Learn how to call turkeys like a pro this hunting season

This story was originally published in May 2019.

Outdoor enthusiasts who have discovered the thrill of wild turkey hunting can often tell you exactly when they decided they had to find a way to get involved in the activity again.

It wasn’t when their alarm clock went off at 3 a.m. And it wasn’t when they discovered a tick crawling on their arm. (Both, for the record, can be occupational hazards of turkey hunting.)

Instead, it was probably the first time a tom turkey decided to show up and join the hunt. A gobble echoes through the otherwise still forest. The bird is near.

And after that, many fall victim to the more is better philosophy, raid their local outdoor store and buy all the calls and turkey-related daddies they can find.

Glenburn’s Brhaun Parks laughs at his own turkey-hunting eureka moment. He discovered the sport 24 years ago and is perhaps one of the most avid turkey hunters (and callers) in the state.

“You’re making the mistake where you have to go buy the latest and greatest everything on the market,” he said on Monday, the opening day of Maine’s turkey season.

That’s what happened to him. And after buying a turkey hunting vest, he worked hard to fill all his pockets and pouches.

“I got this [vest] since the first day. This thing was probably 70 pounds, going through the woods next year, because I thought I had to carry everything in the world,” he said. “Since then, it’s just the vest and a few essentials.”

Parks is an accomplished turkey caller and demonstrated various techniques on Monday. Most of the time, he now uses a mouth call which can be difficult for some to master. And his vest is no longer full of gear.

“I only have five or six different cries in my mouth. I make my own calls… then I carry a box call,” he said. “I don’t have a slate. I will throw in a gobble tube once in a while. And I have an owl hoot that I don’t even have with me today because I knew we were going to come out at first light.

A reminder that’s been passed down through hunter safety courses and veteran hunters: Using a goblet call can inspire other hunters in the area to hunt down the male turkey they hear. Staying put and calling the birds to you is the safest way to operate, and calling primarily while mimicking a female turkey eliminates attraction to other hunters. Maine turkey hunters are only allowed to target bearded (male) birds during the spring season.

Among the tones he uses regularly: The yelp, the cut and the purr. All of these vocalizations are made by female turkeys. Mixing other turkey vocalizations can also pay off.

“You can vary the pace of [the yelp]“, he declared while demonstrating. “It seems to be the one most birds I’ve found like it. It’s not too fast and it’s not too slow. They should always be five to seven notes long for a yelp. You just mix it up, add some cuts, some purrs.

Comments are closed.