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Field Guide -Turkey

The Best Times to Hunt Turkey

When is the best time to hunt turkey this season? What factors should hunters consider for a successful hunt? Whether you've hunted turkey before or planning your first turkey hunt, identifying the best times and places to hunt can help you harvest the bird you have your eye on.

In this resource, our experts walk through where they are, the variables to consider, and the best tool to use when planning your hunt! Keep reading for the insights you need for turkey hunting season.

Turkeys are Thriving Again

Domestic (or wild) turkey are native to the forests of North America. In recent years, the turkey population had been steadily declining – but thanks to large conservation efforts, the turkey population in America is flourishing once again. 

Due to their increasing numbers, turkeys are now one of the most hunted game in North America. These smart birds have learned how to adapt to their ever-changing environments and continue to find ways to survive despite shrinking habitats.

Factors to Consider for the Best Times to Hunt Turkey

The "best" time to hunt turkey is during spring or fall hunting season! However, to pick your ideal day and location specifically, it's crucial to consider multiple factors that can impact the success of your hunt.  


Wild turkeys tend to nest in largely forested areas. However, due to extensive deforestation over the last several decades, they've also learned to adapt and thrive in environments with smaller wooded areas. 

Some of the best states to hunt wild turkey include New York, Wisconsin, Alabama, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. 

The Solunar Calendar

If you've hunted before, you've probably noticed that animals behave differently depending on the time of day. However, these patterns are not "new" variables to consider. 

Hunters have been using something called the "solunar table" for decades to help identify the best times to hunt. In the early 1930s, John Alden Knight developed a theory that the position and fullness of the moon impact animal movement. Even before he published his theory, fishermen and hunters utilized moon phases to plan their hunts or fishing times. 

Some hunters believe the solunar table can help predict when turkey activity can be higher vs. times of low activity. However, compared to other species (like deer), turkey behavior may not be significantly influenced by moon phases. 

It probably can't hurt to check moon phases as you formulate your plan for your next hunt. For example, a full moon typically provides more light in the early hours when turkeys are still roosting, potentially giving away your position and scaring off your targeted birds. So, choosing a day that won't be impacted by too much moonlight could help you sneak up on roosting gobblers much easier. 

The Time of Year

Wild turkey activity changes according to the time of year. However, turkey hunting is not typically a year-round sport. 

The best time of year to hunt turkey will depend largely on the regulations in your state. In most cases, turkey hunting takes place during the spring and again in mid-to-late fall.  

The Time of Day

In the evenings, turkeys make their nest (or "roost) in trees and on the ground in wooded areas. So, one of the best times of day to hunt turkey is first thing in the morning as they stir and leave their roosts. 

Get out to your blind early and listen for turkey yelps, gobbles, and cackles as they stir and start in the search for breakfast.  

The Temperature

Temperature can play a role in the noise level of wild turkeys, either making it easier to hear them or harder to locate when they're quiet. 

Because turkeys are most active during mild weather, you're more likely to hear them in temperatures between 60-69 degrees Fahrenheit. When it's too hot or too cold, turkey activity slows down. 

So, plan your hunts on days without extreme temperatures (cold or hot) for the best chance of harvesting a bird.  

Barometric Pressure

Check the barometric pressure as you plan your hunt. 

The average barometric pressure can affect gobbling activity. Lower pressure (typically during a rain) often means less gobbling. However, higher pressure is often associated with higher vocal activity from turkeys. 

While finding a "perfect" barometrically-pressured day for an ideal hunt can be difficult, turkeys are most active at pressures between 29.9 and 30.2 inches.  

Weather Conditions

Check the weather and plan accordingly. It probably seems obvious, but it's worth noting here that turkeys become more active on calm, clear days in the morning and early afternoon hours. However, turkey activity generally decreases during bad weather, including wind and rain. 

Much like rainy days, turkeys tend to be quieter during days of moderate to strong wind conditions. Strong winds can also hinder a hunter's ability to hear wild turkeys even if they are on the move. 

During extremely wet and rainy days, turkeys are neither vocal nor very active – but don't let bad weather stop you from hunting! With the HuntWise app, you can get accurate weather forecasts to help you plan your gear and strategies to find birds even when the weather isn't ideal.

States Where You Can Hunt Turkey

Not sure if you can hunt turkey in your state? Turkey can be found and hunted in all U.S. states except Alaska. 

With the HuntWise app, you can get more specific within your state to find land for your hunt and regulations for turkey hunting before the season starts.

A map of the states for hunting turkey.

Find The Best Hunting Times For Turkey With HuntWise

Technology is often to blame for keeping people isolated and indoors. However, at HuntWise, our goal is to provide digital tools and resources that get our users off the couch and into the great outdoors.

Screenshots of the HuntWise app for hunting turkey.

Our team and experts are dedicated to creating great hunting experiences for hunters throughout the country. When you use our app, you have the best predictive tool available to help you pinpoint the ideal times to hunt turkey. 

The HuntWise app gives you a competitive advantage to start and end turkey season successfully. You'll have a resource in your hand to forecast the weather with our HuntCast™ feature, find public and private land to hunt, and learn how turkeys move through a property you plan to hunt. 

HuntWise is the best tool for knowing the best times to hunt a gobbler this season! Download the app and try it for free. 


Content updated January 26, 2024.

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