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Turkey Calling: You Don’t Have to be an Expert.

Over the years, I’ve talked with a number of hunters who said they would like to hunt turkeys, but they don’t feel confident with a turkey call. While I have to agree that being an expert turkey caller is certainly desirable and at times maybe even critical to a successful hunt, it’s not always an

Over the years, I’ve talked with a number of hunters who said they would like to hunt turkeys, but they don’t feel confident with a turkey call. While I have to agree that being an expert turkey caller is certainly desirable and at times maybe even critical to a successful hunt, it’s not always an absolute necessity. I’ve killed my share of turkeys over the years, including a couple of good-sized gobblers, and I’m not an expert turkey caller — in fact, I’m far from being an expert. I have, over the years, learned to handle some basic calls. To be honest, in most cases, that’s probably sufficient to enjoy some good turkey hunting.

Near the end of this past spring turkey season, I called up five gobblers for my granddaughter, Sierra; it was only the second time she hunted turkeys. I heard a gobble close to noon, and we quickly moved closer to the area and set up a couple of decoys. I made one series of hen yelps and, just minutes later, three jakes and two gobblers with nine-inch plus beards showed up; one shot and it was over.

The point is, I only made one basic, simple hen call and my granddaughter and I were greatly rewarded; it’s an experience we will share for many years, and no fancy calling was necessary.

Like a lot of other turkey hunters over the years, I too have split up turkey flocks late on a fall day knowing full well that once split up they would try to regroup. I might add that it’s probably more important that you get a good “split up” with birds going in different directions. If they all run off in a group, your calls will likely be of little value — not impossible, but less likely.

Late one fall day close to quitting time, I split up a good-sized flock of birds; the next morning my wife Sheila and I returned to that same location. As daylight broke, I started with some soft hen yelps and then eventually followed up with some kee-kees. Almost immediately, the turkeys began to “talk” with each other as they began closing the distance on Sheila and me. It wasn’t long until a decently sized hen was within shooting range, and my wife bagged her first turkey. Again, just a couple of basic calls were used to bring the desired results.

By no means am I suggesting that every time you head out turkey hunting and you make a simple call or two you are bound to be successful — not so. Obviously, it does happen as I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs, but you should not let the fact that you are not yet an expert caller keep you from pursuing turkeys.

Start simple, maybe with a box call or slate call and some simple hen yelps. Later, you may want to add a mouth call and learn the kee-kee call. A lot of hunters are a little leery about trying to use a diaphragm or mouth call, but if I can do it, I guarantee just anybody can learn to call with one. Trust me; these calls will put you on birds. Later you may want to add more calls like clucks, purrs, and even gobbles. By the way, even a crow call can get a gobbler to sound off.

Whether or not you reach expert status as a caller isn’t important; what counts is getting a few basics down and getting out and enjoying the experience of a successful turkey hunt. You might be surprised how many mistakes you can make and still bag a bird.

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