The best days to turkey hunt

Anytime a hunter is able is always the best time to go after them. But when time off from work must be scheduled, utilize all the current data that’s available to choose your best days.

Many turkey hunters ponder the question — when should I go? Should it be morning, evening, mid-day? Should I go on the weekend or the middle of the week? The correct answer would be all the above. Anyone who chases the wily old tom will tell the same tale — I’m going as soon as I can, as much as I can, and as often I can.

Most turkey hunters are people with commitments, jobs, and responsibilities, so going turkey hunting as much as a hunter would like isn’t feasible for all.

Here is some good information that will help you plan days to go after gobblers and tag your limit of toms.

Thanks, MDWFP

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) turkey program gathers information from hunters through Spring Gobbler Surveys and collects data from the mandatory Game Check (since 2019) to produce the annual Spittin’ & Drummin’ Mississippi Wild Turkey Report. Information from this report can be used to help hunters pick out the best days to hunt.

What days to go

Overwhelmingly opening day of the open season each year is the best day to bag a bird. According to the data from Game Check that’s been available since 2019, more birds are harvested on opening day than any other. The first three days are tops for consecutive days for the most harvests.

The same is true for youth season — its opening day is best and closely followed by the next two days.

Interestingly, 50 percent of the state’s total harvest occurs by March 30 historically.

This makes sense when it comes to the best chances of taking home a bird. The early days of the season offer hunters the opportunity at hunting turkeys when they have seen the least amount of hunting pressure.

Opening day ad nauseam

Chase Allen and Aimon Chisholm both of Magee, go after the birds as often as possible. They prefer hunting a few weeks into the season when the gobblers seem to be primed up.

There is more than one opening day for Mississippi hunters and the data backs up how good it can be. There is an interesting spike in turkey harvest each year around April 1. This is the delayed Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) opening day.

MDWFP allows spring turkey hunting on 37 WMAs. Some WMAs restrict early season hunting to draw hunts only, then follow with an opening day for all hunters. Check any WMA you may be interested in hunting and see when that day will be — it could be very productive and can be an opening day all over again.

Peak gobbling

Another time that may interest hunters is the peak gobbling time in the state. This can vary with weather patterns, high pressure, and low-pressure systems moving through or becoming stationary. But if a day could be picked, that day would be around April 4 for a good solid statewide average date where there is historically good gobbling activity.

“I look to hunt on days following a cold snap when cooler temps and high pressure move in,” said Chase Allen of Magee who hunts Smith and Simpson counties. “If I had to plan, I would hunt a few weeks into the season when the hens in my area are starting to sit on the nests more, leaving the gobblers by themselves.”

Go online and check out the past few years’ copies of the Spittin’ & Drummin’ Mississippi Wild Turkey Report. It breaks down each region of the state and will give a more accurate history to pinpoint the peak gobbling dates in your hunting region.

Concluding

Most gobbler chasers will plan ahead of time when they hunt. Time off from a job causes hunters to burn valuable vacation, personal, or yes — sick time, too. Utilize the information at hand to make the most of your valuable time.

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About Andy Douglas 50 Articles
Andy Douglas is an outdoor writer and photographer from Brookhaven. A native of Lincoln County, he’s chased deer, turkeys, bass and most anything else the past 35 years. He lives the outdoor lifestyle and is passionate about sharing that with others through stories and photos.

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