Strut Report: Gobbling Picking up in the Deep South

Strut Report: Gobbling Picking up in the Deep South

Posted 2023-04-02T10:59:00Z

The gobblers are turning it on in Mississippi and Georgia, Alabama hunters expect improvement

We're one week later into turkey season and the gobbling action in Mississippi and Georgia is really heating up, while Alabama hunters are encountering quieter birds.

Realtree's Tyler Jordan hunted Mississippi last weekend and said the gobblers were on fire.

The birds acted right the first couple of days we were there and we had some great hunts. I've talked to my buddies the last couple of days and the activity seems to be the same in the state since we have left, he said.

Alabama's season opened March 25 and Jordan said his experience there has been a different story because the birds are henned up and not talking much at all.

I believe it is at least another week or two away from busting wide-open here. They haven't gobbled much on the roost and most of the calling has been trying to convince the hen to come our way instead of the gobbler in hopes he'll follow her. We are here through tomorrow and then on to Georgia this weekend, he said.

Avid turkey hunter and wildlife photographer Tes Jolly has been photographing the birds on her farm in East Central Alabama and says gobbling on the roost has diminished since the season opened on March 25.

Some birds have likely been tagged. We're seeing single hens around the farm as nest establishment peaks in our area. Gobblers have been tagging along behind single hens in the mornings, she said.

Tyler Jordan believes Alabama's turkey woods will heat up in another week or so. Image by Bruce Macqueen

Jolly says the gobbling has been good after fly down on several mornings.

There are probably some lonely gobblers trying to summon hens who are more intent on scouting good nesting cover near future brooding habitat. I observed a strutter doing just that this morning, tagging behind a hen and gobbling when she was out of sight.

She said last Friday morning the woods were silent at first light, when gobbling usually starts.

I heard one loud squawk, much like a hen chicken. After that there was not a peep from any turkeys within hearing range. A few minutes passed when I spotted a large coyote crossing a ridge top where the turkeys were roosted. He was gone before I could shoot. No birds flew down until well after daylight and they exited the food plot quickly.

Hunt Club and Spring Thunder Host Phillip Culpepper said he had a blast hunting with some youngsters during Georgia's youth weekend, which was held March 25-26.

We got three birds down with three different kids in all different setups. We called one in classic style in the afternoon. We waited out one for two hours in a field edge before taking him, and finally we crawled in on a henned-up bird and got it done. Each day is getting better. Georgia's opening weekend began April 1 on private lands and will open Saturday, April 8 on public lands. It should be on fire!

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South Carolina's season has been open for two out of four game zones for almost two weeks and opened for the balance of the state on April 1. Charles Ruth, certified wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, says the harvest is tracking slightly ahead of where it was this time last year for the state.

One interesting statistic is the jake harvest is extremely low at about 4.5 percent of the total harvest. This was expected due to the poor reproduction we experienced last spring/summer as there are simply not many jakes on the landscape, Ruth said.

Hunters in Texas and Louisiana's are enjoying opening week of turkey season and will hopefully be sending in reports of fired-up gobblers and bagged birds.

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