Buckmasters Magazine

Turkey Vocalizations

Turkey Vocalizations

By Bob Humphrey

While wild turkeys are known to use at least 30 different calls, you need only master these few.

According to researchers, the wild turkey’s vocabulary consists of at least 30 distinct calls. Fortunately, you only need to be able to mimic a half-dozen or so to hunt them effectively. Probably the most familiar, and easiest to imitate is the "yelp," and there are several variations.

The "plain yelp" is a two-note kee-yawk sound. A typical rendition consists of repeating the two-note yelp five to seven times.

The "tree yelp" is a muted, one-note version, usually repeated only three or four times. This is a sound turkeys sometimes make while they’re stirring on the roost, before fly-down.

The second basic, single-note call is the "cluck." It is a short, sharp note that sounds like its name. Stringing together multiple, more excited clucks in rapid succession is called "cutting." This call may signal excitement or aggression.

The "cackle" is a combination of excited cutts and yelps, most often used as a turkey is flying down from the roost.

The third basic vocalization is the "purr," which also sounds like its name. It can be combined with a cluck, to produce the "cluck and purr." When used more aggressively, it becomes the "fighting purr" or "rattle," a sound made by fighting males that, like rattling in bucks, may attract curious male turkeys.

By imitating one or more of these calls, you can lure a spring gobbler into gun range — sometimes. It also helps if he’s in the mood, and more importantly, if you’re in the right place.

Read More Articles by Bob Humphrey:

How To Deal With Henned-Up Birds: Try these tricks the next time you face a not-so-lonesome tom.

Tactics for Hard-Hunted Turkeys: Increase your turkey hunting success with these tips for pressured birds.

How to Bag the Biggest Bird of Your Life: The older a turkey gets, the smarter he gets. Try these tips to bag the biggest bird of your life.

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Copyright 2016 by Buckmasters, Ltd.

Copyright 2015 by Buckmasters, Ltd