State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

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tracebusta32
 
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State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby tracebusta32 » February 17th, 2009, 7:27 am

Here is a response from each states turkey biologist of when the peak breeding/gobbling season is and further proof that it is determined by weather not daylength.
Note that not all states responded.


Arkansas
In Arkansas, we do not conduct gobble counts nor have we conducted any research to determine peak gobbling periods. Our brood survey data during the summer indicates that the peak breeding occurs during the second week of April with peak incubation during the last week of April. From that we can assume that peak gobbling would occur during the first week of April with a lesser peak during the first week of May.Brad Carner, Turkey Program Coordinator.


Arizona
Peak gobbling activity is weather dependent, and can vary annually by as much as three weeks. Gobbling may start late in February and early March, with a second peak of gobbling occurring in early May. Toms may continue to gobble into June.


California
We don't have any data to address your request, and there is debate regarding the two peaks in the scientific literature. Overall, our season tends to be robust over the years, but may vary significantly from year to year.


Connecticut
Due to climatoligical differences, the incubation period in the northwestern Connecticut may occur at a later date than in eastern Connecticut.


Iowa
Typically, the peak pre-breeding gobbling in Iowa ranges from the end of March through the end of April, and the post-breeding peak gobbling occurs mid- May through the beginning of June. Turkeys gobble extensively during the begining of breeding season to attract hens. Once the gobblers are with hens (end April-mid May), they usually don't gobble as much. Once the hens go off to sit on nests, they start to gobble again more (end of May-beginning of June) to attract any hens not on nests. Todd E. Gosselink, Ph.D, Forest Wildlife Research Biologist.


Florida
In response to your inquiry regarding wild turkey peak gobbling periods for Florida, I would like to emphasis that these gobbling peaks vary annually based on weather patterns, winter food availability, and for other unknown causes. With respect to Florida, a certain amount of latitudinal variation is also observed, with gobbling peaks typically occurring earlier in south Florida than in north Florida. On average, the pre-breeding gobbling peak typically occurs between early- to mid-March, with the post-breeding gobbling peak typically occurring from mid- to late-April.
As you stated, these dates usually coincide with the early breeding period (i.e., pre-breeding) and the average date when most hens are incubating their nest (i.e., post-breeding). It should also be noted, that the sub-tropical climate of Florida, especially south Florida, can result in extended gobbling periods, and gobbling may begin as early as January or February, however, peaks in gobbling activity typically occur during the dates listed above.


Indiana
Generally, the first peak of wild turkey gobbling in Indiana occurs around the first week of April. As you indicated, this can vary to some degree due to prevailing climatic conditions with day length (photo-period response) as the primary influence factor. Additionally, there is probably some additional variation in some states related to the respective state's north to south or east to west axis. Steven E. Backs, Wild Turkey Project Leader, Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife.


Maine
Unfortunately, we do not have data regarding peak gobbling periods by turkeys in Maine. My impression is that gobbling peaks during the 2nd two weeks of April and again during the 2nd two weeks of May, however hunting pressure seems to stifle gobbling activity, and again we have no data to support my impression on the timing of gobbling. If you get these data from NH, VT, or NY I would consider those dates applicable to Maine as well. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. Andy Weik Wildlife Biologist.

 
Mississippi
Although there is no such thing as a perfectly "normal spring hunting season," based on the data from tens of thousands of turkey hunts during the last five years, we could consider normal gobbling patterns in Mississippi during this time to have 3 general phases - rise, stabilization, and fall in gobbling frequency.


New Hampshire
The sequence of breeding and nesting is pretty similar between New Hampshire, Vermont and the southern half of Maine. I suspect that nesting will begin somewhat later in Coos County, and in the northern parts of Grafton and Carroll Counties. The sequence of events is somewhat earlier to the south of us in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Some gobbling usually starts during the second half of February, particularly if there are numerous sunny days, and minimal snow cover or (there is) bare ground spots. The first peak of gobbling is during in the southern half of the state is approximately during the middle of April, but can be during early April or even late April... The second peak of gobbling is during the "principal" incubation period, which is May 4-8. There is often considerable response to hunter calling, and turkey gobbling in late May and early June, when gobblers have a difficult time finding any remaining hens in circulation.


