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Learn How to Call Wild Turkeys Day 5: Techniques to Call Turkeys

A turkey in the field
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Editor’s Note: After the early days of hunting turkeys in the 1970s, listening to audio tapes on a cassette recorder was the way most turkey hunters learned how to call wild turkeys. One of the main reasons was due to cassette tape recorders being portable. Many cars then had cassette tape players in their dashboards. However, audio devices have improved so much since then that now with an audio book like my Audible “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting,” you can learn to call wild turkeys on your cell phone, your computer or your tablet.

I believe that hearing an expert call wild turkeys and then imitating the sounds he makes is still one of the best ways to learn to call wild turkeys. I asked Lovett Williams, a renowned turkey researcher, and turkey caller, and Rob Keck, once the executive director of the NWTF and a champion caller, about techniques to call turkeys.

John E. Phillips: Another call that you often hear in the spring and fall is the sounds made by a flock of wild turkeys. Many times, two or more hunters will get together and use different calls to try and lure in a gobbler that’s reluctant to come within gun range. Tell us a little bit about this.

Some turkeys wait by a river

Lovett Williams: Simultaneous calling is one of the 28 calls of the wild turkey and is a variation of the 28 calls that a gobbler makes. Some hunters say that if a gobbler gets hung-up (refuses to cross a fence, a creek or a wide-open spot in the woods or fields) that you have to try anything to get him to move to come to you.

You can’t give simultaneous calls with one mouth and one hand effectively.

If several hunters are all giving calls at the same time, that’s what I call group calling, and often that’s effective.

A turkey in the field

Phillips: Now that Williams has explained the sounds most often used by turkey hunters to call in turkeys, Rob Keck, the former executive director of the National Wild Turkey Federation and a turkey caller contest winner, will explain how he gives these calls on different types of turkey calls.

One of the best ways to learn how to call wild turkeys is to listen to the calls that Keck makes in the Audible book, then give the same calls on your turkey calls and record the calls you give.

Playback Keck’s turkey calls, listen to them carefully and then play back the calls you’ve made to see how close you mimic his calls.

Techniques to Call Turkeys

Here’s a list of the calls made by live owls and live wild turkeys, as well as the calls Keck makes on a variety of types of turkeys calls to mimic the sounds of the live owls and turkeys in the Audible version of “Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting:”

  • Owl hooting – natural voice;
  • The tree yelp on a slate call;
  • The fly-down cackle on a mouth call;
  • The cluck on a box call and then on a slate call;
  • The hen yelp on a box call and then on a slate call;
  • The purr on a slate call;
  • Cutting on a box call;
  • Gobbling with a tube call;
  • The assembly call of an old hen on a box call and then the assembly call on a mouth diaphragm;
  • The kee-kee run on a mouth diaphragm;
  • The imitation of a flock of wild turkey all making turkey sounds at the same time; and
  • A single hunter using two different calls at the same time to give the impression of a group of turkeys all trying to carry on a conversation at the same time.

Affiliate Disclosure: JohnInTheWild.com is reader-supported. If you purchase anything we mention using our referral links, we may get a small commission. However, there’s no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting John E. Phillips’ Outdoor Journals!

Expert Guidebooks on Turkey Hunting: Best Sellers

Turkey Hunting Tactics
This turkey hunting audiobook has entertaining chapters like: “How to Miss a Turkey”, “Hunting with a Guide”, and “The Turkey and the New York Lady”.

You’ll learn about all the subspecies of turkey across North America, how to use a turkey call, how to scout before turkey season, how to find a turkey to hunt, and what hunting gear you’ll need to put the odds in your favor to take a wily gobbler.


How to Hunt Turkeys with World Champion Preston Pittman
You easily can take a turkey if you don’t make any mistakes, but you have to know what the deadly sins of turkey hunting are to keep you from making those mistakes. If you understand how to hunt a turkey, you’re far more likely to take a gobbler than if you just know how to call a turkey.

Of course, calling is important, and if you want to learn to call a turkey, Preston Pittman will teach you how to call turkeys with box calls, friction calls, diaphragm calls, and other turkey sounds.

You’ll also learn why Preston Pittman once put turkey manure all over his body to kill a tough tom.

When you have turkeys that strut and drum in the middle of a field, when you know there’s no way to get close enough to get a shot, Pittman will show you some weird tactics that have worked for him to help you hunt tough ole toms.

But the main thing you’ll learn in this book is how to become the turkey.

Using what he’s learned while hunting wild turkeys, he’s also become a master woodsman who can take most game, regardless of where he hunts. To learn more secrets about how to be a turkey hunter from one of the world champions of the sport, this turkey-hunting book with Preston Pittman is a must.


The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible
The quickest way to learn how to turkey hunt successfully is to either hunt with a turkey hunter with years of experience or a turkey-hunting guide. These two types of turkey hunters have solved most of the problems turkey hunters ever will face. 

Just as one size of shoes won’t fit every person, one style of turkey hunting doesn’t fit each hunter.  Each turkey-hunting guide interviewed for this book has his own style of calling, hunting, and outsmarting turkeys.  

While listening to this book, make a list of the new information you’ve learned, take that list with you during turkey season, and try some of the new tactics. Then you’ll become a more versatile turkey hunter and prove the wisdom from The Turkey Hunting Guides’ Bible.   


Outdoor Life’s Complete Turkey Hunting (2nd Edition)
This Audible book will help you learn how to call turkeys with two of the nation’s best, longtime and well-known turkey callers, Rob Keck, formerly with the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Lovett Williams, a wildlife biologist who recorded wild turkeys giving the calls that you’ll learn how to make on various types of turkey callers.


When you use the links below to go to Amazon, notice on the left of the Audible option where Amazon says you can hear a sample that gives you 10% of these books for free! On the right side of the page for each book and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can choose to Buy the Audible book.

Be sure to also check out John’s Free Books as our gift to you!

Prime Members: You’re eligible to claim 2 free titles with your 30-day Audible Premium Plus trial! Browse more than 100 of John E. Phillips’ expert guidebooks on hunting and fishing here.

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