What Does a Mild Winter and Warm Spring Mean for Turkey Hunting?

Existing turkey flocks nationwide had great conditions for winter survival — but will it influence our spring gobbler hunting? MYTH: … Continued

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Existing turkey flocks nationwide had great conditions for winter survival — but will it influence our spring gobbler hunting?

MYTH: Gobblers will breed early and be “all done” by opening day.

FACT: While mild to warm weather sometimes increases gobbling activity, true breeding doesn’t start until the length of daylight is right. Photoperiod — the duration of daylight as it influences plants, animals and of course wild turkeys — influences breeding behavior.

MYTH: Hens will breed and lay eggs too early with these warm conditions.
**
FACT**: Nesting behavior by hens is influenced by photoperiod as well, and has less to do with unusually mild or warm conditions. Hens can also re-nest if necessary.

MYTH: We’re better off fishing than hunting this spring turkey season.
**
FACT**: Early leaf-out will likely influence your turkey hunting this year,
for sure. Gobblers may be harder to hear at a distance, with sounds muffled by leafy cover, but easier to approach once you do.

MYTH: The weather is so unusual this year there’s no telling what this will do to turkey populations.

FACT: If the mild conditions without excessive precipitation continue, breeding, nesting and brood-rearing will surely benefit and wild turkey numbers will thrive.

Do you think our nationwide mild winter and warm spring will help or hurt your turkey hunting?

Check out this 2012 turkey outlook from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Media photo courtesy of NWTF