What is the Spit and Drum Sound Turkeys Make?

By Brodie SwisherSeptember 1st, 2021

Ask most any person about the sound a turkey makes, and the answer will undoubtedly be, the gobble. Male turkeys gobble, plain and simple. It’s the sound that draws hunters from across the country to the springtime woods. But what about some of the other sounds male turkeys make? One of the lesser known sounds of the male turkey is the spit and drum sound. 

What is the spit and drum sound turkeys make? 

Check out the video below from Stealth Cam for a closer look and listen. 

Spitting & Drumming

According to the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), male turkeys make this soft, guttural sound by forcing air up from their bodies. They almost always spit and drum when they strut, but also do so when not strutting. The sound begins with the sharper spit portion, which sounds like a brief “pfft” or even “tick.” That’s immediately followed by the lower, softer drum, which sounds somewhat like a bass “duum” vocalization that begins low and increases in tone and volume at the end. When you learn this unique noise, it becomes unmistakable.

When you hear the spit and drum sound, you can be confident the bird is close. And he may already be within range of a shot. Again, this is a close encounter sound. You won’t hear it at long distances, particularly if it’s windy or raining.

When your bird goes silent from gobbling, but you begin hearing the spit and drum sound, you better get ready! He’s closing in on your setup and the opportunity for a shot is about to happen. 

Brodie Swisher
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
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