Peaks of Gobbling-Spring Turkeys

Toms gobble hardest during two periods each spring. Find the peaks, and you'll avoid the lulls. Here's when you can hear the gobblers in each turkey state.

Spring turkey hunting is more popular than fall hunting for a simple reason: In spring, turkeys gobble. It’s that wild call, that assemblage of syllables that sounds like a combination of yodel and train wreck, that pulls us out there.

Some mornings the birds don’t gobble, even when conditions seem perfect, but in general, there are two very well-defined gobbling peaks. One comes early in the mating cycle, when the toms are advertising for hens that aren’t receptive yet. Another comes later, after most of the hens have been bred and are incubating their eggs.

In both instances, the toms gobble because they’re lonely. It’s that space between peaks, the dreaded gobbling lull, that hunters dread. The woods are silent, the gobblers non-responsive.

The accompanying map shows the average peaks of gobbling across the United States. Dates vary annually, depending on weather and other poorly understood factors, but in most years this data is accurate within a week or less.

Savvy hunters try to time hunts to coincide with the peaks. The turkeys are still tough, but at least we can hear them.

Oregon
April 1, May 1
**
Arizona**
April 5, May 10

New Mexico
April 10, May 10**

Wyoming**
April 20, May 14
**
South Dakota**
April 14, May 14

Nebraska
April 10, April 25

Oklahoma
April 1, May 5
**
Texas (N)**
April 4, April 20**

Texas (S)**
March 25, April 20
**
Texas (E)**
April 10, April 25
**
Mississippi**
March 25, April 25
**
Louisiana**
March 25, April 25
**
Arkansas**
April 6, May 5
**
Missouri**
April 20, April 26
**
Iowa**
April 15, May 20
**
Wisconsin**
April 20, May 15
**
Minnesota**
**April 10, May 10

Alabama**
April 4, April 24
**
Indiana**
April 7, May 5

Ohio
April 17, May 10

Pennsylvania
April 10, April 25

Michigan
April 16, May 25
**
Quebec**
April 20, May 20
**
Vermont**
April 20, May 15

Maine
April 12, May 20
**
New York**
April 10, May 10

West Virginia
April 1, April 27
**
Kentucky**
April 3, May 10

Tennessee
April 4, April 20

New Hampshire
April 17, May 10

Connecticut/Rhode Island
April 10, April 31
**
New Jersey**
April 17, May 10

Maryland/Delaware
April 17, May 10

Virginia
March 25, April 28

North Carolina
April 5, April 25
**
South Carolina**
March 20, April 25

Georgia
March 30, April 28

Florida
March 10, April 20