Gobbler yelpin’. It’s something that nobody ever talked about, at least in modern times, except for Ray Eye. He put two and two together while he was still a snot-nosed kid crawling up and down the bluffs of Johnson Mountain down in the Missouri Ozarks. He listened carefully to his daddy and granddaddy, and he listened even more carefully to those wild turkeys who taught him to hunt them.Gobbler yelpin’. It sounds so much like hen yelpin’ that you can’t hardly tell the difference except if you’re lookin’ at the bird that’s making the sound. But by golly the birds can tell the difference. Nobody has to explain it to them. And Ray Eye has known, since he was a boy, that except for that small window of time in the spring when everything is perfect during the mating season, boy turkeys talk to boy turkeys the whole rest of the year.
The Reader’s Digest version: gobbler yelpin’ sounds like regular hen yelpin’ except that each note lasts longer than hen yelpin’. It’s more ‘drawn out’ as Ray likes to say. There’s more to it, but that’s the gist of the story.
Really, the truth is that boy turkeys talk directly to other boy turkeys even during the spring mating season, on most days. The real fact is that calling up a big fat gobbler by sounding like a hen only happens when things are just about perfect. Do you want to hang your turkey hunting success on being out there in the woods when things are perfect? We don’t either.
So here’s the deal. If you want to kill a big fat fall gobbler, a bird with a long beard that swings back and forth as he runs in to your call through a pile of dead leaves, you have to learn how to sound like a gobbler. You can target mature gobblers in the fall, and you don’t have to scare them away first before you start hunting them.
We want you to know all this, because it is the absolute core of wild turkey hunting. And we’ve been noticing that some other people are starting to talk about gobbler yelping. Funny how that happens. Follow what we teach here at Eyes on the Outdoors and you will learn the secrets of Ray Eye, because he has decided to offer up everything he knows before he spends his last day in the woods.
God willing, that won’t happen any time soon, but we’ve got our cameras and microphones ready to record everything he has to say, just in case… and speaking of that, here’s a short clip of Ray teaching gobbler yelping, from Module 9 in our class “Calling is Everything.”
Good luck out there this fall!
Here’s the link to video with Ray Eye demonstrating the gobbler yelp on a box call: