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Turkey Sounds

List of Wild Turkey Sounds

 American wild turkey species have the same language.  It usually consists of 28 calls, each with their own purpose and message.  Below are the primary vocals that hens and gobblers make throughout the year.  Knowing these different turkey sounds will help you when deciding which call to make on your turkey call.


Hens cackle in a multiple series of notes when going into or coming out of their roosts. Cackles are usually fast with an irregular rhythm and can include both clucks and yelps.  When you hear cackles, you then generally hear clucks as the turkeys are on the ground searching for each other.


Soft, one syllable sound used by gobblers and hens.  Wild turkeys use this sound to communicate at short distances and usually at dawn/first light. 


This is a sharper and harder cluck.  It has a fast and broken rhythm.  Hens will cut when they are searching for other turkeys, agitated, or excited.  Cutting is usually loud and aggressive, and heard most often during spring. 

A gobbler’s primarily objective is to attract hens in the spring and you will hear them gobble for the hens.  They also gobble to show dominance over other males. A typical gobble is loud and aggressive and very short. Gobbles are also used by males to keep tabs on one another. While the mature gobblers are experienced in gobbling, the jakes are less-skilled and you will often hear weird combinations of gobbles and yelps.


This is a soft, high-pitched, 3 or 4 note whistle sound.  Kee-kees are generally used by young turkeys that have been separated from their flock.  Hens and other members of the flock will respond with yelps.   Jakes most often kee-kee in the fall but will also do it into the spring. The kee-kee run, a variation of the kee-kee, combines whistles and lost yelps.


Although there are many different types of purrs, the one heard most often usually indicates that the turkeys are content.  Generally this is when they are feeding and close together in a group.  The feeding purr is great to use on a call to lure the bird in during your turkey hunt.

Spit and drum

The spit and drum is simply a two-note sound originating from deep within gobbler’s chest.  A gobbler spits and drums in the spring to attract hens.  It is not unusual to hear drumming up to 100 yards away.

Tree Yelp

A softer, shorter version of the basic yelp.  Usually heard from turkeys in the morning from their roosts to indicate their location, they are awake, and all is safe with them. 


The yelp is the most commonly heard sound from wild turkeys to locate other turkeys.  There are many different types of yelps including the tree yelp, assembly yelp, plain yelp, excited yelp, and the more uncommon gobbler yelp.  Gobbler yelps are slower and often deeper-throated than hen yelps. Yelps are used for a variety of different reasons including saying hello, as well as the mother hen assembling her young.

Learning the different wild turkey sounds and how to distinguish them in the woods – would be beneficial to all turkey callers.  When the turkey hunter hears the sound the bird is making, you then know which call to respond with to get their attention.  This is just another tactic to use when hunting for turkey – to bag a bird!

To listen to each of the Wild Turkey Sounds, go to the NWTF website link, "" 

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