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High Pressure Gobblers

IMG_5482How important is the weather to killing mature turkeys? Does the weather have any impact at all? Should turkey hunters begin paying attention to the weather before going afield? These and many other issues are up for discussion as more and more research is being done in how the weather effects gobbling activity? Does the barometric pressure alter turkey behavior?

Recent studies being conducted seem to indicate that indeed the weather does effect gobbling activity. Hunters in particular need to pay attention to this information since we rely heavily on gobbling to locate and kill turkeys. If there are periods of time when their gobbling is more active, that should put a much needed advantage in our favor.

Hunting turkeys and killing turkeys consistently is difficult enough, hunters need to spend more time putting more odds in their favor. Just as deer hunters have stepped up their game and added tactics and techniques to their repertoire. Turkey hunters would do well to emulate this practice. From proper land management to hunting tactics that put Tom’s in your lap.  IMG_5426 - Copy (2)

Even with proper land management, we need for Tom’s to gobble to locate and increase our odds of killing them. If we can focus our attention on the days when the barometric pressure is above .30 we may just increase our odds of killing turkeys. Outdoorsmen have known for some time the effects weather plays on animal movements, but most of this information has been applied to mammals and their tendencies to move in relation to the weather pressure. Low pressure systems seem to put animals down until the pressure changes. Conversely, high pressure systems keep animals on their feet for longer periods of time. The research being conducted at the Webb Wildlife Center in South Carolina by the Department of Natural Resources in promising. Much of the preliminary data indicates that birds also, and turkey’s in particular are affected by these same pressure changes in the atmosphere.

How does this relate to hunting and killing turkeys? To put it simply, the research seems to indicate that gobblers are much more likely to gobble, and gobble more when high pressure systems are in place rather than low pressure systems in place. This does not mean that gobblers will not gobble during a low pressure system. It does however, seem to indicate that there is an increase in gobbling activity during high pressure systems regardless of the time of the season, or the amount of hunting pressure.

Does this mean that I will not hunt during the low pressure system if it happens to fall on my day off? Absolutely not, but what it does mean is that I have a better idea what to expect from the turkeys if I know the weather before I head out into the woods. If I know that we are in a low pressure system, I will adjust my tactics towards more quiet birds. Conversely, if I am hunting in a high pressure system, I can have reasonable expectations of what the gobblers will do.

Hunting the wild turkey is a difficult task under the best situations, by understanding the affects the weather may play on their behavior may well increase your opportunities for success.