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Gobbling in the Fall

This Turkey Tuesday is about gobbling – in this case, during the fall well before breeding season approaches. When us turkey hunters think about gobbling, our minds often wander to those spring mornings when the woods come alive with the thundering gobble of a tom. But in the turkey world, gobbling is something that happens almost year-round, and can be common in the fall. If you’re like me, you’ve heard toms gobbling this fall – the other afternoon, I was blessed to listen to a tom rip it up for almost an hour. While gobbling during spring is primarily driven around attracting hens, gobbling during fall is a totally different ballgame. Toms gobble during fall as their testosterone levels ebb upwards at times, and they do so primarily to challenge and maintain dominance hierarchies. Some toms that have joined fall flocks are not familiar with each other, so there is a lot of shuffling, scrapping, and testing of each other to sort out dominance. Gobbling in the presence of other toms at this time of year is a way to challenge them and helps sort out who will stand on the top few rungs of the dominance ladder come spring. The take home is, gobbling is an activity that serves multiple purposes in the turkey world and is a way for toms to “get the jump” on other toms they spend time with during fall.

Pic by Stephen Spurlock

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