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Fall Turkeys Gobble Too

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September 04, 2009
Fall Turkeys Gobble Too - 13

Yesterday, while out scouting at daybreak, I heard a gobble in the nearby woods. Then another. That's right. Autumn turkeys gobble; even late-summer birds. On the roost and on the ground. I know, some of you have heard differently. Talk is cheap. Experience pays dividends. If they’re fall jakes, they sometimes gobble after making a kee-kee-run, tagging it right on the end of that call. I’ve scattered autumn longbeards too only to have each one gobble hard on their return to the flush site. I defy anyone to tell me that's not just as exciting as a spring hunt.

These vocalizations are obviously made as male turkeys try to locate each other. Despite what you might have heard from the guy who says they don’t gobble in fall, you need to get out there and hear it for yourself.

True enough, hearing that gobble isn’t as reliable as it is in spring. Spring gobblers call to draw hens to their roosted or ground-standing position. Fall gobblers likely do it to indicate their location too, but to male turkeys, since longbeard groups hang together then. Jake gangs sometimes form in late autumn and early winter as they contest family flock stability. Some territorial dominance is also likely at play when male turkeys gobble in fall.

As your calling goes, a little gobbling goes a long way. Use it sparingly when you have a group of fall longbeards roosted in earshot before they fly-down. Maybe run that gobble tube (see my photo of some Quaker Boy options, pictured here) once or twice when they’re on the ground in conjunction with fighting purrs. Buddy hunters can double up on vocalizations this way, but again, don’t overdo it. This calling strategy shouldn’t be a musical jam session but a perfectly choreographed and well-timed vocalization: brief in duration and hopefully effective.

Do you Strut Zoners ever use gobble calls to lure in fall turkeys? Spring? Hearing any gobbling in your local turkey woods these days?

Comments (13)

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from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey GB, and everyone else. Yep, sure enough, Vermont is fantastic. Two spring turkey tags, and one for fall. Lots of public land to hunt. Autumn turkey dogging is legal. Farmers have also (usually) been more than willing to grant this road tripper hunting permission over the years when I've asked (the border is two hours away for me by pickup truck), even if they post the land. Turkey hunting VT again this fall of course. On all that, more next month. As for spots, I always check the kill data (spring/fall) for the recent seasons. Town and regional "harvest" info. can be dug up, and you can piece a hunt together that way. Right now I'm off to a local turkey hunting buddy's place for the final cookout of the weekend (and of course to plan fall). Spent yesterday here in Maine with a bunch of English setter people. All good. Have a great Labor Day everybody! -S.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Steve/Strut Zoners----
Spent the long weekend in the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont....Absolutely LOVE Vermont, but don't get back here nearly enough and have never turkey hunted it spring or fall. Know that Steve hunts VT. every season and would love to hear some more about they wheres and hows of the area. Spent most of the time in the Rutland/Chittenden/Mendon area. Locals didn't have a heck of a lot to say about the turkey population---only that they see 'em every once in a while. Some huge hills...some incredible streams, rivers and lakes to fish.....lots of acorns this year, too. Would love to hear more, more. Seems you could hunt for weeks and never hit the same stand of forest twice.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey charlie elk. I'm on that aggressive purr team too, for sure. Our turkeys are ranging bigtime right now--lots of food. Saw some odd flocks yesterday while scouting: young birds 3/4 the size of the brood hens with some other poults the size of pheasants in the same wad of birds. But here's the one that got my attention: one 10-inch longbeard hanging with five adult (broodless) hens. Guess he's getting early dibs on spring! -S.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Don't have any geese in this neighborhood.
So I have been spending time finding the mast turkeys are feeding on. They move around a lot here this time of year so a hunter needs to keep monitering their "pulse."
May favorite fall gobbler call is the aggressive purr which I make by holding a slate between my knees and purring with 2 strikers in order to simulate 2 turkeys.

Jason the Mapper, don't worry about bowhunters, they are usually courteous folks and they should appreciate you stirring woods up a bit to get the deer moving for them. Most bowhunters sit in one place for the duration of their daily hunt.
Good Hunting.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey guys,

Thanks for checking in . . . I was sitting in a Maine goose blind this past Saturday morning (Sept. 5), in the middle of a farm pasture, when from behind me came other vocalizations I didn't mind hearing that day; nope, not honkers about to cup and commit out of the blue Labor Day weekend sky, but a gobbler in the near woods sounding off. Made my day.

