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This is the most I've ever hunted in a turkey season and I've heard less gobbling that I ever have. I've heard the same from other hunters as well. I've had multiple people throw their theories out there and these 2 have been the most common.

1. Too many hens around. Not many people fall turkey hunting any more.
2. Too many coyotes. Gobblers don't want to give their location.

I will say almost all the birds I've seen or called to had hens with. Called in a 1"bearded jake with a loan hen the first day. The coyote sightings have been crazy as well this spring. I've talked to quite a few guys who've called them in while turkey hunting this year.

Anyone else believe either of these? I know some will say its been no different than any other year.
 

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This is the most I've ever hunted in a turkey season and I've heard less gobbling that I ever have. I've heard the same from other hunters as well. I've had multiple people throw their theories out there and these 2 have been the most common.

1. Too many hens around. Not many people fall turkey hunting any more.
2. Too many coyotes. Gobblers don't want to give their location.

I will say almost all the birds I've seen or called to had hens with. Called in a 1"bearded jake with a loan hen the first day. The coyote sightings have been crazy as well this spring. I've talked to quite a few guys who've called them in while turkey hunting this year.

Anyone else believe either of these? I know some will say its been no different than any other year.
First and foremost, our season begins after peak gobbling is over. Having said that, there are years when the gobbling is really good and year when the woods are nearly silent.

Weather plays a role, specifically barometric pressure. When the pressure falls below 29.95 or so, gobbling pretty much shuts off. Studies have shown that turkeys do the most gobbling on high pressure, bluebird mornings. So if you have a spring that sees one low pressure system after another sweeping though, gobbling will likely be down.

I agree with too many hens in some areas. Gobblers have little reason to gobble when they are surrounded by hens every night. He’ll just sit in the tree until the ladies fly down under him and then pitch out to strut for them. I just saw 2 longbeards the other day at 2:00 in the afternoon and they had 6 hens with them.

I used to think that predators may suppress gobbling but I’m not so sure. Despite high numbers of coyotes and bobcats and such, on the right day, they will gobble their heads off with little worry about being located by predators.

So, in conclusion, timing of the season, weather (barometric pressure), and skewed gobbler/hen ratios are the main factors for less gobbling.
 

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"Weather plays a role, specifically barometric pressure. When the pressure rises below 29.95 or so, gobbling pretty much shuts off. Studies have shown that turkeys do the most gobbling on high pressure, bluebird mornings."

I'm guessing you mean When the pressure Falls below 29.95
There's no doubt turkeys gobble better on blue bird mornings but are you sure about the 29.95 barometric pressure as the cutoff point?
 

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Low populations of turkeys to start with. Very few 2 year old birds and I didn't see a single jake all season. I assume this is due to bad spring conditions. At this point it's going to take a few good years to bounce back.

Habitat to a degree. In general the habitat is pretty decent. But I hunt all big woods public land and a huge factor for deer, bear and turkeys last year was the acorn failure. I didn't find any acorns to speak of last fall. All through winter that kept more animals down in the valleys where the agriculture is.

Honestly I think predator numbers are down in my area. There were far more coyotes 10 years ago. A few cats around and decent amount of fishers. Some coons and stuff but I don't buy into the nest raiders being a huge factor. I spend a lot of time in the woods, a ton of time in the fall/winter, and just don't see the predator kill sites to back this up being a significant factor.

I also think the hen-gobbler ratio is way messed up. Second spring tag, almost no fall harvest of hens. All the gobblers are henned up with multiple hens. I don't see or hear any of those satellite birds running around. I hear more hens squawking at each other than I hear gobbles most days.
 

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"Weather plays a role, specifically barometric pressure. When the pressure rises below 29.95 or so, gobbling pretty much shuts off. Studies have shown that turkeys do the most gobbling on high pressure, bluebird mornings."

I'm guessing you mean When the pressure Falls below 29.95
There's no doubt turkeys gobble better on blue bird mornings but are you sure about the 29.95 barometric pressure as the cutoff point?
Yes, I meant falls below and corrected it.

It’s by no means a guarantee but studies have observations seem to show that anywhere around 29.95 and above seems to result in much more gobbling than anything below it. Every turkey is different and every situation is different but the rule of thumb pretty much is that in order to have that perfect morning of birds gobbling up and down the ridges and through the hollows, that pressure needs to be around or above 29.95.
 

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Our cabin is up in lycoming county. Did take a nice one first morning, but after that we heard very few gobbling. Maybe one or two gobbles at first light, when they are still on the roost. I have a few trail cameras out and there are definitely gobblers around, however they are usually with 1 or 2 hens. Surprisingly, there is a flock with 4 or 5 Jakes hanging around our valley but you never hear them gobbling. Birds are heading to clover plots in the morning, and seem to hang around the plots most of the mornings.
 

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Low numbers, and every time they do gobble something tries to eat them. Also genetics, some gobble more than others, and they are the ones that are more likely to get killed by a predator, that comes to a noisy bird.
 

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The last 4 years things have really seemed to start sliding downhill for me. Went from filling both tags to filling 1 tag since 2017. I can't remember how much I hunted in 2017. I know in 2018 and 2019 I spent nearly 50 mornings in the woods and varied tactics. A lot of days I was making several mile loops and hunting the entire morning searching for a bird. This year I spent around 15 days out.


Population is definitely WAY down...and I cover a lot of territory.

I'm somewhat convinced that there is something going on..like disease. I have nothing to back that up...but the turkey population, especially in Western PA where I've been stomping me entire life, is down significantly. Cold/wet springs, predators, pressure, etc don't help...but the turkey population thrived though all those factors for a long time.

I do agree...my predator sightings are definitely up. I never had encounters till the last couple years. 2 Fisher and a coyote have charged my setups the last 3 years.


There aren't loads of hens here. There aren't loads of turkeys.


Used to be able to drive around pretty much every morning and there were strutters in pretty much every field. You could stand on a good ridge and hear more gobblers than you could actually count. I remember even the crappy weather days we'd still hear gobbling.

Now, it's thrilling to just hear a gobble lol.


Hopefully things turn back around. I lost interest this season quick. Then through a chain of bad luck events, I got onto a vocal bird. That lasted a few hunts and he has since disappeared and interest has died again. I hunt on my days off but no reason to drag myself out there on work days.
 

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The gobbler population is definately down statewide. Spring Gobbler season is very popular and it only takes a bird to gobble and there are many hunters after him. In the early eighties hunter numbers were not as they are today as I remember. The guys that did hunt them were loners and kept a low profile. They learned from the old timers being the ones who hunted in the 60's and 70's. Today there are so many people out hunting that its hard to find a spot somewhere that there isn't a vehicle already there or has checked the spot before you.

Today the hunters are more advanced and it only takes a person to watch a few youtube videoes on calling and setup techniques and they have a decent chance at a gobbler. These hunters are killing them and when you roll in to hunt the area and hear nothing there all morning chances are you are hunting a dead bird.

Today we are allowed a second tag and yes I buy it and use it but I am now thinking we should back off on it for a few seasons. I know some will say the second tag doesn't hurt but the way I see it if I and the number other hunters kill that second bird those are missing from next breeding season to gobble for us to hear.

I don't see any changes from the PA Game Comm. on the second tag as they take in a good bit of money from it
 

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I won't argue that the number of turkeys is down but I will dispute that it's due to predation or an over harvest.Killing gobblers after the hens nest has no impact on the overall turkey population.Pa has 46055 sq miles of land and the second spring tag results in an additional harvest of about 4800 gobblers.That's an increased harvest rate of about 1 extra bird per 10 miles.That's insignificant.Some years they gobble more than others.I never saw a hunter or a vehicle parked in any of the places I hunt,yet this was one of the quietest years I've ever had.The only real good day we had was the first day.I haven't heard a bird in over two weeks and that's covering a lot of ground with fresh sign.
 

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I agree the population is down!!! In my area in the 80’s 90’s even early 00’s it was nothing to see a couple flocks in a day that were 40-60-80 plus birds. Now you never see that. Way way less fall turkey hunters now then in those days!!! So it’s not that they are over hunted by hunters. This coincides with a huge spike in predators during that time period. Especially the last 15-20 years. With that too I rarely here birds gobble in the evening this also happened during this time period.
Now you combine a few bad springs With the predators picking off more of the young then they use too. It will take much more time for the population to come back around! If it can at all.
I agree especially this year way more spring hunting pressure then ever! This too will shut birds up faster then normal even if they aren’t killing them.
I say less protection on predators and such, a bit better habitat management then we have. Will help. I don’t think that the second gobbler tag has that big of impact on the population. Way to many predators does!!!
 

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I’m not going to totally discount predators having an effect on gobbling but IMO I really don’t think it is a really big factor. Lots of other states have the predators we do and they seem to have hard gobbling birds every year. Ask anyone who travels to other states and they’ll tell you that the birds there seem to hammer just the same as always.

Where the big issue is with declines in turkey populations and lack of gobbling seems to be in the northeastern states. It just so happens that those states experience the worse spring weather of anywhere in the country. Cold, wet, damp, snowy, freezing temps, etc. I GUARANTEE that hatches have been affected for multiple years in a row now. Add to that how low pressure and miserable weather generally shuts down gobbling and its not really surprising to hear it this quiet.

I’ll also add that, in my experience, large bands of jakes harass toms with regularity and suppress gobbling. I experienced that just a few years ago when I hunter a 3 year old longbeard that would not gobble and acted very insubordinate. I called him up one evening to 25 yards but he was on my right side and I couldn’t get the gun moved on him. He snuck in quiet to my decoy spread of 1 jake and a feeder hen but stayed back away from them for a couple minutes, just looking. Suddenly he turned and flew up to roost right behind me. I heard something coming from the opposite direction the the went and suddenly there were 9 jakes that came storming in. They gobbled at the jake decoy, bumped it whacked it, pushed each other around for a bit before moving on down the ridge and roosting for the night. I waited till it was really dark out to sneak out of there and came back the next morning and set up on the opposite side of the tom from where the jakes were roosted. The jakes started choking on their gobbles at daybreak but the tom never made a peep. They finally hit the ground and started moving off in the other direction and then I started calling. This time I was smart enough to not put the jake deke out and just the hen. After my second call sequence I heard him drumming and wingtips dragging on the leaves. There he was at 20 yards, behind some sparse mountain laurel. When he hit a gap, I pulled the trigger. No doubt in my kind that those jakes had been harassing him for awhile and he was not about to gobble and have them come looking to whoop him again.

One other factor I seem to be witnessing, this year at least, is that there’s seems to be a gap in the age structure of gobblers. I’ve seen PILES of jakes (13 in one field last week) and the majority of gobblers that have been harvested around here have been at least 3. There just doesn’t seem to be many loudmouth 2 year olds around this season and so you have the jakes that mainly yelp and cluck and you have the older birds they have played this game before and know they they don’t need to scream their heads off looking for love. These are the birds that sit in the tree in the morning and wait for the hens to fly done under thin before pitching out of the tree to join them and strut. You’re LUCKY if you hear him gobble 1 or 2 times.

I just don’t think they predators or hunting pressure are big factors in lack of gobbling because we have had plenty of predators around this area for quite some time now and some years the turkeys blow up the woods with gobbling and others they just don’t talk. And besides that, contrary to popular belief, turkeys are DUMB. They can be shot at one day and be called right back in the next. I’m sure they it a coyote or fox rushes them one day, they’ve forgotten about it by the next...
 

