Gobbler yelps are deeper and have a slower cadence than the higher-pitched hen yelps we often use in the spring. In my fall hunting experience, friction calls imitate gobbler yelps best, though resonant diaphragms also work. Try these tips this fall:
Calling Tip No. 1
Often three deeper, slower yelps — yawp, yawp, yawp — will get a “super jake” (a year-and-one-half-old male turkey) or mature gobbler’s interest. Like the cluck, it’s a questioning call that seems to say, “Where are you? I’m right here.”
Calling Tip No. 2
As slate yelping for gobblers goes, run your striker closer to the call’s centerpoint than the rim. While holding the peg like a pen, draw it toward the call’s middle with the one, two, three yelping rhythm of a gobbler. Experiment with strikers on your call of choice.
Calling Tip No. 3
In the spring, a gobbler is primarily attempting to call hens to his roosted or ground-standing position. In the fall and winter, he’s declaring his proud presence, and possibly gobbling during daily efforts to maintain pecking-order status, or move ahead in rank, as he fights other male birds. If you raise a gobbler with a cluck, then start yelping at a bird, which responds to you, try gobbling at that turkey. Gobbler calls, when used sparingly, can draw responses from adult toms, super jakes, and young male turkeys. If you’ve broken the flock on foot, or with a dog where legal, listen as the gobblers regroup. Often they’ll gobble when lost or looking for other turkeys. Call as they do.
Calling Tip No. 4
Aggressive purrs, cutting, and gobbling can interest male birds into approaching your position. Just as a crowd gathers during a street fight to see what’s going on, gobblers will investigate the location where such sounds indicate fighting turkeys. You can hold the lid of your cap, and smack it against a tree or your leg to imitate wings colliding as you purr, “cutt,” (fast clucking and yelping), and gobble — so long as the turkeys are out of sight, and won’t chance at seeing your movements.
Realtree turkey hunting editor Steve Hickoff has chased gobblers all over the United States and Mexico. He was born and raised in northcentral Pennsylvania, and now makes his home in Maine. Hickoff was named the NWTF Tom Kelly Communicator of the Year for 2019, a prestigious award reflecting his longtime work promoting hunting and conservation as a turkey hunting writer, editor and book author.