-S.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I had a nice experience with this a couple weeks ago...floating on a lake at sunrise fishing and heard a couple gobbles in the distance, but thought it was my imagination. Then shortly heard some kee kees from a different location and clucks even closer as turkeys spread apart tried to find each other; and continued to move in on each other. Now reading this, I'm glad I'm not hearing things, and that it's not unheard of this time of year. What would otherwise have been another regular fishing trip turned into a memorable experience of floating on a foggy lake w/o another soul in sight listening to these birds in the distance.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Yep they gobble; as a matter of fact I think they gobble all year round. The only month so far this year I didn't hear any gobbling was.............goin to say August but then I remembered early one cool morning about a half a dozen lit up for 20 minutes.
During the fall season there are days they gobble more and longer than in the spring.
8 WI tags my pocket are burning to be punched can't start until the 12th. There are still 34,484 leftover fall tags available and this week the legislature extended the season to December 31 . That my friends is a lot of turkey hunting opportunity.
Can you believe the NR tags are only $15?
Next year dogs will be legal state wide.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

BRBB,

Try it, you'll like it!

S.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Jason the Mapper,

That last day spring turkey hunt must have had you stoked! Nice. Where do you do most of your hunting? A lot of whitetail bowhunters I know hit the margins of the day--early morning as legal shooting hours arrive, and late afternoon. The best thing about fall turkey hunting is that flocks are often highly visible by day. A late morning and early afternoon hunt (any time during legal shooting really) can put you into birds. Keep us posted on how you do. Thx. -S.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason the Mapper wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

This is my first year turkey hunting and what started my interest was hearing them last October while pheasant hunting on public land. I never heard a gobble but it was enough to get me thinking that perusing them on state land was viable. This spring I was successful on my last day with a push-pin call. This fall I have a much longer season and hope some of what I have read in Steve’s articles and blogs will help me out, though I am concerned I will have to compete with the bow deer hunters.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Heard Gobblers during Fall deer hunts before,not often.Nothing like a gobble in the woods to get the heart pumping,I don't care what time of the year it is.Never turkey hunted in the Fall,always reserve that until Spring.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Levi. Cool story. One of the nice things about hunting Maine's early goose season (Sept. 1-25) is that you get to hear turkeys waking up in the nearby woods off pasture fields. How're you doing with those speedster doves? -S.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I heard some the other night dove hunting, but it must have been domestic ones, based on the direction and other noises I heard. I've only heard it once in the fall/winter, it was late anterless deer season (December) and I was hunting on a buddy's farm, he told me where to go and I snuck in before light and sat at the base of a tree, as it started getting light he started gobbling about 50 yards or less away, right behind me. I couldn't believe I got that close, especially since it wasn't more than 45 minutes or so before sunrise when I went in. He gobbled quite a bit, I called a little with a mouth call I usually have. I didn't hear the other birds, but he joined up with 2 others because I snuck out to the edge of the field later and they busted me(I was going to get my bow since archery turkey season was open). The hair on the back of my neck pretty much stood up when he started, man that sound is sweet, "talking turkey" sure beats sitting quiet in the woods waiting for deer.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from Levi Banks wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I heard some the other night dove hunting, but it must have been domestic ones, based on the direction and other noises I heard. I've only heard it once in the fall/winter, it was late anterless deer season (December) and I was hunting on a buddy's farm, he told me where to go and I snuck in before light and sat at the base of a tree, as it started getting light he started gobbling about 50 yards or less away, right behind me. I couldn't believe I got that close, especially since it wasn't more than 45 minutes or so before sunrise when I went in. He gobbled quite a bit, I called a little with a mouth call I usually have. I didn't hear the other birds, but he joined up with 2 others because I snuck out to the edge of the field later and they busted me(I was going to get my bow since archery turkey season was open). The hair on the back of my neck pretty much stood up when he started, man that sound is sweet, "talking turkey" sure beats sitting quiet in the woods waiting for deer.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from bullridingbamaboy wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Heard Gobblers during Fall deer hunts before,not often.Nothing like a gobble in the woods to get the heart pumping,I don't care what time of the year it is.Never turkey hunted in the Fall,always reserve that until Spring.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jason the Mapper wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

This is my first year turkey hunting and what started my interest was hearing them last October while pheasant hunting on public land. I never heard a gobble but it was enough to get me thinking that perusing them on state land was viable. This spring I was successful on my last day with a push-pin call. This fall I have a much longer season and hope some of what I have read in Steve’s articles and blogs will help me out, though I am concerned I will have to compete with the bow deer hunters.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

BRBB,

Try it, you'll like it!

