“WHOOO COOKS FOR YOUUUU? WHOOOOOO COOKS FOR YOU ALLLLL?”
That’s the sound you’ll need to imitate for the perfect owl call, a favorite locator call among turkey hunters.
Turkey callers are renowned for their prowess in replicating the sound of hens to bring in a big tom turkey, whether they use diaphragm mouth calls, box calls, slate calls or even electronic calls where allowed. There are even turkey calling competitions that take place all across the United States.
The barred owl call is fairly simple, and you don’t even need a physical call to pull it off. You’re going to blow into the call to make a “WHOOOO” sound and use the cadence from the beginning of the column — “Whooo cooks for youuu. Whooo cooks for you alllllll.” On the “Whoo’s” you’re going to draw them out in typical owl fashion, but when you get to the “allll” part of the call you’re going to roll your tongue and trail off at the end. To do this call sans mouthpiece, imitate the pitch of the call and do you “Who cooks for you” call.
If you’re out near some woods one of these days fishing or walking, try the call out using just your mouth and try to get other owls to call back to you.
Eventually, you can probably get several owls within a few miles calling back and forth and getting excited. This is a great call for early morning when the turkeys are still roosting, especially when it’s still dark and you’re trying to find a spot to settle down.
Less easy to replicate with your mouth is the crow call. I generally use three to five blows on the call each time I use it, with the cadence getting progressively shorter “Haaaaa Haaa Haa Ha Ha.” You can follow that up with three quick ones (“Ha Ha Ha!”) if you don’t hear a gobble instantly. This is another call where if you listen to crows on a fall day you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of how to time your calls. This is a better call for mid-morning and afternoon after the turkeys have come down from their roosts, as crows aren’t early birds by any means.
A hawk call is a stout like call that isn’t often used, but can produce results on windy days. It’s easy to use: just blow air quickly into the call and then slowly trail off. You can also move the call to the left or right as you trail off to give the impression of movement.
Peacock calls are another effective long-range tool for turkey location. These are generally more trumpet-like in shape. You’ll do three successive “MAY-AWE” calls on this call to try to elicit a response from a big tom.
I wouldn’t use this call often, but it can be a decent one to use from a distance after the turkeys have come down from their roost. You don’t want to use this when you are close to turkeys or when they are still up in the trees as it will make them incredibly leery, but you can get a general idea of where they are located from a distance. Just a simple “A-wooooooooo”howl can do wonders.
This is by no means an extensive list of calls that can get a turkey to gobble. Duck calls, goose calls, slammed car doors, country music, sneezes or just yelling “HEY!” are all techniques, some accidental of course, that have worked for me in the past.
They aren’t exactly the smartest birds in the roost.