Ready or not spring green-up in the Midwest is here. This typically occurs during turkey season in most states, and as a result of the increased foliage, it is necessary to alter turkey hunting tactics. Sound is going to travel differently and turkeys will change the way they approach a call. Use the following strategies below to help you wrap a tag around a late-season longbeard.
Full foliage will drastically affect the way sound waves carry through timbered areas. There are many more obstacles in the woods deflecting and absorbing sounds from both a gobbler and your calls. When you make a call, the sound will not carry as far as it would have in the early season. This is the same for a longbeard’s gobbles, he may be closer than you suspect. Keep this in mind when working the bird. To combat this, a lot of hunters will want to blast the loudest call they have to spark a response. DON’T! Calling loudly when a bird is in close is like a warning siren to him. Start soft and work louder if you’re trying to locate a bird. Once you do, move in and tone it down. Finish the gobbler off with soft calls and periods of silence.
Calling from a ridge top can be a great way to extend the reach of your call.
Since sound waves don’t carry as far, one advantage is you can slip in closer to the roost site. The thick canopy conceals movement, allowing you to tuck yourself right in his wheelhouse. Use some soft tree yelps and wait for the gobbler to pitch down and investigate. These close setups are typically tough to execute during the early season. Often times, we have to hang back a bit further from the roost and the result is usually a hen cutting off a gobbler and leading him away before we get a crack at him.
Another factor to consider when hunting later in the spring is the limited visibility. When trees are leafed out, gobblers are forced to search a little more. As the underbrush becomes thick, a committed longbeard will seek out visual confirmation of the hens presence. He may hang around a little longer searching hard to find the hen among the denser vegetation. During this time of the season, a single hen decoy works great; but you can also get by without using any decoy at all, and rely on your calling and a gobbler’s curiosity to bring him in range.
As the turkey season moves along do not let the progression of spring green up negatively influence your success. The greenery can and should provide a major advantage for the run and gun hunter. Call at the appropriate volumes and allow the lonely tom to search for the hen decoy. Despite the changes in environmental conditions, success rates can increase!