Driving through the woods I’ve been taking notice that all of the hog plum trees are in full bloom. Citrus and dogwood trees are all budded-up and will be blooming very soon as well. They’re all really pretty, but I’m not as excited about how pretty they are as much as I am about what their blooms coincide with. When the hog plum trees come into bloom, it is the beginning of the turkeys changing from their segregated flocks. It’s time that the toms start separating from their bachelor groups to begin intermingling with a few hens on the outer edges of the hen flocks. And when all of those dogwood blossoms begin popping open, the tom turkeys will really be feeling frisky and their gobbling activity will begin.
That gobble though…. Nothing can get me as excited while out in the woods as the sound of a turkey gobbling nearby. Now most of us have heard the gobbles in the spring, but it seems like a lot of folks don’t quite understand what the gobbling means to the turkey that’s doing it. See, right now we’re entering the breeding season for wild turkeys and that gobble has everything to do with that tom’s intentions to spread about his DNA. When he wakes up on his limb in the morning, he’ll begin to gobble in order to tell all the other turkeys, “Hey, I’m over here!”
Once the morning progresses into full daylight, that big tom will fly down into an open area and begin to strut, his plumage all fluffed up and fanned out for a beautiful display for the ladies. He’ll continue to gobble and gobble, to draw the attention of the local lady turkeys in hopes they’ll then see him strutting, all handsome-like, and come close enough to give ‘em a peck on the cheek. Anytime that tom relocates to a new area throughout the day, he’ll continue to toss out a gobble from time to time in order to attract as many hens to himself as he can.
That’s the way it works in nature, the hens always go to the toms. As hunters, we try to reverse that natural order, by calling to the toms as if we’re lovesick hens, desperately in need of their attention. It’s not easy. One thing for sure, if you’re going to find any level of success, you’re going to need a good caller.
This Saturday, I’ve been invited to appear at the Florida Wild Turkey Expo in Webster, Florida, on the True Heart Ranch, just east of our county line. That Expo will be featuring top callers and callmakers from all over the Southeastern US. I’ll be on hand teaching calling techniques and passing out tips and tactics to turn the tables on even the smartest of gobblers. Swing by, there’s no charges for admission or parking, and visit with me and maybe pick up one of the thousands of handcrafted turkey calls on display. It might just give your season a real boost.
As always, I’d love to hear about your adventures and maybe see a photo or two of your successes, so drop me a line at [email protected] God bless and Good Hunting!