Maybe it was the erratic weather, or perhaps, Mississippi's gobblers just weren't in a talking mood during the first two weeks of the spring turkey season.

But, whatever the reason for the slow start for hunters, it appears to have ended.

"Every report I've received indicate that it all started changing after that last cold front and the gobblers started getting vocal," said Adam Butler, the turkey program biologist for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. "It sounds like they really opened up and it broke open late last week.

"We had a late start to spring, at least when compared to recent seasons, and that probably has a lot to do with it. However, we've still got plenty of time left in the season, more than enough time for it to be a good one."

Hunters throughout the state reported increased gobbling over the past five days, including a very vocal weekend.

Kenny Latham of Ludlow, a retired conservation officer and boating safety expert for the MDWFP, was sure happy to see the turnaround.

"I killed my first one of the season Saturday morning (March 30) and it was a direct result of the birds just gobbling better," he said. "I had three birds gobbling like crazy on the roost. They were gobbling at each other and this went on for a long time and gave me a chance to set up about 125 yards from the one I thought was dominant.

"Once I sat down, I tree yelped one time and he cut me off immediately so I knew he knew where I was. I didn't call again until I knew he had flown down and was on the ground. I yelped to him with my normal yelp and he hammered right down about 100 yards away so I knew he was coming. Had he not been that vocal I would have been messed up, because it told me he was coming up a little logging trail to my left and I was able to turn."

The bird, a 3-year-old with spurs measuring just over an inch and weighing 20 pounds, walked straight to Latham and died.

"I first heard him gobble at 6:15 in the tree and he was dead at 6:45," the hunter said. "The classic hunt, and I was happy to get my first bird this year that way. The other two that had been gobbling, they came in too and one flew out over my head and the other flew up in a tree. When it settles back down I got two more I know I can hunt."

Latham said a better sign of how slow the season started but how it will open up is that his brother, Richard Latham, got his first one the day before.

"Richard, he's about as good a turkey hunter as there is in Mississippi, no doubt about it, and he didn't get his first this year until Friday," Kenny Latham said. "He gets one on opening day every year, and it took him two weeks this year. That's a bad sign. But he got his Friday, I got mine Saturday and we still have the month of April.

"It's not like people haven't been killing any turkeys. I've heard of a few being killed around Central Mississippi, including over at Bienville National Forest. I know of one at Bienville that had 1½-inch spurs. That's pretty good for public lands. But overall, I'm not hearing about that many turkeys being killed, not compared to normal years."

The increased gobbling didn't always lead to success, if success is based on killing a turkey. It was a welcome change just the same.

"Man, we had birds gobbling all around us," said Keith Partridge of Terry, who hunted with his son Wes near Port Gibson. "We had one gobbler Friday morning that if he gobbled once, he gobbled 200 times. We had him hot for over two hours, but he drew a line about 65 or 70 yards out from us and that was where he stopped.

"We watched him at full strut with that big ol' fan displayed for us for what I know was at least an hour and a half. It was disappointing that he hung up, but I don't know about you but I call that a successful entertaining morning. Just getting them to gobble again was great."

Partridge said the gobbling continued all weekend, but an abundance of hens still in the picture stymied their efforts. A former guide, Partridge used the weekend as an educational opportunity for his son.

"I told him not to worry, that it wouldn't be long before the hens will start going to nest, and as each one does, our odds will improve," Partridge said. "That's always the case and this year it is especially true."

Hunting in Leake County in Central Mississippi, Craig Hunt said he had one bird gobble over 300 times Saturday morning.

"He wouldn't shut up," Hunt said. "Never did. He started at sunrise on the roost and he walked away gobbling when he left. He was on a ridge and that's where he stayed ... with his hens.

"That's alright, I know where he lives and when those hens start leaving, I'll get him."

Mississippi's season ends May 1.