birds within the story above show, turkeys can hear surprisingly properly within the wind; these gobblers needed to be over 400 yards off once they not solely heard my first yelps, however zeroed in on their location. That stated, it’s nonetheless a good suggestion to change to a loud, high-pitched name when the wind kicks up. Field calls, which I exploit solely sometimes at different occasions, turn out to be my go-to requires windy days. A high-pitched, shrill boat-paddle or long-box type name that may carry yelping and chopping for far is concept. For pot calls, I like ones confronted with aluminum, ceramic, or glass that produce loads of high-pitched quantity.
Since turkeys are sometimes in open areas on windy days, decoys are vital. Not solely do birds usually want a visible clue to go with the yelping they’ve heard, decoys can usually entice a fowl you’re not calling to and even conscious of. Greater than as soon as I’ve taken an prolonged break from calling, then appeared as much as spot a tom heading my means that merely noticed my fakes and strolled in for a glance. One phrase of warning on decoys when the wind is up. Go away the froth fakes at dwelling. As a substitute, you’ll need harder-sided decoys with somewhat weight to them, and also you’ll must staked them firmly, as a wind gust can uproot them in any other case. I as soon as had a gobbler coming in completely, till my hen deke spun Exorcist-syle, then tumbled off its stake and blew proper on the gobbler, who flushed and flew like he’d been shot from a cannon.
Once I’m on the transfer and making an attempt to strike a fowl, I’ve realized to take action with the wind in my face as a lot as possbile. Early on in my turkey looking days, I used to do it the alternative means, with the wind at my again, considering I wanted all the assistance I might get to hold my calls to the turkeys. Downside was, the turkeys had no downside listening to me, however with the wind carrying their gobbles away from me, I used to be not listening to them. I bumped a minimum of a half-dozen toms earlier than I lastly discovered that, identical to deer looking, I wanted to maintain the wind in my face as I walked. That means when a tom responds to a yelp, I really hear it and may arrange instantly. One other factor I realized in a rush was that one gobble on a windy day is price 10 on a peaceful morning. If a fowl can hear you thru the wind and has wolfed in response, odds are excessive he’s coming. On a peaceful morning, it appears any fowl with a beard is gobbling, however a lot of that discuss is simply idle chatter. Should you hear a gobble affordable shut on a windy day, perhaps minimize the gap somewhat, however then arrange rapidly and prepare.