-By Brandon Wikman
Weather plays a major factor in the success of your hunting strategy, but don’t let the rain drench your results. It is critical to adapt to the situation at hand.
Last week I spent four days trekking up, down and around the vast country hillside of central Wisconsin in search for a long-beard with my shotgun. The weather was anything but pleasant; in fact, it was pure torture. I spent half of my time under the roof of a hunting blind, due to high winds, rain and even the occasional snowfall. Hunting early-season turkey in Wisconsin has always been sporadic, but this year was absolutely abnormal compared to previous years.
On our first morning’s hunt we were greeted by light rain, which evolved into a total downpour by mid-morning. Defenseless and cold, my cameraman and I trekked our soaked bodies back to the truck. Usually, birds don’t gobble when it rains and you’ll rarely see them scratching in an open field, which turns your turkey hunting strategy upside-down.
We drove back to camp and grabbed the blind, which would keep us dry, and keep the camera functioning properly. Not only did we have to dry the soggy camouflage that clung to our freezing bodies, but also scarf a few more friction calls that weren’t drenched. We decided to prop the blind between a cluster of oak trees and waited for a few hours as water streamed down the windows as the blind seemingly turned into a virtual waterfall. No gobbles. No bird sightings. No sign of luck.
After packing our gear back into the truck that evening, I spun the wheels to the local town and connected Wi-Fi style. I needed to check the weather for the rest of the weekend. I logged onto weather.com and realized that Mother Nature wasn’t going to be easy on us. The predicted forecast detailed high winds and showers for the next two days. This came as a shock, considering the prior week’s weather consisted of bright blue skies. Using websites as sources for weather is ideal because it’s quick and efficient.
The following evening my cameraman and I were stumped and felt like two turkeys ourselves. We hadn’t seen any birds for the past couple days.
It was a conscious decision to make a drastic change in hunting technique to fulfill our objective of killing a tubby-tom. The plan was to conceal a blind near a potential roosting sight by a field and wait for the birds to roam back for their nighttime loft. The blind was brushed with white pine branches, which made us look nearly invisible to the turkey’s keen eyesight.
After settling into our evening scenario hunt, I began tuning a few yelps out the blind window and hoped that the sound would reach at least twenty yards before being muffled by the rain clobbering into the tree tops and ground. The cloud-blocked sun began to sink into the horizon and turned the colors into grey mode.
I knew it was either now or never. Before I began doubting our setup, three gobblers trotted their way across the field and into my hen decoy setup. Each gobbler began eyeballing the fake, which gave my cameraman a chance to roll some great footage as I prepped my gun into position and fired a load of bb’s into the vitals of a long-bearded Wisconsin turkey.
Turkeys are unpredictable creatures without an organized timeframe. This makes them very difficult to pattern and make assumptions on travel routes. The only surefire tactic during a wet-streak is to find a roosting sight and wait for the birds to stroll by during legal shooting hours. It worked extremely well as I soon found out.