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Wild Turkey Calling

The wild turkey continues to thrive in its growing numbers, thanks in large to the many wildlife restoration programs - this has given the hunter an abundance of targets to go after, but that certainly does not simplify the task, as these birds are amongst the most difficult of all game that is hunted to pin down. It is necessary to use all the tricks of the trade, gathered over many years and delivered with expert skill and guile, to land one of these illusive creatures. Calling wild turkey is undoubtedly one of the most successful hunting techniques.

In any new location the best approach would be to imitate a series of clucks and yelps, gradually increasing the volume and the aggressive nature of the calling. Starting off too loud could be counter productive and actually scare the turkey away. One of the more logical tips is to adopt restraint, as over use will increase the possibility of hitting a wrong note, plus it will inevitably alert the target bird that something is not quite right.
Each call has its own distinctive sound, meaning that many of the wild turkeys will answer to one sort, but not to another, so trial and error is the course of action to take. The bird's vocabulary is fairly basic and consists of yelps, which are usually used to summon other turkeys, a cluck which generally is the noise made when searching for a fellow turkey, a purr which has two separate meanings, one to announce all is well (but an increase in volume is a show of agitation), and one of aggression. Finally there is the cackle, which is often the best sound for a hunter to try and imitate, as it will almost certainly attract the gobblers, because it is made by the hen when it is sexually excited.

There is of course the gobble sound itself, made by the male to attract the hens and also to make a statement of intent, so by copying this sound, a hunter can alert a curious rival. There are obviously different success rates, depending on the season of the year, with the spring turkey calling process, something of a theatrical masterpiece. It needs a little flirting, followed by a period of playing hard to get, by both the male turkey and the hunter. It can be quite comical, but eventually, with a lot of patience thrown into the bargain, the turkey calling will work.

Hens use short plain clucks, usually consisting of one to three notes per second, when they are attempting to attract another bird, so a really good tactic is to try and replicate the sound of a hen, with an exact echo of the number of yelps or clucks she makes. This will enrage the other hens and bring them out into the open looking for confrontation, and if you are lucky the male will follow behind, curious to spy the rival - suddenly a double opportunity presents itself.

Wild Turkey Calling

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