There are few things as exciting to me as slipping into the dark woods in the shadows of the moonlight. Anticipating where that first gobble might ring out from and hoping your calls don’t come out sour. Listening as the woods wake up and the turkeys fly down from their roost.
I love early morning turkey hunting. It’s exciting and fast-paced! However, most of my success has come while late morning turkey hunting.
Though you may not hear as many gobbles as the day warms up, gobblers seem to be more receptive to calling later in the morning. Late morning turkey hunting requires a little more patience, a more comfortable place to sit, and some extra water/food in the vest.
Read on to learn why late morning turkey hunting has been so good to me and what strategies I use to bring in toms at this time.
Why I Love Late Morning Turkey Hunting
Hunting gobblers off the roost is hard. They seem to always have their minds made up about what direction they are going off the limb. That direction almost always seems to be the opposite direction of Yours Truly.
Late morning turkeys are different. If you’ve ever complained about a tom being “henned up,” then you should enjoy this time of the day. Because this is the time that toms lose the hens that were leading them away from you in the early morning.
The real hens go off to do hen things. Now, these toms are lonely and looking for more action. And who better to give them that action than you!
While the gobbling is usually not as frequent in the late morning, when you do hear one gobbling, you can almost count on him coming to you. I usually HEAR the most gobbling when the turkeys are still on the roost. I usually SEE the most toms in the late morning.
Late Morning Turkey Hunting Tips and Strategies
If I hear a tom gobbling early…
My late morning turkey hunting strategy usually starts at first light. A lot of times, I will hear a tom on the limb in the early morning. I will call to him and he will answer me. However, after he flies down, he doesn’t come to me.
I give him about an hour after fly down to come into my calling. If he doesn’t, I will move to the last place I heard him gobble. From here, I will set up and start calling him.
I will elevate my calling to some intense cutting and yelping. I’m saying to the tom, “I’m here now. Where did you go?”
This is a good strategy because most of the time the tom hasn’t gone very far. I feel like it also mimics the natural order of hens going to gobbling toms.
If you are very patient and have a nice turkey hunting chair or cushion, you can try another strategy. Just sit tight. Call sparingly. Mike Chamberlain, “The Turkey Doc,” has noticed in his GPS research that toms will often go to within ten meters of the spot that a turkey hunter was calling from three or four hours earlier (Phil Bourjaily | Published Apr 26, Turkey Hunting Hunting Tactics Hunting Tips hunting turkeys , Hunting, T., Tactics, H., Tips, H., Turkeys, H., Spring, & Turkeys. (2021, April 26). Gobbler RX: 3 tips from the wild turkey doc. Field & Stream. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from https://www.fieldandstream.com/hunting/hunting-tips-from-wild-turkey-doc).
I will use this tactic on rainy days when I am holed up in a blind trying to stay dry. I will also do this on small properties where there is little room to move around.
If I don’t hear a tom gobbling early…
I always try to be in the woods to listen to them wake up. However, if I don’t hear any gobbles on the roost, I may change my tactics for late morning turkey hunting. You could also try the following strategies if you are just starting your hunt later in the day.
If I have some scouting knowledge of the land I am hunting, I will try to set up in the area I expect them to be in. This could include feeding, watering, or strutting areas. I will blindly call every 15 minutes or so.
If I don’t have much experience in the area I’m hunting, I will make an educated guess as to where to start. I will then call in one place for about 45 minutes to an hour before moving about 300 yards and setting up again.
As I mentioned earlier, most of the time when I hear a turkey gobble in the late morning he is already coming to me. However, if I hear him turn away from me, I may try to cut the distance or move to a location that is easier for him to get to me.
Because you will be in the woods a little longer, pack some extra water and food in your turkey vest so that you aren’t tempted to bail out early. The longer you stay in the woods, the more chances you give yourself to kill a turkey.
How Late in the Morning Should You Turkey Hunt?
In some states and public lands, you may be limited by a cut-off time. In these cases, be sure to follow the rules and get out legally.
If hunting is legal into the afternoon or dusk, then I find that up until about noon or 1 o’clock can be good. I know some hunters do really well in the afternoon, but that has never been my luck. Afternoon hunting usually requires a lot of patience and different tactics than early or late morning turkey hunting.
By now, you can tell that I really enjoy turkey hunting from about an hour after sunrise to early afternoon. Heck, I enjoy turkey hunting any time I can get to the woods! However, this seems to be my sweet spot for calling in toms.
Don’t be the guy or girl who gives up when you don’t get that tom to come to you right off the limb. Hang in there a little longer and see if you can’t get a tom in the bag with some of these late morning turkey hunting tactics.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy my article with five tips to kill your first turkey.