That was a weak, throaty gobble. Must just be a jake.
That gobble just about knocked me off my feet! It’s a longbeard, for sure.
Turkey hunt long enough and you’ll come to learn that neither of those presumptions are always correct. Fact is, a gobble is one of the most deceiving sounds on the planet.
In the turkey world, I’m a rookie. Yeah, I’ve hunted four subspecies of turkeys in several states, killed a bunch of birds, bla bla bla. I’m still a rookie. However, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time hunting with guys who’ve collected spurs for decades. When I’m in turkey camp, I make it a point to observe and absorb every possible bit of advice from every hunter I’m in camp with—especially the old-timers.
Turkey hunting veterans seem to agree that there’s no prototypical tom or jake gobble. A tom can sound like it just cracked out of an egg, while a jake can sound like a big boss.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a gobble and made an assumption about it being an old longbeard or a juvenile jake … and been proven wrong. Not only is it difficult to pinpoint where a gobble is coming from, but it can be even more challenging to know what age of bird is filling the air with spring thunder.
This brings another point to mind: Somehow, some way, when a gang of male turkeys get together, they have an uncanny ability to synchronize gobbles. A group of jakes or toms can gobble simultaneously at the drop of a dime. Combine the gobbles of two or more birds and your heart’s bound to bounce out of your throat.
If you hear multiple birds gobbling from the roost in the morning, go after the birds that “sound like toms.” If only one bird is gobbling and it sounds like a “jake gobble,” don’t dismiss it. The only way you can know for sure if a gobble is coming from a longbeard or nub-spurred youngster is to make visual contact. And always remember that spring turkeys are constantly meeting up to breed, fight and feed. Get in the company of a bird and its feathered friends, foes or breed-ready girlfriends are bound to show up for the party.
Crash that party, turkey hunters.
This “super jake” gobbled its head off like a tom before it bit the dust.