March 16, 2004
An experienced turkey hunter knows the various calls of the wild turkey and practices calling throughout the year to stay in “calling shape” for hunting season. Following are the descriptions of several key calls used by turkeys and those who hunt them.
"All of these calls can be heard on the NWTF’s web site at www.nwtf.org," said Tammy Bristow, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Vice-President of Communications. "There is no substitute for listening to real wild turkeys to improve your calling."
The yelp is a basic turkey call that sounds nearly like it is spelled. It is often delivered in a series of single-note vocalizations and can have different meanings depending on how the hen uses it.
The cluck consists of one or more short, staccato notes. The plain cluck, many times, includes two or three single-note clucks. It's generally used by one bird to get the attention of another. It's a good call to reassure an approaching gobbler that a hen is waiting for him.
The putt is a single note, generally associated as an alarm. It could also be several notes delivered in a sharp or rapid fashion, usually meaning they have seen or heard something they don’t like, and they are about to book it out of there.
A series of fast, loud, erratic single notes is referred to as cutting. It's a modified cluck and is a distinct abrupt call with a somewhat questioning nature. It can be heard at a great distance and is often used by a single turkey eagerly looking for companionship.
Purring is a soft, rolling call turkeys make when content. It can usually be heard by feeding birds. This is not a loud call, but is good for reassuring turkeys as they get in close to your position.
The NWTF is a great resource for turkey hunting tips and other wild turkey information. Visit the NWTF’s Web site for information or call 800-THE-NWTF to become a NWTF member and receive one of their great magazines filled with turkey hunting tips and stories.