You’ve looked forward to this day for a long time. Anticipation kept you up half the night, and as you turn off the alarm you’re greeted with a thunderclap and rain running down the darkened windows like the tears of a spoiled child.
But nothing’s going to keep you out of the turkey woods this morning. It’s true, the birds will be there regardless of the weather, but your turkey hunting, and whether you’ll be in the woods at all, is affected by the rain.
Turkey hunters are a dedicated lot and most will go through the motions in hopes the storm will let up. Lightening is nothing to take chances with, so stay in the truck and give the storm time to pass before hunting Walking across an open pasture with a gun in your hand is not where you want to be if there’s any chance of lightening.
But if you’ve encountered a typical springtime rain shower with no lightening, proceeding with the hunt is a personal choice, and most will choose to hunt in the rain. If the gobblers are still on the limb, the hunt can begin as usual despite the rain. Your calls, however, will need to be of the waterproof variety.
Your crow and owl calls normally are closed-reed calls and not affected by the rain. But once you’ve located a gobbler and want to throw out a few tree calls or quiet yelps, a normal slate call will not cut it.
Diaphragm calls, of course, work no matter the weather. Friction and box calls, however, are another story. There are a few styles that work well wet or dry, but most types will cease to function when soaked to the bone.
The classic Ol’ Yeller or new Yella Hammer friction calls work well wet. It’s the calling surface and striker combination that defies the elements. The calling surface on these calls is Sla Tek, a ceramic that was specially designed for turkey calls. When combined with a Power Tip Striker, which features a special coating at the business end, the Ol’ Yeller and Yella Hammer produce fantastic turkey talk even in a downpour. Many hunters like this combination not only for the extreme life-like sounds, but because the volume can be ratcheted down to work the bird the last 50 yards.
If you prefer box calls, you know that rain and box calls don’t mix. There is a new breed of box that thrives in the wet stuff. Knight & Hale’s Wet Willy, introduced in 2006, and the brand new Mini Jenny, both feature a new coating that allows them to perform flawlessly in the rain. These waterproof boxes feature a one-piece base and never need chalk.
The Wet Willy is a normal sized box call, but the Mini Jenny is so small that it can easily be slipped into a vest pocket. Despite its petite size, the Mini Jenny produces loud, realistic calls that carry through the noise of a rainstorm. Both of these box calls are perfect for getting a shock gobble on a rainy day.
Here are a few more tips for rainy day gobblers.
If you see lightening, get out of there. No gobbler is worth taking a chance.
Turkeys prefer more open areas during the rain.
Call louder to be heard over the constant white noise of a rainstorm.
A rainy day is the best time to put the stalk on a bird.
Immediately after the storm passes, make certain to be hunting an open pasture or crop field where birds go to dry off. This also is a great time to use a full-body gobbler decoy like the Carry-Lite Pretty Boy and Pretty Girl decoys. As the rain ends, have your decoys out on the edge of an open field where gobblers can exercise their pent-up aggression.