Hail Mary Week
Look for remaining gobblers near water; expect them to come in silently.
Spring turkey season has ended in many states, but not in the Western states where it runs through the end of May, this is do-or-die situation for wild turkey hunters with unfilled tags.
Earlier in May, you could get away with aggressive calling and sloppy hunting setups; however, the surviving gobblers have heard it all by the current late date, and they are increasingly wary—especially on heavily hunted public ground. Their testosterone levels are dropping, too, so they’re not as fired up by every hen yelp they hear or jake decoy they see.
Gobblers may appear to ignore your calls, but they’re playing a different game this late. Some gobblers still check on you but it takes extra patience to be successful now.
Now you should call sparingly. Consistently watch for wild turkey movement, And be as still as you can. This time of year many gobblers have gone silent, but that does not mean they won’t respond to your calling. But they frequently come in quietly and silently. Watch around your area for a silent gobbler slipping in to see the hen he thought he heard.
At this time gobblers are ranging further during the day and many are traveling alone now.
Their habitat is changing and certain areas are worth your extra attention. The days are heating up. , look for water sources; shady seeps, springs and places that retain water when it rainas. Wild Turkeys can handle heat, but they usually don’t seek it out. Instead, they seek out edges between sunny strutting areas (which are currently full of insects). Many go to shady areas where they’ll spend the balance of the day.
An effective method for late-season wild turkey hunting is to set up near water sources. As the weather gets hotter, water is critical for wild turkeys just as it is for humans. If possible, find a secluded water hole, a stock pond, a natural spring or a stream and set up nearby. That can pay off when gobblers make their way to water to cool off and drink.
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