John's Journal... Entry 244, Day 4
HUNTING GOBBLERS IN ANY WEATHER
Steve Stoltz On Hot-Weather Toms
Editor's Note: The rain beat on the tin roof of the camphouse like machine gunfire. I couldn't believe the rain pouring down on this opening morning of turkey season. But because my friend Don Taylor of Birmingham, Alabama, and I wouldn't miss hunting on opening morning, regardless of the weather, we braved the windy and wet weather outside. Finally at 11:00 a.m., after rain had soaked me from the tip of my head to the soles of my feet, we found a lonesome gobbler in a cow pasture and called him in to the gun. I prefer not to hunt in the rain, wind or snow or under drought conditions, but like most hunters, I have to hunt when I get the opportunity, whether the weather conditions favor hunting or not. Often, I'll get a dose of bad weather on many of the turkey hunts I go on each spring. I always carry an extra bag with me with raingear, snowsuits and suntan lotion, because I've learned through the years that bad weather follows me wherever I hunt. This week, some turkey hunters who take toms under good and bad weather conditions will tell us their tactics for taking birds in any weather.
Steve Stoltz of St. Louis, Missouri, a World Champion Turkey Caller, and a member of Hunter's Specialties' Pro Hunt Team, hunts many states every season. He's hunted in drought conditions in the West and the Midwest and knows how to take gobblers when the weather sizzles. "I believe turkeys become less active the hotter the weather gets," Stoltz mentions. "You more than likely will hear less gobbling activity. If I find a turkey gobbling in hot, dry conditions, I'll tend to stay with that turkey, even if he doesn't gobble really well, instead of trying to find a turkey that will gobble more and probably come in quicker. As I hunt birds in hot weather, I attempt to get closer to the turkey when I begin to call because I don't believe turkeys will travel as much in hot weather as they do during cooler weather. I don't believe the temperature of the day has any effect on the calls I use to bring in a gobbler. Each turkey has individual characteristics. Some gobblers will get more fired-up and want to hear more calling than other turkeys do, regardless of the weather. So I start off calling softly and then let the way the turkey answers me dictate whether I continue to call aggressively or begin to call sparingly.
"You also can take your gobbler by realizing what happens to you and to the other animals in the woods under hot-weather conditions. You'll perspire more than you will during cooler weather. Every area I've hunted for turkeys also has had deer. If a deer comes in downwind and smells you, he'll spook and blow out of the area, spooking your gobbler as well. I always carry some type of odor killer with me and spray myself down thoroughly just before I call to a bird. Then if a deer does come in downwind of me, he won't detect me and spook my gobbler when he leaves the area." According to Stoltz, you probably will have to travel more in hot weather than you will in cooler weather to locate a gobbler because you often won't find very reliable sign. Pinpointing fresh turkey tracks on hot, dry ground is a nearly impossible task.
TOMORROW: STEVE STOLTZ ON WARM-WEATHER TOMS, PART 2