By: Brennen Nading (@nadingbr)
The 2nd season of the Wisconsin spring turkey hunt comes to a close at the end of the day today. It was a roller coaster of action for us in the turkey woods this week. You can see all the action right HERE in this weeks “Turkey:30”. Wednesday presented itself with high winds and an overall pretty slow day for us as far as encounters go. We did hear good gobbling in the morning off the roost but they were pretty quick to go silent not long after they flew down. Not long after the winds began to pick up and continued to blow hard throughout the day.
We battled it out for the better part of the day on Wednesday but came up empty. Nothing makes turkey hunting more complicated than high winds. The turkeys couldn’t hear us calling and we couldn’t hear them if they were responding. Our best bet was to get a visual on birds and then attempt to make a play. We did see a few birds out in the fields but they just weren’t in locations that presented us with a high percentage play on them so we opted to leave them alone for another day.
However, Dylan Guelig found a way to make it happen on the east side of the state Wednesday evening. Him and Brandon slipped into a secluded field close to where they had heard a bunch of gobbling off the roost early that morning and posted up for the evening. Sure enough, a group of toms showed up and 2 of them made the decision to come check out their decoy spread around 6pm.
Thursday was different, the winds had calmed down quite a bit and the birds seemed to be a little more jacked up because of it. Late in the morning, JP and Dylan found a few strutters that were flirting with the boundary on a piece of public ground. They were able to sneak through the CRP/red brush and get in position for the strutters to see their decoys. JP laid with the strutting Jake decoy and manually made the decoy go in and out of strut. This was just enough to make the birds leave the private and come to investigate.
Mike and myself had several close calls on Thursday but we just couldn’t seal the deal. Friday morning rolled around and the conditions were once again looking really good. The roost hunt was once again a bust, the toms flew down with hens and did their own thing. Shortly after, Dylan and JP moved to a field where birds have been spotted a lot in the past couple weeks. 3 long beards came onto the field with their hens and couldn’t help but come check out the decoy spread.
Mid morning, Mike and I found a group of birds that we had seen the day prior but only they were in a much better spot to make a play on them. There was a chunk of woods in between us and them that allowed us to sneak through the timber and get set up on the edge of the big field that they were in. We knew it was a matter of time before they had to eventually work back in our direction. Sure enough, a couple hours later, a lone tom came over the rise in the field and seen our decoy spread. Minutes later, he was strutting in the decoys at 12 yards.
With each season, you must apply new tactics and always be willing to adapt to the weather conditions. Toms were still hanging with groups of several hens this week, and we have yet to kill a bird off the roost this year. I expect that to change in the coming weeks as hens will begin laying on their nests more and more. Again, patience is key. Go into the areas that you know birds are frequenting and stick it out as long as you can. Even if those birds don’t come straight to you in the morning, they will remember where your calling was coming from and when they leave their hens, they will likely come back looking for you. Just make sure you are still there when they do!