There is no “best” time to hunt turkeys, however, some times are more fun/exciting than other times depending on the time of year and time of day. You can become skilled at turkey hunting at all times of the day and during the spring and fall turkey hunting season.
That said if you’re a beginner looking to put the odds in your favor there are some times of the day that are the most fun and exciting to hunt as I’ll explain below.
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Spring Is The Best Time of Year to Hunt Turkeys For Beginners
The most fun and exciting time to hunt turkeys is in the spring during the breeding season. This is because toms and jakes are territorial and are trying to show off for the hens. This is why you see male turkey tails fanned out in the springtime.
This is the best time of year to hunt turkeys for beginners because they will come into calls and decoys. During the fall they are less likely to do this because the breeding season is over.
Best Time of Day To Hunt Spring Turkeys
Turkeys come off the roost at sunrise, so the best time of day to hunt spring turkeys is from sunrise to around 9-10 am. This is when toms and jakes are on the ground and actively gobbling. They’re also rested from the night so they are eager to be social and breed.
This timeframe is great for beginner turkey hunters because it gives beginners confidence when they can hear turkeys, even if they can’t see them. This helps beginners want to hunt longer which leads to more success.
Afternoon Spring Turkey Hunting
Although your best odds are the early hours of the morning, it is deceptively still good turkey hunting for the rest of the day. The reason the morning seems so much better is that it’s more exciting because you can hear the birds gobbling.
Just because turkeys aren’t gobbling like they were in the early morning hours doesn’t mean that they’re not moving. Toms and jakes are actively searching for hens since it’s the breeding season.
After the birds come down out of their roost and have some breakfast they’ll be on the move again. It’s not uncommon for turkeys to come into your decoys without making a peep and you’ll be stupified when you pick your head up and see a turkey standing in your decoys while you’re eating lunch.
A big benefit of hunting in the afternoon is that a lot of turkey hunters give up after the early morning fun, leaving you with less competition.
If you have the ability to turkey hunt all day long I highly suggest it. By doing this You will develop a knack for how to hunt turkeys at all times of the day.
This is an example of a successful turkey hunt in the afternoon after we messed up the early morning action:
Evening Spring Turkey Hunting
If you’re in a state that allows turkey hunting all day long then the evening is another great time to capitalize on shooting a turkey. If you know where turkeys roost then you know that they’re going to be heading for their roost at night. Set up a short distance from their roost in a direction you think they’ll be coming from.
Should You Hunt Fall Turkeys As A Beginner?
Fall turkey hunting is a little tricker because birds are not as vocal or susceptible to calling or decoying since the breeding season is over. But fall turkey hunting is still a lot of fun, you just have to have a different game plan than you did in the springtime.
If you hunt turkeys a lot in the fall you will gain experience and develop a knack for where they like to spend time. So fall is still an excellent time to hunt turkeys for beginners but springtime is definitely more exciting.
Best Time of Day To Hunt Fall Turkeys
Turkeys still roost, so if you know where they’ll be roosting you can sneak in and get close just like you would in the spring when they’re gobbling. You’ll just want to ensure you set up in a travel corridor because they likely won’t come to your calling.
Travel corridors in general are excellent places to hunt turkeys in the fall and are great places to hunt in the early morning and in the evening when turkeys are coming and going from their roosts. The idea is to get between their roost and their preferred food source.
I try to do this in the springtime too, but it is even more important in the fall due to it being harder to entice a turkey to come to you since the breeding season is over.
The best time to hunt turkeys is anytime you can get in the woods. This is because you get good at hunting turkeys at any time of year and any time of day.
It boils down to how much experience you have hunting turkeys at different times of the year. There is always a way to put the odds in your favor.
That said, in my opinion, there are more fun and exciting times to hunt turkeys than others. For me, that would an early morning spring turkey hunt. I’m sure most turkey hunters would agree.
More Turkey Hunting Resources For Beginners:
- Best Broadheads For Turkey Hunting | Turkey Broadheads Explained
- Turkey Hunting Decoy Setups That Work
- Best Turkey Hunting Gear For Beginners
- 23 Best Turkey Hunting Tips For Beginners
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Some great places to find turkey hunting gear include:
- Amazon – Free Two-Day Shipping For Prime Members
- Cabela’s – Free Shipping on Orders Over 50$
- L.L. Bean – Free Shipping on Orders Over 50$
- Kittery Trading Post