We’ve become accustomed to expecting many major plant and animal events to be prompted by photoperiod.
Plants flower and animals mate based on increasing or decreasing day length, it seems. But what about March 2012?
March was so atypical that events were weeks ahead of a normal schedule and sequence of events. Will this early spring have any impact on gobbling peaks, turkey responses to calling, egg laying, hatching, nesting success, and poult survival?
Some experienced hunters insist that nesting is ahead of schedule and that could throw a wrench at the second gobbling peak. Hunters might anticipate that the earlier hunting periods will provide better chances for attracting gobblers to decoys and calling.
Similarly, the gobblers’ testosterone levels and desire to mate will have worn off by the time Period E and F roll around. Sound familiar?
These changes, if they materialize, could be good for some hunters and gut wrenching for other hunters.
There are as many hypotheses about calling to uninterested gobblers as there are hunting periods. But one thing is sure; if the birds are not responding to what you’re throwing at them, if you’ve pushed their off button (if it was ever on in the first place), it’s time for plan B, C, or D.
Some of the best turkey callers, as judged by calling contests and hunting successes, suggest that tossing a few gobbler yelps at birds in these touchy situations is worth a try.
While most of us can’t tell the difference, let alone know how to make a gobbler yelp, it’s worth slowing down the yelp calling sequence and putting more emphasis on the last syllable of a yelp call.
In addition, gobbler yelps tend to be a series of 2-3 yelps rather than five or more, as we commonly hear hens make. Try slowing down, putting more space between the syllables, emphasizing the last syllable, and not going on forever with the sequence.
If you can, run a wing bone call.
Patience may be required, too, lots of it during the calling and during the hunt.
Regardless of how easy or difficult this year’s hunts turn out, green-up is earlier. It will be easier to move around in the woods, and there are plenty of over-the-counter permits later periods in some zones.
If earlier hunts are not successful, try a later one with the same or varied techniques.
This year could be a learning experience and probably one we will encounter more and more in future years.