July 21, 2016, the sunrise was greeted by profuse gobbling. How cool is that on what is predicted to be the hottest day of the summer?
Why do gobblers gobble in July?
This morning is not the first time I have heard gobbling toms during the summer months. There always has been a bit of mystery as to why there is any gobbling outside of the traditional spring mating season. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard male turkeys sounding off during every month of the year, plus, many of my fellow hunters report the same type of off-season gobbling all year long.
Here is my reasoning as to the timing of gobbles
Late January – March:
- Male turkeys are coming out of winter with different levels of physical strength along with differing levels of mating hormones. The pecking order as established last fall is in the process of being reorganized while the bachelor flocks are beginning to separate. All of this change is very exciting causing much gobbling.
April – May:
- Of course, all hunters know this is mating time, the gobbling is an attempt to attract hens and scare off lower ranking toms and jakes. A mystery many hunters ponder is why on some of the spring days the sound of gobbling rings throughout woodlands and on other equally nice weather days mornings can be greeted by silence? Personally, for the most part, I believe the amount of gobbling is directly related to the willingness of hens to mate and the number of gobblers competing for the hen’s attention.
June – August
- During June gobbling for mating is winding down and the remaining male turkeys are becoming more interested in forming their
summertime bachelor groups. Some strutting and gobbling continue in an attempt to locate hens that did not breed or have lost their nest. I’ve seen toms strutting in fields with attentive hens as late as the first week in August.
- Male turkeys are less competitive and because they are seeking each other’s company rather than only focusing on hens. Gobbling and coarse yelps are used to find each other. A lot less fighting takes place at this time of year.
- The jakes of the year are asserting themselves and anytime during the day short higher pitch gobbles will be heard. They will be leaving
their broods to form what I think of as gangs, much like teenagers who don’t want anything to do with the brood hen. Many times these jakes seek out broods of hens with jennies to target for harassment.
- September is an exciting time to hunt these jakes. When you find them, they respond quickly and aggressively to calling. Wisconsin fall turkey season opens mid-September.
October – November
- Winter flock formation begins to take place in earnest. As these weeks click by the flocks become larger as more birds join male flocks with separate flocks for the ladies. Establishing pecking order in both flocks is contentious, so wild turkey calls abound at all times of the day.
- Male turkeys, in particular, will fight, gobble and yell at each other.; This is the best time to get a fall gobbler, considered an extra special trophy by many hunters.
December – January
- Winter has arrived, the turkeys settle in with the acquisition of food high on their daily agenda. Occasional tiffs and arguments erupt over the more desired food sources. A few gobble will be heard from time to time, but mostly angry purrs or clucks warn off an encroaching turkey.
- If a band of turkeys finds one particularly, abundant food source they will call to others and males may gobble.
All of the above is reason enough to get hooked on year-round turkey hunting.