Can You Turkey Hunt in the Evening? A Comprehensive Guide to Evening Turkey Hunting with Rifles and Calls

Hunting turkeys in the evening didnt even exist when I started turkey hunting over 20 years ago. Im unsure if any states still practice the hunt until noon time. That is how it was when I first started turkey hunting.

I’m relieved that those times are behind us and that we can now pursue them all day. Sure many hunters are in the woods at dawn, and most turkeys are harvested before 8 am. Based on my observations on the heavily hunted public lands in central Wisconsin, I frequently wonder if hunters only hunt until noon. There is less calling and pressure to hunt during the day, which is one benefit of hunting later in the day.

Turkey hunting is a demanding and satisfying sport that calls for expertise, perseverance, and the appropriate gear. Even though early in the morning is usually thought to be the best time to hunt turkeys, there can be some exciting opportunities in the evening. This manual will explore the nuances of nighttime turkey hunting, including call and gun selection, tactics, and safety precautions.

Firearm Selection for Evening Turkey Hunting:

There are a few things to consider when selecting a gun for nighttime turkey hunting, such as barrel length, accuracy, and caliber.


The ideal caliber for evening turkey hunting with a rifle is one that offers sufficient power to humanely take down a turkey at reasonable distances Popular choices include:

  • .22 Long Rifle: This versatile and affordable option is effective at close range (within 50 yards).
  • .22 WMR (Magnum): This caliber provides more power than the .22 LR and can be used at slightly longer distances (up to 75 yards).
  • .17 HMR: This relatively new caliber offers impressive accuracy and flat trajectory, making it suitable for shots up to 100 yards.
  • .223 Remington: This high-velocity round is effective at longer distances (up to 200 yards) but can cause significant meat damage.


Accuracy is paramount in turkey hunting, as shots are often taken at relatively long distances. Choose a rifle with a proven track record of accuracy and ensure it is properly sighted in for the chosen ammunition.

Barrel Length:

A shorter barrel (16-18 inches) is generally preferred for turkey hunting as it provides maneuverability in dense brush and tight spaces. However, a longer barrel (20-24 inches) can offer increased accuracy and velocity.

Ammunition Selection:

The choice of ammunition is equally important as the rifle itself. Opt for turkey-specific loads designed to deliver maximum impact and minimize meat damage. Consider factors such as shot size, payload weight, and choke tube compatibility.

Call Selection for Evening Turkey Hunting:

Calls play a crucial role in attracting turkeys during the evening hours. Choose calls that mimic the sounds of hens and poults, as these are the most likely to elicit a response from a gobbler. Consider the following options:

  • Mouth Calls: Mouth calls offer a wide range of versatility and can produce a variety of realistic turkey sounds. However, they require practice to master.
  • Box Calls: Box calls are relatively easy to use and produce loud, attention-grabbing yelps.
  • Slate Calls: Slate calls produce soft, raspy yelps that can be effective in close-range situations.
  • Friction Calls: Friction calls require rubbing a striker against a surface to produce turkey sounds. They offer a high degree of realism but can be challenging to master.

Evening Turkey Hunting Strategies:

Evening turkey hunting requires a different approach than morning hunting. Turkeys are less vocal and more cautious in the evening, so stealth and patience are key. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Scouting: Spend time scouting potential hunting areas before the season to locate flocks and identify their feeding and roosting patterns.
  • Spot and Stalk: Use your knowledge of turkey behavior to track down birds and get within shooting range.
  • Decoys: Decoys can be helpful in attracting turkeys, especially during the early evening hours.
  • Calling: While turkeys are less responsive to calls in the evening, using soft clucks and purrs can sometimes entice them into range.

Safety Considerations for Evening Turkey Hunting:

Safety is paramount when hunting turkeys in the evening. Always prioritize wearing blaze orange clothing, handling your firearm responsibly, and identifying your target before taking a shot. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid shooting in the direction of other hunters or hikers.

