Patoka Sportsman 5-8 & 5-9-21
This is the last weekend for Indiana’s turkey season. If you’re still turkey hunting good luck. The later the season goes the harder it is to call in a turkey. Many of the toms have been called to already and with the breeding season well underway, the toms already know where the hens have their nests so gobbling activity typically drops towards the end of the season. If you’ve seen turkeys this season already remember where they roost and where they go once they fly down. It’s a lot easier to ambush a tom as he travels where he wants to go versus where you think he’s going.
Weather is unpredictable. Not every spring day is clear, calm, and warm. From rain to sleet to fog, the weather affects turkey patterns. Understanding what weather does to their behavior, and how to adapt to it to increase your success is critical. There is not much you can control when turkey hunting, but even in the worst weather conditions, turkeys are still out there. Knowing what weather is coming, when weather conditions are going to break, and how turkeys are likely to react to them is critical to spring turkey hunting success.
A typical spring turkey hunt might feature wind, sleet, lightning, and heavy rain. Bad weather conditions don't mean bad hunting. We can’t control the weather but we can learn how to deal with it. Knowing how turkeys react in poor conditions can help fill a slot on your gobble tag.
If the day begins with steady rainfall, gobblers and hens may opt to remain on roost well after daylight. As the rain subsides, turkeys will leave their roost position and begin their day. Knowing when adverse conditions will break is key to effective hunting on a rainy day. Fresh after a rain, turkeys will get out, dry out, and meet up with other birds and continue their routine.
Gobblers will crowd into fields which are flooded and eat swampy insects and other grubs from the ground. Turkeys like to crowd in open fields during rainfall because their eyesight is not as good and the rain falling on leaves through trees limits their hearing. This is prime for setting up and getting on them. If heavy rain persists, find low areas that are nice and thick. In these spaces, turkeys will tuck up under pine trees, or other cover to protect themselves from wind and rain. When heavy rain is falling, turkeys may not gobble, but they will sometimes answer a call close by.
Perhaps the most significant weather condition for turkey hunters, high winds make chasing gobblers a lot more difficult. In the spring, a hunter’s main advantage is the ability to call aggressive gobblers. High winds make this task a lot harder. High winds also make hearing a gobbler’s response difficult. Unable to hear a tom calling back, puts even a higher premium on patience. Be prepared to sit longer without hearing many responses. A hunter needs to change his calling strategies to accommodate the wind. Using friction/slate and box calls are ideal during windy weather. These calls produce a high pitch and have a higher volume. This extends a hunters calling range. Mouth calls can still be effective; the active range will be shortened.
Windy weather changes a turkey’s daily pattern. When it’s windy, wild turkeys must depend on their eyes more and tend to be a lot spookier in poor weather conditions. A good strategy is to set up near hidden open areas that are protected by timber. Turkeys feel more comfortable in these areas and are less apt to feed in wide open fields. For hunters that like action, try running and gunning after birds. Do not be afraid to move often and check fields for activity. Moving on windy days can prove to pay off. A turkey will still depend on their amazing eyesight, so try to move in thick concealed areas surrounding these open areas.
Most importantly, hunters can use the high winds to eliminate sound and conceal some of their movement. Turkeys have a harder time seeing the slightest movement when most of their surroundings are blowing in the wind. It might give a hunter just enough movement to move their gun or draw their bow.
Fog is like glue. It makes everything run slower in a turkey's life. They start calling later, fly down later, loiter longer, move slower while feeding. Hunters can use fog to their advantage by concealing their approach and movement close to the roost.
If it's foggy at daylight, birds will stay on the roost until the fog burns away. Often, even though they refuse to fly down, they'll gobble just fine. If fog sets in throughout the day, gobblers tend to gravitate towards open terrain and fields much like they do in the rain.
The Indiana DNR Division of Law Enforcement is looking for highly motivated, outdoor-centered individuals to fill Indiana Conservation Officer (ICO) positions across the state.
Anyone interested should first read “Become a Conservation Officer” at on.IN.gov/dnrlaw and complete the pre-screening test under the “Apply” link on that website. Successful completion of the pre-screening test is required to receive an application for the hiring process. To maximize the time needed for DNR Law Enforcement to complete the process, the pre-screening test needs to be submitted by midnight June 3.
To be qualified to pass the pre-screening test, you must be a United States citizen and be 21 years old by Oct. 30. You also must be able to pass minimum Indiana Law Enforcement Academy physical fitness requirements as listed at https://www.in.gov/ilea/2338.htm.
Conservation officers comprise Indiana’s oldest state law enforcement agency. ICOs are fully recognized Indiana police officers who enforce and uphold all DNR rules and regulations as well as all other Indiana state laws. ICOs spend most of their time on the job enforcing fishing and hunting regulations, conducting marine boat patrol on Indiana’s waterways, and patrolling DNR properties to keep them safe and family friendly.
In addition to traditional law enforcement work, ICOs also engage in many specialty areas, including scuba, K-9, search and rescue, swift water rescue and many more.
The Dubois County Sportsmen’s Club will have their next regular monthly meeting on May 17 at the Jasper Moose Lodge. The delayed gun raffle from January will be held at this meeting. If you are a member and still have tickets to sell please do so and turn them in to the Great Outdoors or bring them to the meeting. The drawing for the Hunters for the Hungry gun will also be held at this meeting. Meeting begins at 7 PM and the doors open at 6.
The week of May 9th to 15th is National Peace Officers Week. Please take time to show your appreciation to a law enforcement officer for the sacrifices they make to keep us safe.
Indiana paddlers have an opportunity to observe wildlife while enjoying Indiana’s water resources. DNR would like more information about the wildlife that spend time around Indiana’s waterways and is asking paddlers for help. Volunteer paddlers will document wildlife they observe while floating, from June 1 to July 31, by completing paddling trip postcards. Volunteers will be mailed a packet upon sign-up. The information paddlers collect allows wildlife managers to estimate changes in key wildlife populations more accurately over time.