The 20 Best Photos You'll Ever See of the Wild Turkey Breeding Season

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Wild Turkey Photos from Pecking Order to Poults

Winter Turkeys

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1 | Winter Turkeys

As winter wanes, hen and gobbler flocks are together.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Jake Flocks

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2 | Jake Flocks

Jake “gangs” battle for dominance within their ranks.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

Bonus Read: When You Should Shoot a Jake 

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Strutting Jakes

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3 | Strutting Jakes

Jakes are enthusiastic strutters, instinctively preparing for their future move up in the hierarchy.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Gobbler Fights

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4 | Gobbler Fights

Serious gobbler fights can be brutal, noisy affairs of blood-letting spur jabs and wing flogging.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Locked Beaks

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5 | Locked Beaks

Gobblers often lock beaks in a breast-to-breast shoving match in an effort to upend their rival.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Vanquished Toms

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6 | Vanquished Toms

Vanquished toms, or “lieutenants,” may accompany the dominant gobbler throughout the breeding season.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Hen Flocks

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7 | Hen Flocks

Hen flocks battle to establish a boss hen, the spring turkey hunter’s nemesis.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Hen Fights

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8 | Hen Fights

Hen fights within a spring flock trigger a loud and raucous chorus of wing flapping, fighting purrs, cutts, clucks and excited gobbles.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Sound Off

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9 | Sound Off

Gobblers sound off after fly-down signaling the hens to their position.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

 

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Dominant Hen

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10 | Dominant Hen

The dominant hen leads the flock. Calling gobblers away from their hens is the supreme test for a turkey hunter.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

 

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Loafing

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11 | Loafing

Turkeys spend a lot of time loafing, preening and dusting between feeding periods.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

 

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The Enemy

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12 | The Enemy

The hen is the turkey hunter’s enemy. Patience and perseverance often pays off during the egg-laying and incubating period when gobblers are alone.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

 

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Losing Hens

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13 | Losing Hens

A lone dominant gobbler may lose his hen flock to an aggressive jake group.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

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Eager Jakes

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14 | Eager Jakes

Jakes typically respond eagerly to hen calls, a confidence builder for novice callers.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

 

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Intense Response

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15 | Intense Response

A single lifelike hen decoy setup can trigger an intense response from a flock’s dominant hen, helping to draw in a gobbler.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Breeding

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16 | Breeding

A hen squats to receive the gobbler’s advances prior to breeding.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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A Gobbler Treads

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17 | A Gobbler Treads

The gobbler treads the hen’s back prior to mating. This may last a few moments to several minutes.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Turkey Eggs

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18 | Turkey Eggs

This clutch of future wild turkeys, and the hen sitting on these eggs, face a precarious time during incubation and several weeks after hatching. Primarily, predators, weather and turkey-habitat management efforts will define success.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Turkey Poults

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19 | Turkey Poults

Poult-rearing success is a good measure of an effective, year-round wild turkey management plan.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

 

 

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No Sweeter Sound

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20 | No Sweeter Sound

Nature offers no sweeter sound to a turkey hunter’s ear than a thunderous gobble announcing a new spring morning.

(Tes Randle Jolly photo)

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Editor's note: This evergreen gallery post was first published March 6, 2018.

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Action is nonstop in the turkey woods from late winter through early summer. Gobbler and hen flocks converge to settle their respective pecking orders, defend territories, court, breed, nest and just be turkeys.

Learn every phase of the wild turkey’s spring breeding season on your hunting grounds. Use good ol’ woodsmanship skills to scout and observe, plus top quality gear, to tip the odds of tagging a boss gobbler.

Check out this photo gallery covering the wild turkey breeding season, from pecking order to poults.