New Jersey
I had to go back and conduct some research on gobbling peaks in New Jersey as data has not been collected on this subject in about twenty-three years. It appears that the two NJ peaks fall around the second or third week of April and again during the second week of May. Tony McBride, Principal Biologist, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife


Oklahoma
We do not conduct gobbling surveys in Oklahoma. Our spring turkey season opens on April 6th and runs through May 6th each year. Peak incubation usually occurs during mid to late April. The peak hatch usually occurs during mid to late May. The mature hens will usually establish their nests and begin to lay in late March to early April with the juvenile hens establishing their nests usually two to three weeks later.
To give you a timeframe of peak gobbling activity; usually late March to early April. We may hear some gobbling activity as late as July. If the weather warms in February, we will hear some gobbling at this time.
We have observed turkeys hatching broods as early as mid March and as late as early September. Oklahoma has extreme variables in weather conditions from the western part of the state through the eastern part of the state. Heavy rains can occur during April and May which will usually result in high occurances of nest mortality.
You asked for peak pre-breeding and post-breeding gobbling acitivities; I would have to infer that mid March to early April would be the peak pre-breeding gobbling acitvity and late April to mid May would be the peak post-breeding gobbling activity. Jack Waymire Eastern Wild Turkey Project Leader


Oregon
That is a difficult question for Oregon since the Eastern part of the state is so different that the Western portion. The Eastern portion of Oregon has a much later Spring than the Westside. They can often be 2-4 weeks behind Western Oregon and still have snow on the ground when Western Oregon has greened up and turkeys are nesting. But I will give you my best shot at this.
My experience is the peak gobbling period (pre-nesting) is the last week of March, and first week of April and the second peak of the gobbling activity (post-nesting) is the last week of April-first week of May. Hope this helps. David Budeau


Pennsylvania
We just ask some guy from PA named Steve.


South Dakota
The entire length of the SD turkey season encompasses the breeding season for wild turkeys in the Black Hills. This year, as in many past years, the birds were demonstrating breeding behavior as early as January but the primary breeding season generally occurs beginning in early April and will progress through at least the first part of May. From past studies by Mark Rumble and others, there does appear to be a small spike in breeding activity that seems to consistently occur during the second week in April but it is heavily influenced by climatic conditions and progress of movement toward summer ranges. Hope this helps. John Wrede, Regional Wildlife Manager


Tennessee
(Gobbling) Activity continues with peaks and valleys for about 6-7 weeks. For the pre-breeding gobbling peak it will be around the 1st of April and the post-breeding gobbling peak will be around the 21st of April. Of course it can shift within a week. It also varies by geographic regions and usually begins in west Tennessee and moves east. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me.


Texas
You are correct in that these dates hop around a lot from year to year but I will try and answer as best I can.

I'll do eastern turkeys first because they are the easiest. Peak gobbling activity is a function of both photoperiod and physical condition of both hens and gobblers. Although day length does not vary much from year to, year physical condition is a function of diet, which in turn is a function of habitat and environmental influences that impact habitat like temperature and precipitation.
In East Texas, since we usually have wet winters and springs and the temperatures usually warm up early there is not much variance for our eastern turkeys. Peak gobbling occurs during the second and first halves of the first 2 weeks of April, respectively, for eastern turkeys in Texas. The second peak of gobbling occurs when the majority of hens initiate incubation. This occurs during the third week of April.


Vermont
We don't have "pre-breeding" and "post-breeding" gobbling of any consequence in Vermont. Turkey gobbling activity is directly associated with breeding/courtship of hens in the spring. Our peak gobbling is somewhat weather dependent and occurs around the third week in April (give or take a week, week and a half). We often have a smaller "peak" around mid-May, with similar variation.
Doug Blodgett, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Dept.


Virginia
Gobbling rates differed among regions. In all regions, during the hunting season, gobbling rates tended to decline in 2-week intervals. Statewide, we noticed a generalized pattern through the season where gobbling through the first 10-14 days of hunting, then increased for 6-8 days, and declined thereafter. The only exception to this pattern occurred in 1993, when peak gobbling activity increased to a peak around May 6 in all regions.


