Peak Gobbling Activity in the Midwest

Brad Uitdenbogerd writes:

Hi, I attended your seminar at the deer/turkey show in Minnesota last weekend, and enjoyed it. You briefly had a slide up showing a graph of a few years of peak gobbling times in Minnesota. Where can I find that graph on your website or elsewhere, I would like to look at it closer.
Good hunting,

Hi Brad.  That information was adapted from some years of data collected by author and guide T.R. Michels, here in southern Minnesota.  His Turkey Addict's Manual is a great read!  Attached is the graph, but as I described in the seminar, more important is what it tells us.  Keep in mind, the red line is the general trend for most years and does vary season to season.  That said, it helps us understand the progression through the breeding season and what it means for our hunting.

In the early season, gobblers are willing to breed but hens are not and toms do a great deal of gobbling for a variety of reasons.  This peak can and usually does happen just before the season opener in MN.  Then comes somewhat of a lull, similar to the "lockdown" phase of the deer rut, with toms staying in close visual contact with ready hens at all times.  There's less of a need to gobble under these circumstances.  Then another peak happens in early May with the majority of hens going off to nest.  My experience has shown that while gobbling doesn't necessarily pick-up in the morning hours only, it continues well into the middle part of the day, this time period is great for hunting whenever you have a chance to hit the woods.  Then the late season decline happens as hens' interest declines. While toms are still ready and willing, food is plentiful and the breeding season is winding down so they're not as likely to come a great distance or gobble with the same gusto they did earlier.  Of course there are exceptions to every part of these phases, but they've held mostly true for as long as I've hunted in the Midwest.

Keep these in mind as you select seasons and head out there to hunt birds, but remember, there's never a bad time to hunt turkeys!