How to Call Pressured Turkeys: 5 Sounds That Work

By Joe MartinoApril 1, 20191 Comment

Let’s face it, most of us end up having to hunt pressured birds sooner or later.  Whether you are hunting public land, private land that gets lots of pressure, or you’re just in a chess match with a stubborn old bird that knows every trick in the book, there are a handful of calls and sounds that can trick him and hopefully put him in your lap. If you haven’t heard of or tried these sneaky little tricks to use on birds who have heard it all, perhaps it’s time you give them a shot. If you’re struggling with how to call pressured turkeys, here’s 5 sounds that work to bring more birds to your bow or gun.


Calling pressured turkeys into range can be tough, but it’s no impossible. Here’s the sounds that’ll help tip the odds in your favor.

Tube Call

I know a lot of turkey hunters who have never heard of this type of call, let alone used one.  The snuff tube call is pretty easy to use compared to a mouth diaphragm, yet harder to get the right sound to come out of it.  It takes practice to figure out how to get it to sound like a turkey (although it is amazingly simple to get it to sound like a chicken).

A snuff tube call has a distinctly different pitch and tone than any mouth, box or slate call.  This, coupled with the fact that only true die-hard or old-school turkey hunters know how to use them, make them ideal for pulling in a longbeard that has heard everything. The odds are high that it may actually be the first time that the gobbler you are calling to has ever heard this call, and it may just be the call that ends his life.


The Snuff Tube is an old classic that is making a comeback due to it’s unique sound and ability to grab a gobbler’s attention.

The Gobble

Another great sound that you’ll want to have in your bag of tricks is the gobble. Yes, it goes against everything we learned in hunter education, but when safely mimicked at the proper place and time, the gobble can be a super deadly sound to draw your turkey in close. The latest rage in turkey hunting is rawling behind a strutter decoy, so  it only makes sense that you’d throw a gobble sound into the mix. Unlike all other calls, the gobble call is not drawing a gobbler in looking for love; It is drawing him in in a fit of rage.  By nature, the hens march to gobblers when they gobble, not the other way around.  Yes, we use hen calls to try to reverse the intent of nature, and in many instances, we can.  But when nothing else works, the gobble can make him break the standoff and head your way.


Throw the sound of a gobble into your calling routine to grab the attention of the boss on the property you’re hunting.

The Whine

The Whine is another sound that rarely gets thrown into the mix, but if you’ll listen to live turkeys enough, you’ll hear that it’s a common part of the turkey vocabulary. Turkeys actually whine quite a bit. You’ll hear them whine as they move through the woods mixed in with purrs and yelps, they’ll whine when they’re lonely and they’ll whine as they’re being bred. It’s a sound gobblers can’t resist. It takes a little practice with your mouth call, but once you learn to do the whine, you’ll call more pressured turkeys than ever before.


A hen turkey will whine at various times, and for various reasons, one of which takes place when she is being bred by a gobbler.

Scratching in the Leaves

If you want to tote more turkeys out of the woods this spring, learn to put your store-bought calls down from time to time and try scratching in the leaves. Yes, it’s simple, and almost seems foolish, but the sound of a turkey scratching in the leaves can be one of the deadliest sounds in the woods. It’s a contented sound that tells a turkey you are there, that you’re feeding, that all is well, and that you’re not planning to come to him. He will have to come investigate the sound of scratching in the leaves. Just use your hand, or a stick, and make quick scratches in the leaves, like a turkey looking for food. This is one call that works really well and one that the majority of hunter overlook.

Scratching in the leaves can be a great addition to your calling routine when dealing with tough toms.

Fighting Purr

Not just your normal purr.  As the name implies, the fighting purr is the sound toms make when they are fighting.  To make this call you’ll need to man a pair of calls.  There are push-button yelper calls on the market designed specifically for this purpose, but a mouth call and a slate call, or a box call, or any combination of the three will work just fine. Simply make some aggressive, constant purring sounds with each call, alternating back and forth to simulate two toms duking it out.

Sometimes, when luring him with love calls won’t do the trick, a chance to assert his dominance might.  And, if he isn’t the dominant bird, he may still come in to check out the fight and to see where he will fit in the new pecking order.HS-push-pull

HS Strut Push Button Yelper


Start out with your tried and true calls and tactics this spring, for sure, but when the going gets tough and the birds start playing hardball due to hunting pressure, try these 5 sounds to help tip the odds back in your favor this season. Be sure to comment below and let us know some of your favorite turkey sounds, as well as your go-to favorite call for fooling tough toms.


Joe Martino
Media Contact at River Cleanup conservation group
Joe is a true outdoorsman who writes articles based on his experiences and knowledge of fishing, hunting, trapping and conservation. While Joe does occasionally fish and hunt throughout the country, many of his experiences come from pursuing the great outdoors throughout the Midwest.
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