Evening turkey hunting can be a rewarding and challenging experience. By carefully selecting your equipment, employing effective strategies, and adhering to safety regulations, you can increase your chances of success in the evening turkey woods. Remember, patience, persistence, and a deep understanding of turkey behavior are key to mastering this unique hunting pursuit.

Stay Alert to Hunt Turkeys

Hunt these nocturnal, migratory, less chatty birds with caution; ensure you have thoroughly inspected the area before deciding to move on to your next location. Nothing is more annoying than waking up early to find yourself startled by a hen or tom you have never even seen coming your way. Hunting in the evening puts pressure on you to locate a bird quickly because the light is fading. Unlike hunting early in the day, when it seems like you have the whole day ahead of you,

I like to use my binoculars to thoroughly scan the area and look for signs of bird activity before I leave a location. Several times, I have caught movement from a bird that I didnt even see with my bare eye. I believe binoculars are one of the most underutilized tools used during turkey season.

Trust Your Turkey Hunting Area

You’ve noticed a lot of signs, you know where the birds roost and feed, and you have developed a pattern with them. But you just havent seen or heard a bird yet. What now? Have faith in your surroundings and head towards the roost areas; they’ll appear there. Turkeys will roost at dusk; whether this is at 6 or 8 p.m. depends on the season. m. If you are within 100 yards of the roost area, you can catch the birds as they arrive. You can then intercept their movement to fill in a tag.

Is it any coincidence that chairs are arranged in the front lobby area of Cabelas stores when you go shopping with your significant other? If you are shopping with someone and you get separated, that is the place where you are supposed to meet up; it’s like a turkey coming back to its roost area, where all the birds are going.

How to Hunt Afternoon Turkeys


Do turkeys gobble at sunset?

Sometimes turkeys won’t gobble until after sunset. Many hunters give up on their roosting missions too soon into the evening. Stay till it’s dark and you just might hear that one lone gobble, which is oftentimes all you need.

How long before sunset do turkeys roost?

Roost aggressively. Start about 30 to 40 minutes before sunset — not too early — at a good listening spot near where you’ve encountered turkeys before. High ridges, knolls and ridge tops are ideal because turkeys can hear your locator calls from such spots, and you can hear gobbling.

How do you scout turkeys in the evening?

You want to find where gobblers roost. The best way to do that is to be in the woods before dawn and at dusk, listening for gobbles. Each night turkeys roost in large trees to avoid predators. They typically gobble shortly after they fly up in the evening and in the morning before they fly down.

Where do turkeys go in the middle of the day?

On a warm, sunny day, reposition near shady areas in the trees where they go to escape the heat. In rainy and colder conditions, turkeys tend to bunch up in large open areas, like fields. Want to skip the early wakeup call altogether? Sneaking in quietly late morning or early afternoon can still be a successful option.

Is it legal to hunt a Turkey in the afternoon?

Provided hunting in the afternoons is legal in your state (in some states, it isn’t), real hunting opportunities present themselves in the last two to three hours of daylight. Turkey activity increases significantly at this time. But the evening shift is a different kind of hunting.

How to hunt evening turkeys?

There is no one right answer on how to hunt evening turkeys. The only trick, if there is one, is to recognize and realize that an evening gobbler has a very different personality than he did in the morning. Put that idea to work, and you could have yourself a very productive evening shift in the turkey woods this spring.

Where should I set up for an early evening turkey hunt?

Hunt the Food: One prime place to set up for an early evening hunt is a good feeding area, preferably one that’s within easy traveling distance of a roosting site. I like hunting feeding areas now because turkeys can be less paranoid here, where they’re farther back from their roost.

Do turkeys Hunker in the afternoon?

The afternoon doesn’t get much attention from hunters or turkeys. Birds hunker low in secluded places to while away the midday. Hunters take siestas to catch up on lost winks, or maybe work in the yard, around the house or at their job.

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