calling strategies

Ask questions of and offer advice to fellow turkey hunters
Posts: 15
Joined: March 19th, 2011, 4:50 pm

calling strategies

Postby yelp_wanted » March 19th, 2011, 5:16 pm

Hey everyone! I've been reading the forum for a while now and decided to make my first post!

This is going to be my first year calling my own birds and only my second season. I've been practicing my calls for almost a year now. I'm no where close to winning a calling contest, but I'm comfortable enough with my mouth calls and pots. This is going to be some broad questions, but here it goes. What ques do you guys use when you call a turkey? I know how to morning yelp, but when do I start yelping and more importantly when do I go to a fly-down cackle/plain yelping? I know tree yelps are done by hens before they leave the roost, but I'm worried about when to start and when to change. Also, if a get a gobble off a tree yelp, do I stop for a little while and do a fly-down or do I entice him with some more soft yelps before fly down?

Here's another scenario. Let's say I know I've got a gobbler's attention. How much clucking and yelping do I do? If I yelp to a gobbler and he gobbles back do I stop calling as soon as I hear him hammer it? If so, how much time before I yelp again? I've heard if a gobbler is henned up, you may be able to agitate the hen by responding to her yelps and cackles. Has anyone had success with this?

How do you guys handle random calling? Not every sound is going to get a response, and some days toms are going to be more active when others. What is a good calling strategy when things are slow?

I guess what I'm really hoping to get out of this post is an idea of strategies you guys take over the course of a conversation with a gobbler? I've learned some different calls, I know what they sound like, and I know turkeys make certain sounds at certain points of the day, but I don't know when to talk and when to shut up. I don't know when to be aggressive and when to sit tight. I'm hoping to get a lot of points-of-view on this so any tips would be much appreciated. They don't necessarily have to answer the questions above.

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted to be as descriptive as possible to give you guys an idea of what I'm asking here.

Thanks Guys and lay it to 'em this spring!


User avatar
Posts: 968
Joined: March 20th, 2009, 3:49 am

RE: calling strategies

Postby eggshell » March 20th, 2011, 2:56 am

Ok Yelp I'll try to give you some help and opinion.

when to start tree yelping - If it's light enough your hearing any song birds it's time to tree call. If you know a gobbler is near then you don't need to do it a lot. Typically a hen will just make a few notes and then quit or repeat them just before fly down. He knows your there at the first call. The more you call while he's in the tree the more likely he is to sit and wait on you to come to him...less is more here.

How much clucking and yelping do I do? If I yelp to a gobbler and he gobbles back do I stop calling as soon as I hear him hammer it?

Soon as your sure he's on the ground you can do a fly down cackle or sharp series of yelps. If he hammers right back throw him a quick response of a sharp cluck or two and a few mid range yelps. Then wait to see if he's moving. If he starts your way keep the calling soft and sparse. Make him hunt you. He already knows within feet of where your at. Never call when he's close enough to see you or he may hang up!! Only call in close to steer him or try and pull him back if he goes past you. When you ratchet up calling is when he's slow to move. However each gobbler's temperament is different. If he's gobbling his head off he'll like more calling, so you can hammer him a little more.It's a case by case approach. In the event of hens call hard to them and mix in some soft comfort calls, if your challenging then be loud and nasty. You'll learn these techniques best by getting out early season when flocks are busting and listening, but leave your calls at home!

For random calling I start out soft and go up the scale.

That's some short basic answers, hope it helps. There is no replacement for experience however.

User avatar
Posts: 352
Joined: March 30th, 2009, 7:55 am
Location: Daniel Boone National Forest Laurel County,Ky

RE: calling strategies

Postby SpitnDrum » March 20th, 2011, 2:58 am

First off welcome to the forum.I'll take a stab at your question.I'm by far no master at calling turkeys in but I have killed my fair share.No one person calls the same or uses the same tactics at calling turkeys.Everyone in my belief has a different style for the same set of rules at calling Toms.Early in Kys spring season I like to roost the Tom the evening before I plan on killing him.The next morning I'll go in just as early as possible and get in tight to his tree 50 to 75 yrds and camo up solid.I just want that ole tom to know there is a hen around him so I'll give a few soft tree clucks and tree yelps in one or two sequences maybe using 5 to 6 note sequences and shut up.I don't like to overcall while they are on the limb.I have found overcalling to them while on roost prolongs there stay on the limb.At 50 to 75 yrds from the tom you should be able to see him on the limb.If you can see him he can see you.So when you make your calls he is looking for the hen.I dont always flydown cackle wich brings up the point some folks disagree with in my style.When the Tom pitches off the limb sometimes he will be in your lap,sometimes he will take the other direction.When he hits the ground {out of my sight) I will then give a flydown cackle and ground clucks.I don't follow up with yelps untill I see what the Tom is doing.I have had em run straight to the gun like this I have also had keep going wich is not a horrible thing.B/C that tom knows there was a hen there.When he moves off I reposition and start taking his (temperature).I'll start with soft finesse calls.The kind of calls in your mind that says (hey turkey I'm over here wanting some company But you come to me)Be a stubborn hen.If he still wants to be stubborn and I know he is not on his way in I'll reposition again.Once I get positioned I'll become the boss hen.I'll start with a sequence of clucks and yelps with a hard breaking tone.If he cuts me off I'll stop calling and listen.You'll be able to notice if he is coming closer alot of times he will continue to gobble if he's heating up.When he stops gobbling I'll give him some more calling.I don't want to hang him up so I'm not calling constantly I want that tom to know I'm demanding him to me.A subtle but demanding conversation with extended pauses.I could write a book on my stratagies learned from years of watching Toms walk the other way(sometimes very fast[:D])I tried to just give a little insight at how I work a tom.Like said above every one has different tactics for the same rules.I'm interested in seeing everyone elses stratagies as well.
Kentucky Briar Jumper
Waste not your shot on the feathers!!

A Kitchen-Dog is never a good rabbit HUNTER!


User avatar
Fan Club
Posts: 1387
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 5:24 am
Location: Calhoun County, Michigan

RE: calling strategies

Postby Fan Club » March 20th, 2011, 4:28 am

Welcome to the forum Daniel, glad you decided to join us! Some great folks and experience here.

I can't add much to my what my two compadres have posted, they've covered most of the bases. In general, If the gobbler is moving toward you, he's already interested and knows where you are. More calling at this point (just to hear him gobble) will only cause problems as he should be seeing a hen at a certain point. Let him hunt you as was noted.

Good hunting!

"The joy of living is his, who has the heart to demand it." Teddy Roosevelt

User avatar
Posts: 938
Joined: April 8th, 2008, 12:47 pm

RE: calling strategies

Postby Gobblerman » March 20th, 2011, 6:19 am

Let me add my welcome to you, as well, Daniel.  Hope you enjoy yourself here.  There are some fine folks from all over the country that hang out around this place.
I agree, you have already received excellent advice in the previous posts.  The point made about not over-calling to birds on the roost should be emphasized. 
There are some general strategies already outlined that can be effective, but remember the point about each gobbler you encounter being unique in his "personality" and that each encounter with a gobbler almost always presents a specific set of circumstances and conditions that will influence the outcome.  A key ingredient to a successful hunt is learning how to figure out a gobblers personality and those circumstances that exist without making the turkeys involved suspicious and/or running them off.
Sometimes gobblers are easy to figure out, and sometimes they are impossible.  Over the years, each of us will run into our share of both. 
One other key component I have found over the years is finding the "sound" that gobblers are wanting to hear.  One thing I have seen over my years of gobbler chasing is the "phenomenon" of gobblers being very receptive to a certain tone, volume, and sometimes quantity, of the turkey calling they hear.  What do I mean by that?  Well, basically, I mean that, for some reason, if you can find just the right pitch and rasp in your calling, and figure out how much calling the birds like and how loud those calls should be, that will often turn the trick with a gobbler.
Not only that, but that successful combination with one gobbler will often be what a lot more of the gobblers in a particular area are looking for, as well.  If you find something that works, stick with it.  It will often work again,...and again. 
An interesting thing about finding the "sound" is that it is sometimes has nothing to do with making quality, or classic, turkey noises.  Sometimes it does, but not necessarily.  I can't tell you how many times I have seen one hunter have consistent success calling in gobblers while others in his hunting group were struggling with calling in birds, even when that hunter was not necessarily considered to be a great turkey human standards.  Keep experimenting with your calling until you find what the gobblers are lookng for.

User avatar
Posts: 782
Joined: February 4th, 2011, 3:57 am
Location: Central Virginia

RE: calling strategies

Postby ylpnfol » March 20th, 2011, 7:56 am

welcome to the forum.....lots of good info here, as you can see.....can't add anything other than not overcalling [ this ain't TV ], i hunt small tracts of land, so there is no running and gunning, mostly sitting and hoping.....after the birds go silent and you know they are in the area, i'll let out a series every 20-30 mins., mix it up a bit, yelps, next time cutts, then a fight, just be as still as you can, and listen closely as the ole boy may come in silently.....i hunt easterns in va., they stay in the same general area during breeding season, your post doesn't say where you hunt, so this may not apply..... regardless, GOOD LUCK this spring

You never know, unless you go

User avatar
Posts: 693
Joined: January 23rd, 2011, 8:11 am
Location: Lake Placid, New York

RE: calling strategies

Postby retranger » March 20th, 2011, 8:03 am

Lots of good advice Dan. I don't disagree with any of it. everything they have said has happen to some one at one time or another. I would stress that you not worry about winning a calling contest. I have heard hens talk that I didn't think sounded like a turkey. Like it was said in other post ,,,,,,,, what works for one may not work for another,,,,, what worked today probably won't work tomorrow. there are no absolutes. Being out in the field and listening to the birds is about the best. When you encounter a hen listen to what she has to say. Good luck.
What works for me may not work for you and what works today may not work tomorrow
Doug <- <- ~<- <- <- ~ <-

User avatar
Posts: 933
Joined: April 15th, 2008, 12:33 pm

RE: calling strategies

Postby grizzly » March 20th, 2011, 9:16 am

welcome dan to the forum really can't add to the really great advice you all ready got other then the more time you put into hunting you will learn when to call and how much how loud by the toms reaction . good luck to you this season [:)] wayne

Posts: 80
Joined: August 29th, 2009, 3:38 pm

RE: calling strategies

Postby FireFly908 » March 20th, 2011, 9:17 am

This is starting my third season turkey hunting. I have taken two jakes and 1 big boy. Since every situation is different, I realize how all of this information can be confusing and a lot of details forgotton in individual situations.
The thing that I did to help me the most is to practice a lot on different types of calls and different calls. Then while in the field, I would just try different things until I would get a response and then just play around with what I did to get that response. Then, some of the previous advice would come back and you will realize what you just did makes sense and you will remember it. Don't get too hung up on "doing it right". Just experiment on your own and above all, have fun.

User avatar
Posts: 682
Joined: March 22nd, 2010, 3:08 pm

RE: calling strategies

Postby kenturkey89 » March 20th, 2011, 9:25 am

Welcome to the forum yelp_wanted, and a lot of good sound advise has been posted to help you with some of your calling strategies. I just want to emphasize not overcalling just one more time. Getting into the woods after being pent up in the house for so many months is very exciting, and sometimes many hunters tend to express their excitement in their calling. I still consider myself a beginner to this sport and I find it difficult to keep myself from calling too much at times, especially on the roost. I always second guess myself and say, "there's no way the gobbler heard that so I'll just give him a little more so I know he hears me". Trust me, if there's a bird anywhere close by he will hear your tree yelps. I like to just let out one or two soft, quiet series' and wait until fly down time where I might let out a cackle or two to simulate a couple of hens pitching down. I have more farms to hunt this year but a lot of the land I hunt is open fields, so I do a lot of sitting and waiting, which I think is the best thing to do in a lot of situations. If I don't get much action in the morning I'll just sit around making a few subtle feeding calls every 15-20 minutes or so, sometimes throwing in a few louder yelps in the process. Sometimes I'll switch from a slate call to a diaphragm to a box or whatever. Like some of the others have said, always have a couple of calls available to give you different options and sounds to throw at the gobbler. If you listen to and follow the advise that the others have given, I'm sure it will help you bag a big ol gobbler this season. Good luck[;)]


Return to Strategies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests