Fresh AfieldMore posts

Wake-Up Call

Mar 21, 2011

When I stepped out of the shower one morning last week, my wife stuck her head out from under the covers and drowsily asked, “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?” I asked. I stopped toweling my head to hear her answer and instead was greeted by a trio of lusty gobblers calling from a white-oak grove on a ridge north of our house. That’s my idea of a wake-up call.

I’m sure many of you are ahead of me in recording the first gobbles of the year. It shouldn’t surprise me to hear gobblers sounding off during the third week of March, but it always makes my heart skip a beat.

Gobblers start serenading hens weeks before their womenfolk are ready for romance. The chorus reaches a crescendo as the nuptials approach, then drops off as hens quit playing hard to get. Gobblers get lonesome again when hens begin sitting on nests a week or two later.

Missouri’s spring turkey-hunting season is set to coincide with that second peak of gobbling activity. Unusually warm or cold weather can shift this peak earlier or later by a few days, but the biggest trigger for gobbling is day length. Once we get to mid-April, toms are going to gobble no matter what.

Setting the hunting season this way gives turkeys time to take care of the important business of making more turkeys. It also puts hunters in the field when toms are most receptive to calling and less likely to be distracted by real hens.

So, it’s time for me to put fresh chalk on my classic Ike Ashby walnut box call. I’ll sand my slate to coax the best possible tone out of the Tunable Peg call invented by my friend Kenny Long down in El Dorado Springs. I’ll sit on the deck mornings, trying to pinpoint the tree where the loudest bass sings, and I’ll plot strategies that Meleagris gallopavo will demolish with his infinite capriciousness.

I wonder if someone makes an alarm clock with a gobble tone…


Turkey Display
Turkey Display
Male turkey display/look for hen at Springfield Nature Center in Springfield, Mo.


I bet they have sold a million of them. I know what I'm asking Santa to bring me for Christmas!

There is an alarm clock that not only has a gobble, it starts with an owl call, goes to a gobble, and when you shut if off, it silences the gobbler with a shotgun!

Recent Posts

Discover Paddling, Discover Nature

Aug 17, 2016

Have you ever wished you could float silently through the woods, sneaking up on wildlife for a hunt, a birding expedition, or just a better photo? There is a way, and it affords you a lot more than just a closer look.

Viceroy caterpillar

A Cruddy Looking Success Story

Aug 15, 2016

With the Olympics wrapping up soon, sports enthusiasts and candid viewers alike have been plugged in and watching the next big event.  In nature's game of survival, there too are a variety of “headlines” that can amaze and inspire. 

New footbridges improve public access

Inquiring minds want to know…

Jul 25, 2016

Inquiring minds want to know what is going on with the renovations at Duck Creek this summer. Below is a description of items that have been accomplished and other plans that will move forward as the summer progresses.