HUNT THE EVENING
THIS SPRING, 36 of the 49 states that have spring turkey seasons will allow hunters to shoot until sunset. A decade ago, that count was 21. Clearly, we’re getting over oldfashioned hang-ups about evening hunting harming turkey populations.
But morning gobblers and evening gobblers require two very different approaches. And the wrong kind of evening hunting pressure can push turkeys away from preferred roost sites and out of your hunting territory. Put the following considerations to work and shoot a gobbler as the sun heads toward the horizon.
start early You wouldn’t get to your morning spot late. Give your afternoon hunt a similar effort and be sure you are in place well before the birds show up. A spring day is long. Hungry birds come out to feed early. Spring gobblers get hungry, and they feed hard in the afternoon and evening. Set up three to four hours before sunset.
give them room Don’t hunt directly under roost trees. Instead, hang back along travel routes or at feeding areas, where birds are going to be while shooting light remains. Turkeys returning to the roost will often just reverse the same route they took out in the morning. Set up in a spot slightly above travel routes, where you have good visibility and a wide shooting lane.
build a hide Get set for a long wait. Build a blind from natural materials, use camouflage fabric, or erect a popup tent. Evening birds are jittery, suspicious, and ultra-alert. A good hide provides some forgiveness if you stretch or make an errant movement.
pipe down Hens and gobblers alike often aren’t much interested in breeding—or talking about it—late in the day. No calling at all may be best. If you do call, use only the softest clucks and whispery yelps. Sound carries far in the evening.
run an interception Okay, so this one isn’t low-impact. But in the prairie states and open areas of the West, use the late afternoon and evening to glass from vantage points. Once you’ve spotted a moving flock, drop into a parallel drainage to sneak ahead, come over the top, and intercept them.