Learn to call wild turkeys from the masters

Odnmarblog2 Hen
There are different ways to become a better turkey caller, but the best is to listen to live, chatty hens. (Photo by Tony Peterson)

There are a lot of reasons I love bowhunting turkeys in the spring, but one of the main ones (besides the obvious) is that you just get to hear a lot of hen talk. Running and gunning with a shotgun is a blast, but it usually results in fewer close-range, long-term encounters with live birds.

It’s just a different beast than bowhunting birds.

When you’re stuck in a blind with the best chance of filling a tag being birds that work into the decoys and stick around, your strategy is different. Your experience is, too. I can’t tell you how many weird, subtle hen sounds I’ve heard while sitting dark to dark in blinds.

Not only is that interesting in and of itself, but it’s also a great teacher if you want to be all you can be as a caller. While you can watch videos of great callers, or read all about calling, there is nothing quite like listening to actual hens saying what actual hens say.

It’s hard to describe, but there’s almost always a weird intangible between a good caller and an actual bird. With bad callers, the divide is way more obvious. Folks in the latter category usually exhibit a lot of hesitancy and then combine it with a cadence that just doesn’t sound natural (oftentimes it’s too fast).

There isn’t much of a way to get better than to listen to the real thing and try to mimic it. Now, I realize that not everyone can get out and listen up for nonstop hen chatter. Plus, during a hunt you might only have a few encounters with vocal ladies. The next best thing is to head on over to YouTube and just find some videos of real turkeys.

There’s no shortage of them, and they provide a glimpse into how varied a turkey’s vocabulary really is, and how often they use it to say different things. It’ll also expose you more to the real cadence that turkeys adopt, along with their wild swings in volume and frequency.

This is a good pre-season endeavor. Instead of wailing away on your mouth call while driving to work, or hacking away on a box call at home in an attempt to drive your dog and your spouse nuts, you can practice with a purpose when you’re watching the real thing happen. This is a good way to level up your calling game before the season kicks off and you’ve got to put your conversation skills to practical use.

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, How To’s, Hunting, Tony Peterson, Turkey

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