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Strut Report: Midwestern Hunters Face Challenging Weather, Northwest Birds Coming to the Call

Strut Report: Midwestern Hunters Face Challenging Weather, Northwest Birds Coming to the Call

Posted 2024-04-30  by  Darron McDougal

While there are mixed hunting reports across the Northern U.S., most turkey hunters are experiencing plenty of action

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The gobbling action should start picking up over the next week throughout the Midwest. (Image by John Hafner)

Cool, extremely windy and occasionally rainy conditions continued over the last week across most of the Midwest. Around home in central Wisconsin, the 10-day weather forecast shows that we’ll be seeing more sunshine and feeling more seasonable temps, albeit with an occasional rainy/stormy day mixed in. All things considered, the hunting and gobbling action should be better over the next seven days than it was last week.

Realtree’s David Blanton commenced his Iowa hunt last Friday, and he’s had his fill of the crummy weather. While he’s encountered gobblers, he said that they’ve been finicky.

“The weather has been really wild, as everyone knows,” Blanton explained. “There have been lots of storms, wind and rain. Toms are gobbling pretty decent on the limb but not much once they hit the ground. So far, I’ve called in two toms that did nothing with the decoy, so I passed both of them. I’m still out hunting and hoping for better decoy interaction. It seems to be an early spring, and the birds seem to be on the downhill slide of their spring routine. They’re showing a little bit of interest early in the mornings, then nothing during the rest of the day.”

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Cody Kelley just returned from a 12-day run with the Small Town Hunting crew, which included a pitstop in Missouri. “We heard fewer gobbles on the limb than normal, but the birds still gobbled good,” he said. “Birds gobbled throughout the day as well, and we struck up a fair amount. Hens seemed to be just starting to go to nest around mid-morning. Some longbeards were henned-up, but when we found lone toms, they were good and responsive. We killed two gobblers in Missouri.”

Meanwhile, Krista Modlin, the NWTF’s Pacific Coast district biologist, said that where she lives in California, the jakes and gobblers are starting to group up and talk.

“The weather has been mild compared to last year, and conditions are excellent for nesting,” Modlin detailed. “Hunting access has also improved due to less snow this winter/spring. California’s season opened at the end of March, and the seasons for Oregon and Washington just opened two weeks ago. I’m hearing that birds are coming to calls and decoys.”

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The Hosie family is all smiles behind young Cruze Hosie’s first longbeard ever, which he anchored on Saturday during the youth hunt. (Image courtesy of Nate Hosie)

Back in Pennsylvania, young Cruze Hosie, son of Nate Hosie of HeadHunters TV, scored a longbeard on Saturday during the youth hunt. “It was an amazing hunt,” Nate Hosie said. “The bird is my son’s first longbeard, and we’ll never forget that hunt. The Pennsylvania youth-season turkeys gobbled hard and worked pretty well. Overall, though, I think the best gobbling will be on in the next few weeks. Happy hunting! Be safe and hunt ‘em up!”

With no out-of-state tags or any early tags here in Wisconsin, I’m finally getting to take off my scouting cap and put on my hunting cap. I’ve been out listening at daylight and hearing toms hitting it pretty hard from the roost. I’ve also heard plenty of gobbling throughout the day, meaning that it shouldn’t be too difficult to find another tom if the early-morning roost setup fails to produce.

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I’ve been seeing toms with hens right away in the morning and in the evening, but I’ve seen some lone gobblers during the daytime. Based on my knowledge and past experiences of hunting during the middle of the season, I’ll primarily be hunting as close to the roost as possible and putting out a breeding-position hen with an aggressive 3/4-strut jake decoy. I expect to get an opportunity within the first few days.

With seasons in the Northeast just opening, I’ll check in with a turkey troop from that region for next week’s report. Expect some input as to how the opener went and what the turkeys are doing up that way.

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