Wisconsin 
In Wisconsin the primary peak may be somewhere in the vicinity of the third or fourth week in April and the secondary peak in mid-May. Typically there will be some variance with this throughout the southern vs. northern parts of the state. There are also many variables esp. weather which will play a large factor in gobbling activity. Andrea Mezera


Wyoming
In Wyoming the pre breeding gobbling peak is usually the second and third weeks of April. This may vary a little from year to year depending on the weather. As for the second gobbling period, research in the state of Mississipi indicates there is no such thing as a second post breeding gobbling peak. (I'm not buying that one.) Turkeys may respond to a call better later on when hens are nesting but they often come in quietly with very little gobbling taking place. Al Langston


Shew, that was alot to put on here.... time to have some lunch...crawfish and corn bisque yummy!!
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greyghost
 
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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby greyghost » February 17th, 2009, 10:49 am

Now are you seeing why I said in a couple posts before that you do not see any noted person, biologist, editor, writer, or any of the top names in the hunting circle (H.S. Realtree, etc) on any of these forums.

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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby tracebusta32 » February 17th, 2009, 11:07 am

gg, I'm not sure what you mean.....These guys are from each state around the country, most stated that weather has as much or more to do with breeding than length of day.
 
I hope the info will be helpful and productive for some of the hunters on board.
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wisturkeyhunter
 
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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby wisturkeyhunter » February 17th, 2009, 11:24 am

You seem like your trying to convince yourself as much as anyone else its weather related.

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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby tracebusta32 » February 17th, 2009, 11:30 am

It worked, I'm convinced [8|] 
 
wisturkeyhunter, dont be mad at me talk to Andrea Mezera thats your states wildlife expert.... I just copied and pasted  
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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby wisturkeyhunter » February 17th, 2009, 11:41 am

ORIGINAL: tracebusta32


 I just copied and pasted  

No doubt your an expert at that.
Andrea Mezera dosen't seem like she really knows when they Gobble most after reading what you pasted. I can tell you she's off and if I was a copy and paste master I could find something from other biologist that suggest she is too.

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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby deja vu » February 17th, 2009, 12:28 pm

Peak gobbling season..... All but a couple of these cut and paste tid bits are about peak gobbling season...  What about breeding season? Or did you give up on that and move this topic to gobbeling peak? You got any more info on breeding? I saw a couple that mentioned that in some areas nesting can run later depending on weather factors. Well..... to some degree I believe that a hen has the instinct to know that eggs/nest laid in snow may not have a good success and will hold off a bit. But this would be more of an oddity in a certain area and not the reason for the season.
"Old School Elitist"

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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby tracebusta32 » February 17th, 2009, 1:06 pm

Do I need to teach you boys what the gobbles mean also?
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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby tracebusta32 » February 17th, 2009, 1:29 pm

Another Copy and Paste Job with some more info
 
 
We know that wildlife react to changes in barometric pressure, rainfall and wind speed," said Dr. James Earl Kennamer, NWTF's vice-president of conservation programs. "How they sense these changes and exactly why they react is the question."
"Weather affects wildlife in the same way that it can affect people's attitudes and behaviors. Hot, cold, dry and wet weather determines our dress, umbrella use and recreational activities. The same weather determines if turkeys sit late on their roosts or fly down to feed.
Gary Norman, NWTF technical committee member and biologist for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, is testing a microchip that will record the date and time of a wild turkey's gobbles. The microchip is placed in radio collars, and the information will be compared to weather records, which should determine when turkeys are most likely to gobble. If successful, the microchip will help biologists determine those factors that affect gobbling. Armed with that information, wildlife agencies should be able to fine tune season dates to coincide with peak gobbling activity and improve hunter satisfaction.
Norman said that lab studies have been successful, and that the microchip would be tested on captured turkeys in the spring of 2004.
Because change is a huge factor in how weather affects wildlife, the study and the microchip will go a long way in answering many questions about behavior. Wildlife are more in tune with nature and weather patterns because survival depends on their response to nature.
Timing hunting and fishing trips with changing weather patterns can increase the chance of success, especially if the trip can be made immediately before or after heavy rain or a weather front.
"Deer and turkeys feed heavily before and after a front," Kennamer said. "What we want to learn is their activity levels during days of continuous weather. How active are wildlife during a week of sunshine, or a week of rain?"
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RE: State Turkey Biologist Responses to Peak Season

Postby tracebusta32 » February 17th, 2009, 1:39 pm

Toms gobble for two main reasons - 1) To attract hens and 2) to proclaim their dominance over subordinate males. They will, however, shock gobble to just about any loud noise. The typical gobble lasts about 2-3 seconds. Most gobblers can control the intensity of their gobbling and generally older toms will have much deeper, full-throated gobbles. But don't let the gobbling fool you. Hens have been known to gobble and have a try at strutting also.
Subs will gobble in the fall sometimes to trigger a breaking away from the flock also
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