The national meteorologists are harmonizing and even the woodchuck concurred, that the winter of 2019-2020 was not only a mild one, but appears to be creating an early spring.
If the weather patterns of the recent mild winter hold true to form through the spring, snow and cold will be gone earlier than usual.
And if the expert’s prognostications run true, May-like temperatures in April are going to make the turkey woods "green-up" quickly here in the Northeast.
And that is not necessarily good for spring gobbler hunters.
Sure, we all look forward to those warm spring hunts in May, cool dawns and maybe with a frost and quickly spreading sunshine and warmth by midday.
But early springs in the past have shown us that the toms tend to hook up with their gal-friends weeks ahead of normal.
And by the time hunting season opens May 1, here in New York state, the gobbler's breeding cycle has actually progressed a lot further along than usual.
Spring gobbler season is timed by state game agencies to hit at the end of the first main breeding cycle of the wild turkey. That way, most of the hens will have been bred and on their nests by the time the season rolls around.
And the theory in practice has worked well for the most part.
Similarly, southern states start turkey hunting earlier; Florida in March, Virginia and Maryland in mid-April, and New York, May 1 as springtime and the gobble of the wild turkey moves northward.
But one can’t help but wonder if these same game agencies that are charged with regulating the wild turkey hunting seasons won’t soon shift the dates, depending on latitude, to correspond with the changing climate.
Here, hunters have to be out of the woods and quit hunting by noon for the first two weeks of the New York season to allow the nesting hens to incubate their clutches of eggs undisturbed by human intrusion.
But this could be a non-issue this spring if most of the hens are setting weeks ahead of time.
In what we used to call a normal year, as May progresses, toms typically become more difficult to call in, especially at the tail-end of their breeding season.
Traditionally, if hunters had not been successful early, as the days of May ticked on towards June, filling a gobbler tag became increasingly problematical.
Difficult, but not impossible.
Turkey behavior is usually consistent and runs through the same basic patterns every year, certainly to a degree, weather-dependent.
But turkeys do not go by our calendars.
Last year, April and May here were extremely wet, inundating fields making it impossible for grasshoppers and early insects to hatch. Bugs are necessary food for turkey poults as they all hatch together.
Many of the earliest turkey clutches failed last spring.
But June warmed up.
Hens were bred and nested again, as we noticed tiny turkey poults in mid-summer, the size of quail in late July and no larger than pigeons by August.
Could they survive a harsh winter?
Turkeys are resilient and certainly lucky because a mild fall has in 2019 has been followed by this record-setting mild winter.
Throughout most of the year, from early summer through the fall and winter, gobblers will hang together in a brotherhood. They rarely interact with hens and poults (youngsters) unless at a preferred food source such as a heavy crop of mast in a beech grove or oak stand in the fall, or a freshly "manured" field in late winter. And sometimes hens and toms will roost near each other.
Toms, like mature buck whitetails, are true bachelors, having nothing to do with rearing the young.
But as spring arrives, this all-male behavior changes.
Gobblers begin reinforcing their pecking order and shake the leafless woodlands with those raucous gobbles we so anticipate and seek.
The tom’s calls work on two levels. One, they challenge each other with vocal expressions of territoriality and two, the sound brings in the gals.
But if the spring season is accelerated by a mild early spring as it appears set to happen this year, the toms will break up their bachelor groups quicker than usual and scatter, each tom or two carving out their preferred hillsides and woodlots.
And if this year continues to warm early, then by the time the actual hunting season arrives a higher percentage of hens will already have been bred and the toms will not be as excited and callable as we would like or expect.
Hoping for a cold March and April might seem harsh to many, but if it slows down the spring, it will bode well for gobbler hunters by structuring the wild turkey breeding season and hunting season to fall in line with our old normality.
Oak Duke writes a weekly column appearing on the Outdoors page.