What is the best time of day to hunt turkeys?
As the season moves from opening day to almost June, the best time of day to hunt turkeys will change from late to early. Opening day often has hens and toms together, the toms strutting and the lead hen taking the parade wherever she sees fit. They wake up full of zest, happy the winter is over, and ready to make sure their activities ensure more turkeys will be born late spring. Much of the breeding actually occurs before most state turkey seasons open, and that hen only needs one shot of love from a tom to successfully lay a clutch of eggs. Point is they are a tight knit bunch right now. At times you can mock the lead hen and get her to come close in enough with tom in tow, but it’s not easy. A good turkey decoy tactic early season can been to find where the birds are regrouping about 5 or 6 at night, and set up there. Use 2 to 4 turkey decoys and do some calling as the birds can be vocal now and ready to come to your turkey decoy spread to get the band back together for the evening feed and roost routine.
The best time of day to hunt turkeys slides earlier as the season progresses
As the season matures, hens begin laying eggs and splitting off from the toms earlier in the day, and the best time of day to hunt turkeys slides back a few hours. It’s your 10 to 2 scenario. They are still bunched hard in the mornings, but the ladies are thinking of finding a nesting site, and every other day they will add an egg to their nest until they have laid 8 to 14 eggs. Their household chores have them apart from the men for this part of the day, and it’s a good time to have your turkey decoy staked out in a strutting zone or somewhere else you know the birds like to hang mid day. It’s a great time to be afield as the toms are very eager to breed, knowing soon many of the hens will be sitting the nest almost 24/7, and they must get their fill of loving before the window closes. I still run a Dakota Extreme Jake turkey decoy with a hen turkey decoy or 2 this time of year.
Late season I think mornings are the best time of day to hunt turkeys
I believe the best time of day to hunt turkeys late season is right off the roost. Most of the hens are now nest sitting 22 hours a day, making them almost completely unavailable to the toms. Every now and then a hen will lose a clutch to predation, or weather, and may seek the company of a tom to start over again. Be that hen. Be the one girl at an all boy school and see how much attention you can garner. It may be the only time of year I will run a lone hen turkey decoy, as the toms are run down physically and mentally and may not want to fight other tom decoys or jakes. If they can get lucky another few times with your lonely hen decoy, they can muster that, but to fight for it is often too much. None of these times are set in stone, but as a rule, the guidelines have worked well for me over the years. If you don’t like to sit watching your turkey decoys all day long, give the above formula a try. You may find the best time of day to hunt turkeys does change as the season rolls by.