Four Factors For A Great Turkey Season

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With turkey season fast approaching, I tend to enter the "phase of reflection" in which I look back on past seasons to try to make myself a better hunter. Just as a football team watches game film to improve from week to week, I recall and critique hunts from years past to improve as a turkey hunter.

As I was pondering the sport I hold dear the other day, I asked myself, "What are the key factors that make a turkey season great?" “Why is one season better than the next and so forth?” So I decided to look back on the best seasons I have had to find the common denominators, and have compiled a list of the 4 key reasons that (in my humble opinion) determine the quality of a turkey season.

1. Having a Strong Crop of Two Year Old Gobblers

As WTR contributor Sage Morris noted in the article "God Bless the Two Year Olds," two year old gobblers serve as the catalyst for a great turkey season.  Have a strong crop, and the gobbling and kills will be strong, not just from them but older turkeys as well.  Have a weak one, and be ready for some silent mornings and tag sandwiches.  The fact of the matter is, very few limits in my home state of Alabama (our limit is five) are filled with four and five year old turkeys.  Two year olds, Lord bless 'em, love to gobble, strut, and eat #5's.  And for that, we love them too.

2. Have Stretches of Good Weather

Turkeys are just like a high octane offense in football, they need to get into a rhythm to really roll.  I'll give you two recent springs as an example.  2011 was the year that Mother Nature could not seem to make her mind up.  It would be sunny one day, windy the next, foggy the next, rinse and repeat. The hunting was not great, gobbling was off, and folks weren't killing that many turkeys.  2012, which was one of the best seasons I can remember, was the opposite, you would have five day stretches that would be gorgeous and turkeys would light it up; gobbling on up in the day and morning was strong too.  The hunting is always best the second day after a front, so you need several days of pretty weather to really get them going.

3. Have A Spring That Is Right On Time

I had someone remind me last year as I lamented over the common issue of gobblers with hens that "that is what you want in the first week."  And I suppose in some ways he was true; turkey breeding habits are not scheduled around when our turkey season opens and closes.  It's based on the weather and the hens, and you really want that five to seven day peak in breeding to be around the first week in the season.  The second week is really when you want gobblers to start splitting up.  Why?  Because you don't want the magic to end to soon.  Seriously!  In Alabama, we open on March 15, and in years when we have an early spring, our hunting is pitiful after April 10. You don't want a late spring either; who wants to feel like they are duck hunting on opening day!? Right on time will allow for an enjoyable-and prolonged-portion of the season in which turkeys act right.

4. Have Plenty of Dirt

I once heard a joke that a man that has a full key ring is more apt to steal.  Well in the turkey hunting world, the man who has so many gate keys his keychain can't fit in his pocket has a higher probability of killing more turkeys than the guy that is scrambling to find a place to hunt the evening before turkey season.  It's a cruel truth, but a truth nonetheless.

Having more dirt (and inherently more turkeys) to hunt basically tips the law of averages into a person’s favor.  There are other factors to consider in regards to the more dirt equals more dead turkeys line of thinking.  First, every property is a little different, and the turkeys on one property may be rolling while another's may be deathly quiet.  Staying in the midst of "hot turkeys" is crucial.  Secondly, it's a long season, and hunting a property to death (no pun intended) is a good way to shut those birds up or drive them off the property altogether.  Make obtaining the turkey hunting rights to more ground your mission.
Wild Turkey Report Staff
Wild Turkey Report is the internet's new destination for information on the sport of turkey hunting. Follow them on Facebook at and on Twitter @wildturkeyreprt!
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