Turkey season is open or will open soon in most states! Turkey season is a lot like deer season. In most states the spring turkey season is timed around the turkey breeding season.
Just like deer, turkeys go through several distinct stages of a breeding season. In fact, gobblers go through behavior similar to the pre-rut, rut, and post rut.
Gobblers tend to stay in groups before the spring breeding season similar to bucks remaining in bachelor groups until the pre-rut occurs. During the late winter the groups of gobblers tend to break up. The more mature gobblers then tend to hang out by themselves, while middle aged toms (two and three year olds) often remain in smaller groups of two to four. Yearling toms, also called jakes, often remain in larger groups.
These behaviors are similar to how white-tailed bucks behave during the pre-rut. Toms tend to move a lot and are very responsive during this stage of the turkey breeding cycle. In addition most states don’t open turkey season until this stage of the turkey “pre-rut.”
Unhunted gobblers that are eagerly looking for a hen are often easy to tag. Get your shotgun patterned! The turkey pre rut is a great time to tag a tom!
If you don’t have a chance to hunt the turkey “pre rut,” I’ll write next week about typical gobbler behavior during the peak of turkey breeding season.
Growing and enjoying wildlife together,
Dr. Grant Woods was raised and began his love of white-tailed deer as a bow hunter in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri.