Thoughts From The Field

Blog posts by the team

Getting Gobblers To Close The Distance

Shopping for turkey calls can be overwhelming. Stores have shelves packed with different turkey calls. Many calls swear to produce a unique sound. These various calls mimic the vocalizations that turkeys make. What they do not mimic are the other noises turkeys frequently produce.

Whether turkeys are flocked up or alone, they can be noisy in the woods. Scratching through leaves, flogging one another, and beating wings. While hunting, replicating these sounds adds another lifelike measure to your turkey hunting setups. These sounds are what turkeys are familiar with hearing.

During each turkey hunting setup, I put my back against a tree and lay my calls out around me. I grab a mouth call, then my friction call, and lastly my turkey wing! Yes, I carry a turkey wing in my vest. This “call” is placed on the ground within reach. When calling to a bird on the roost, I will use a wing to resemble the sound of a turkey flying down. I simply beat the wing against my leg a few times, pause, and then smack the leaves on the ground. This sequence communicates a turkey has flown off the roost, sailed, and then landed on the ground. Replicating this sound increases the realism of your setup.

Even after fly down I keep the wing handy. Turkeys do not stay still once they fly down. To resemble the sound of turkeys walking, I use the wing to scratch in the leaves. This allows me to stay in communication with a gobbler in between actual calling sequences. A longbeard expects to hear turkeys in the leaves as he approaches. If a gobbler begins to hang-up out of range, I don’t call. I scratch in the leaves. This is to reassure him that turkeys are here without making a turkey vocalization.

Lastly I carry a wing with me to create a fighting scenario. Turkeys establish pecking orders (watch GrowingDeer episode 328 here) in late winter. Pecking orders are challenged during the breeding season. These fights are generally loud and get turkeys to investigate. Fights among hens include aggressive fighting purrs and flogging. A last ditch effort is to create a fight. I purr aggressively on a mouth call and use a wing to replicate a fight. Simply purring aggressively may do the trick but beating wings takes this scene to the next level.

Don’t fall for some of the game call gimmicks. Save a wing, replicate what happens in nature on a daily basis. Using a wing can increase your odds of success in the spring woods. Remember wings are free with the harvest of any turkey! Draw that gobbler into range!

Chasing longbeards,


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