When gobbling action peaks, hunters have to be ready to step up to the plate with a big bat. So when are the predicted or statistically registered peak gobbling weeks during the statewide season? Then what do you do when you know gobblers are doing their parts?

First, get your hands on a copy of the annual Spittin'and Drummin' Mississippi Wild Turkey Report from the MDWFP, or check for the information online at mdwfp.com. This is published annually for the data collected from the previous season. Data available in the 2010 report reflects actual hunter survey information from the 2009 hunting season. The information helps plan your turkey hunting with general seasonal guidelines on recorded gobbling activity.

Peak gobbling weeks

Data is collected from five designated state Turkey Regions. Information is collected from each of these regions individually, and then also compiled for a statewide report. The 2009 data was recorded from 60 hunting clubs and more than 700 active turkey hunters across the state.

Statewide, the prime gobbling weeks were week four and five not counting the youth hunting week, although there was decent gobbling action also in weeks one, two and six. During the peak fifth week of the season, nearly 90 gobbles were heard per 10 hours of hunting.

Region One's peak weeks were four and seven, with week seven topping 80 gobbles per 10 hours hunted.

Region Two's main week was number four, with 100 gobbles per 10 hours registered.

Region Three saw the height of the gobbling action in week five at 115 gobbles for every 10 hours of hunting.

Week six was tops in Region Four at slightly over 120 gobbles for 10 hours of hunting.

Finally, Region Five's main gobbling action week was the first, but close behind was week five. These weeks averaged more than 80 gobbles per 10 hours hunted.

Reason for the season

Wild turkeys and prime gobblers can be taken at any time during the March 12-May 1 season. However, somewhat like the buck rut during the whitetail season, the peak gobbling week means most gobblers are really in the search for the hottest hen action of the season. This is the time to step up your game. But what does that mean exactly?

"As all experienced turkey hunters know, sometimes during peak gobbling periods, some toms will literally come running at virtually any crack of the woodland silence with a good hen call, either a simple yelp or cluck, or a combination sequence. While this does happen, certainly it is nothing to count on. Gobblers may be blasting their heads off, but this doesn't mean they will succumb to sloppy calling or hunting strategies," said turkey guide Mike Smith from Decatur. "My recommendation is to start slow, then pick up the pace if you have to. Once you go full bore, it is harder to back off, but sometimes that works, too.

"When I get into the woods at or before daybreak and there is no gobbling action going on, I go basic until I can strike a gobbler. Simple low cast yelps and clucks generally get the action cranked up.

"If not, then I move another hundred yards or so and try again. If it's windy, I cut that distance to 50 yards. When I reach the end of my property, I turn around and go back doing the same thing again.

"Now, on the reverse of that, if I step out of the truck and I hear one or more gobblers already issuing deep-throated calls, the game has to take on a different approach. The least little boo-boo can bust the hunt.

"When a gobbler is already active, he is saying he is ready for the company of a friendly hen, but friendly is the operative term.

"I recommend a low-end approach on a gobbling bird. For me, that means short strings of low yelps with a faint cluck thrown in. So long as the gobbler remains interested by reaction to my calling, I keep up the same routine, but I try not to overdo it. Over calling now can ruin the hunt quick. If the gobbler backs off, then I back off. Whatever you do, don't let your guard down. Always have your gun up and your eyes peeled on a gobbling tom."