Turkey Hunting the Evening Shift
Turkey hunting during the evening hours is typically overlooked by most hunters. This is because turkeys tend to be less active in the evening, as far as breeding is concerned, and they definitely are not as vocal. You do not want to go out there and be the loudest hen in the bunch, because turkeys know that is not normal. Assuming hunting turkeys in the evening is legal in your state (it is not in some states), hunting the last couple hours before they pitch to the roost can be very rewarding. Often, turkey activity can and will increase during this time. However, hunting turkeys during these hours requires a different approach than you may have done the morning prior. You must know that turkeys in the morning are not the same birds in the evening. Because of this, knowing the tactics, tricks, and techniques needed for the evening shift will greatly increase your odds of success in harvesting the wild turkey. We will discuss these furthermore.
Turkeys in Evening Hunt
Evening turkeys are a different type of turkey. They do not call as much, and they are more cautious. However, this is a good time to catch them slipping to feed or heading to their roost. Gobblers definitely do not feed as much in the spring unlike the other times of the year, but they still eat nonetheless. And a lot of this feeding is done during the evening hours when they can do so quietly alongside their hens. Green forage and crops become a great turkey attractant at this time. Longbeards are also on their way to their roosts during this time of day. His personality definitely works against you right now but there are a few behaviors that can work in your favor if attacked correctly. Turkeys are moving more now than in any other part of the day. In the early morning they are with their hens, at midday they tend to loaf around, but evening is when they are most active by themselves, feeding and heading to their roosts. This can be a good time to capitalize if you’ve done your scouting and know where they’ll be.
Tips for Evening Turkey Hunting
It's not the morning anymore and turkeys are not as talkative, so go light on the calling. Soft yelps, clucks, purrs, and kee-kees tend to be the ticket during the evening hours. If you know where turkeys will be going, it may even be best not to call at all. Be patient and listen when you first get out there to see if turkeys are talking at all. That can be a great indication of whether or not you should. If you know where a bird’s favorite roosting tree is, set it up close but keep your distance as well. Turkeys will typically fly up at a distance such as 25,50, or even 100 yards away. Plus keeping your distance also allows you to reposition better if needed.
Cutting turkeys off can be another good way to fill your tag during the evening. Get to a position close to the roost, and listen. If the turkeys come, you will hear them coming. Find their travel route and use the terrain or any obstacle to your advantage. Get set up for an ambush and kill the turkey while he’s heading to roost.
At the end of the day, there is no straight answer when it comes to hunting evening turkeys. There are advantages and disadvantages. The best tactic is to scout and find where they are going, whether that be a food source or a roosting tree. Once you have done that, you can come up with a game plan for an evening hunt. If done correctly, evening hunts can be very successful.