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Wish I had more of those “dumb” turkeys in my area that you could miss one day and call in the next 😉
 

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My thoughts are the lack of gobbling is mainly due to a clear lack of Jake's and 2 year olds on the landscape. Who doesn't love a hard gobbling 2 year old that comes in screaming his head off, letting every other tom know where he is. The lack of younger birds reduced competition for those remaining. I got to thinking this morning on another silent morning and realized how I've been hunting what I believe to be some of the same groups of gobblers using the same ridges now for at least 3 seasons. So that makes these birds 4+ years old and they know all the games. You know they are there you just have to be there when they finally feel like talking, then you better hope you don't mess it up because it could be the end of the season before you hear them again. Sitting around blind calling to quiet woods isn't my idea of turkey hunting even though many are successful using those tactics.
 

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Less birds equals less gobbling. I think it’s as simple as that. Why there are less turkey, hens and gobblers, is what we should be trying to figure out.
 

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I chuckle every time I hear someone mention "gobbler/hen ratio" out of wack..these aren't deer and there is a reason why the PGC is constantly adjusting the FALL season....they are NOT adjusting to get the "ratio" in check..it's for the overall numbers...and blaming PA 2 gobbler tags is even funnier..



...back around 1990 when I started to hunt NY..and mid 90's when I added WV and MD..they ALL had 2 gobbler tags..and before someone says..but this is PA=the hunter numbers are greater blahblahblah.....never hunted these states because I saw more hunters out if state than in..AND..I hope ya'll are sitting down.... WV allowed RIFLES :tango_face_surprise


I've probably had every gobbler/hen situation happen to me over the 41 years in the turkey woods(my dad had me tag along in the late 70's)....thinking about it..I even have his first edition PA Turkey talk..and first PA NWTF patch.

..I love hearing them gobble as much as anyone and know just because I don't hear them doesn't mean they aren't there.
 

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I chuckle every time I hear someone mention "gobbler/hen ratio" out of wack..these aren't deer and there is a reason why the PGC is constantly adjusting the FALL season....they are NOT adjusting to get the "ratio" in check..it's for the overall numbers...and blaming PA 2 gobbler tags is even funnier..



...back around 1990 when I started to hunt NY..and mid 90's when I added WV and MD..they ALL had 2 gobbler tags..and before someone says..but this is PA=the hunter numbers are greater blahblahblah.....never hunted these states because I saw more hunters out if state than in..AND..I hope ya'll are sitting down.... WV allowed RIFLES



I've probably had every gobbler/hen situation happen to me over the 41 years in the turkey woods(my dad had me tag along in the late 70's)....thinking about it..I even have his first edition PA Turkey talk..and first PA NWTF patch.

..I love hearing them gobble as much as anyone and know just because I don't hear them doesn't mean they aren't there.
I’m not talking about gobbler/hen ratios from a biological standpoint, I’m talking about it being a reason for lack of gobbling.

A gobbler gobbles to attract hens to him, correct? Well, if he already has a whole harem of hens surrounding him everyday, he has little reason to gobble. And if pretty much all the gobblers in your areas have at least a few hens with them that they can strut for all day, they have little reason to gobble.

Calling a turkey in goes against nature. The hen (you) are supposed to come to him and they is why he gobbles. But when competition for hens is fierce, he comes in to find you before any other gobblers can. And I don’t care if you are the best turkey caller in the world, if a gobbler has hens with him that he is strutting for, you’re not going to pull him away from them. Best you can do is try to tick off one of the hens and bring her to you with the gobbler in tow.

The same thing has happened in Colorado where we hunt every year. It’s a pretty rigged and remote area and very few people are willing to take a cow back in there. The result is a very skewed bull/cow ratio and a steep decline in bugling in September. Same as turkeys, there are so many cows around that literally every branch antlered bull can gather up a small harem of them and be content. There is little competition and thus little bugling because there aren’t multiple bulls jockeying for a limited number of cows.

The bottom line is that one of the reasons for a lack of gobbling could very well be because of gobblers being covered up with hens. They simply do not need to gobble when they have what they are looking for all around them.
 
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