Wild turkey calling is a detailed technique that takes time and effort to learn. Knowing the basics of wild turkey is crucial to being able to use different calls successfully. Wild turkeys make at least eight different vocalizations, and several other subtypes of calls that are specific for different seasons, warnings, mating habits, and other turkey behaviors. The major types of vocalizations are: “clucks”, “cutts”, “cackles”, “gobbles”, “kee-kees”, “putts”, “purrs”, and “yelps.”
There are several different types of turkey calls that a hunter can use for each type of vocalization. It is important for a wild turkey hunter to know how to perform each type of call because wild turkeys may use and respond to different calls randomly.
Types of Turkey Calls
The main types of calls are as follows:
- Turkey Box Calls – these are calls that make sounds with a lid sliding on a box surface.
- Turkey Friction Calls – calls are made with a peg striking across a round surface.
- Mouth Calls – these make calls with a reed placed in the hunter’s mouth and require substantial practice.
- Push/Pull Calls – the easiest type of call to use, these work by pushing or pulling a button.
- Tube Calls – these can make almost any type of turkey call and are popular among hunters.
- Locator Calls – these are designed to give away the location of the turkey by invoking a response.
- Wingbone Calls – these used to be made from turkey wingbones and make yelping calls with suction.
With the so many types of calls to choose from, you may wonder what the best choice is for calling. The truth is that the best choice comes down to personal preference, as there is no one type of call that is proven to work substantially better than the rest. Each hunter can find success with the call that he or she feels the most comfortable with.
How to Call Wild Turkeys
For successful turkey calling, it is recommended that you use multiple calls. The first step would be to start with a locator call. It doesn’t do you any good to start calling without knowing a turkey is near enough to hear you. Locator calls are made to simulate loud noises or other animals that gobblers will respond to such as owls or crows. Use your locator call and keep the number of calls small and short. Then listen for a response and set up your blind. Once you feel that you have found a proper location with turkeys in your range, then it’s time to use your vocalization calls.
You should start off using your vocalization calls more quietly and then gradually increase volume. A soft “cluck”, “yelp”, or “purr” are good initial calls to use. This way you won’t scare off any nearby turkeys that you can’t see with a loud call. If you hear responses from a gobbler you have to be patient as many times they won’t close in on you right away. Wait at least 5 to 10 minutes before responding to a gobbler’s call. Be sure to keep trying to call a slow moving gobbler for at least an hour before you give up.
If you hear hens, you should respond to their calls with the same number of calls and the same vocalization. For instance, if you hear a hen cluck 5 times, you should respond with 5 clucks. This will encourage her to come towards your location. This will also help to lure gobblers that are in the vicinity of the hen.
Although there are several techniques for turkey calling, there is no secret to luring turkeys in with a specific set of calls. Each turkey will respond to your calls in its own unique way. Turkey calling is an art that takes time and experience to master, and although knowing how to use different types of vocalizations is very important, your experience will help you know what types of calls draw turkeys the best.