Nine Need-to-Know Turkey Calls

Posted by admin On April - 16 - 2010

Everyone at some point in their lives hears the old “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” joke that ends with “Practice, practice, practice.” And, as we all have discovered at some point, practice is exactly what all of us needs in some facet or another.

Hunting is no different. Be it shooting a deer or dressing out a bear or reloading our muzzleloaders, practice makes all the difference in the world.

One aspect of hunting that requires practice as much as, if not more, than any other is calling and turkey calling in particular.

Unlike slapping your hand down on a squirrel call or simply using a buck grunt, turkey calling requires finesse and knowledge. Practice, as they say, makes perfect in these areas.

There are a large variety of turkey calls available on the market (check back to this blog soon for a review of several Quaker Boy calls) that range from box calls to diaphragms to slate calls and even a call made out of a turkey wing. No matter what style of call you decide to use, it’s important that you practice with it until you can make the correct sounds with ease.

The best way to figure out which sounds are realistic is to listen to live turkeys, recording of turkeys or go talk to the most experienced turkey hunters you know.

Beginner hunters may not be aware (though veterans sure are!) but turkeys have been shown through studies to make more than two dozen different sounds. Luckily, as a hunter, you only need to be able to recognize and duplicate about nine of them.

Tree yelp: You don’t need to know how to duplicate this call, but it’s going to be one you’ll likely hear while hunting. The tree yelp is a slow, soft series of three or four quick yelps that is made only at sunrise as the turkeys prepare to come down from the roost. This is used to make sure everything is fine and that no other turkeys see danger.

Yelp: The plain old yelp is the one most hunters can immediately associate with a turkey. They use this noise, made by both male and females all year round, to communicate with one another over large distances.

Cluck: This is a short, soft and quick non-musical noise made by turkeys and is used to get one another’s attention.

Putt: It’s quick, it’s sharp and it’s loud and it sounds a lot like the cluck but with more power.

Purr: This is a soft call that is used by turkeys when they are communicating with one another over short distances.

Cut: This is a short yelp that is typically made by a hen and often in a series that doesn’t have a set length.

Gobble: You better know what a gobble sounds like. If you don’t, then you likely don’t know what a turkey is. This is the noise that even kids make when asked what a turkey sounds like.

Cackle: This is the excited call of a hen and is quite often heard when the bird is coming down out of the trees after roosting all night. It is usually a string of 10 or more yelps which rise in pitch and then gradually soften.

Mating call: This is the call that will be your friend come the spring hunting season. It is three yelps rising in volume, followed by a pause, and then two soft clucks.

Watch videos, listen to recordings or go into the woods and find yourself some turkeys to listen to, but take the time to teach yourself these various calls made by turkeys. You won’t be sorry, as each one of these have a purpose when it comes to your spring turkey hunt.

Callers who know what they’re doing and what sounds to make can bring in a tom from a large distance away. All it takes is knowledge and, you guessed it, practice.

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