S.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Yep they gobble; as a matter of fact I think they gobble all year round. The only month so far this year I didn't hear any gobbling was.............goin to say August but then I remembered early one cool morning about a half a dozen lit up for 20 minutes.
During the fall season there are days they gobble more and longer than in the spring.
8 WI tags my pocket are burning to be punched can't start until the 12th. There are still 34,484 leftover fall tags available and this week the legislature extended the season to December 31 . That my friends is a lot of turkey hunting opportunity.
Can you believe the NR tags are only $15?
Next year dogs will be legal state wide.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from WVOtter wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I had a nice experience with this a couple weeks ago...floating on a lake at sunrise fishing and heard a couple gobbles in the distance, but thought it was my imagination. Then shortly heard some kee kees from a different location and clucks even closer as turkeys spread apart tried to find each other; and continued to move in on each other. Now reading this, I'm glad I'm not hearing things, and that it's not unheard of this time of year. What would otherwise have been another regular fishing trip turned into a memorable experience of floating on a foggy lake w/o another soul in sight listening to these birds in the distance.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Don't have any geese in this neighborhood.
So I have been spending time finding the mast turkeys are feeding on. They move around a lot here this time of year so a hunter needs to keep monitering their "pulse."
May favorite fall gobbler call is the aggressive purr which I make by holding a slate between my knees and purring with 2 strikers in order to simulate 2 turkeys.

Jason the Mapper, don't worry about bowhunters, they are usually courteous folks and they should appreciate you stirring woods up a bit to get the deer moving for them. Most bowhunters sit in one place for the duration of their daily hunt.
Good Hunting.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey charlie elk. I'm on that aggressive purr team too, for sure. Our turkeys are ranging bigtime right now--lots of food. Saw some odd flocks yesterday while scouting: young birds 3/4 the size of the brood hens with some other poults the size of pheasants in the same wad of birds. But here's the one that got my attention: one 10-inch longbeard hanging with five adult (broodless) hens. Guess he's getting early dibs on spring! -S.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Steve/Strut Zoners----
Spent the long weekend in the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont....Absolutely LOVE Vermont, but don't get back here nearly enough and have never turkey hunted it spring or fall. Know that Steve hunts VT. every season and would love to hear some more about they wheres and hows of the area. Spent most of the time in the Rutland/Chittenden/Mendon area. Locals didn't have a heck of a lot to say about the turkey population---only that they see 'em every once in a while. Some huge hills...some incredible streams, rivers and lakes to fish.....lots of acorns this year, too. Would love to hear more, more. Seems you could hunt for weeks and never hit the same stand of forest twice.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey GB, and everyone else. Yep, sure enough, Vermont is fantastic. Two spring turkey tags, and one for fall. Lots of public land to hunt. Autumn turkey dogging is legal. Farmers have also (usually) been more than willing to grant this road tripper hunting permission over the years when I've asked (the border is two hours away for me by pickup truck), even if they post the land. Turkey hunting VT again this fall of course. On all that, more next month. As for spots, I always check the kill data (spring/fall) for the recent seasons. Town and regional "harvest" info. can be dug up, and you can piece a hunt together that way. Right now I'm off to a local turkey hunting buddy's place for the final cookout of the weekend (and of course to plan fall). Spent yesterday here in Maine with a bunch of English setter people. All good. Have a great Labor Day everybody! -S.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Levi. Cool story. One of the nice things about hunting Maine's early goose season (Sept. 1-25) is that you get to hear turkeys waking up in the nearby woods off pasture fields. How're you doing with those speedster doves? -S.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey Jason the Mapper,

That last day spring turkey hunt must have had you stoked! Nice. Where do you do most of your hunting? A lot of whitetail bowhunters I know hit the margins of the day--early morning as legal shooting hours arrive, and late afternoon. The best thing about fall turkey hunting is that flocks are often highly visible by day. A late morning and early afternoon hunt (any time during legal shooting really) can put you into birds. Keep us posted on how you do. Thx. -S.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Hickoff wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Hey guys,

Thanks for checking in . . . I was sitting in a Maine goose blind this past Saturday morning (Sept. 5), in the middle of a farm pasture, when from behind me came other vocalizations I didn't mind hearing that day; nope, not honkers about to cup and commit out of the blue Labor Day weekend sky, but a gobbler in the near woods sounding off. Made my day.

-S.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

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