Wild turkey surprise: shotgunning high-noon longbeards
Skipping out on a first-light hunt is not in the cards for most turkey hunters. It’s too cool to be out there when the sun starts to rise and the roosted birds gobble their heads off. While exciting, this isn’t alway the best time to fill your tag, especially in the early season.
Henned-up toms are the norm throughout much of April, and while they’ll gobble at your calls, they’ll also follow the real ladies around all morning. It can be maddeningly frustrating. If you’ve got it in you, though, those same toms that will talk back but not commit at sunrise will be in the game sometime later in the day.
My favorite time to turkey hunt, after the morning rush is around lunch time. When the toms finally figure out the hens they are with aren’t into them and they start roaming in search of new love, they are susceptible to calling in a major way. In fact, I’ll take one bird I can get to gobble at noon over 10 longbeards at sunrise.
The lunchtime bird that gets fired up over every yelp is one that will prove suicidal. Stick it out at least until early-afternoon if the morning doesn’t pan out. It may not be as action-packed as sunrise, but you may very well run into a bird that is desperate for companionship.
Finally, for thoughts on safety while turkey hunting, check out this piece.