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Gobbling Activity

This Turkey Tuesday is about gobbling activity – a topic that’s always of interest to us turkey hunters. The end of February is often a period when gobbling activity starts in earnest in southern parts of turkey range. So what drives and influences gobbling activity? And why do toms start gobbling well before the onset of breeding? Well, toms become receptive and testosterone levels begin to rise – on warmer days in late winter gobbling can be intense. Research has shown that toms become receptive about 45 days before hens do, so it makes sense that many of us are hearing birds gobble despite the fact that breeding is still weeks away. Research has also shown that 2 factors are the primary drivers of gobbling – breeding behaviors of hens and hunting pressure. As hens become receptive and approach the laying and incubation phases of the nesting process, gobbling ramps up as competition amongst toms increases. And as hunting begins, gobbling often declines although obviously the amount of hunting pressure has much to do with the magnitude of the decline. As turkey hunters, we also know that weather influences gobbling, and research has shown the same – wind, rain, temperature, and barometric pressure can influence gobbling but the magnitude of the influence pales in comparison to hen behaviors and hunting pressure. The take home is, many factors influence the amount of gobbling we hear and in the turkey world, gobbling activity is just ramping up in southern areas as the breeding season approaches.

© Tes Randle Jolly

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