Gobble Calls, Fact or Fiction?
— Matt Coffey
Theres a huge movement these days to produce the most realistic sounding gobble call on the market. Down-N-Dirty Outdoors and Hunters Specialties are just two companies that are competing for the top spot in the market and they both produce great calls.
But, are the calls really all the marketing material would have you believe they are? Ive seen the videos, just like Im sure you have, and so I set out to test it for myself. Of course, shaker calls have been around for ages and tube calls can produce gobbles without much of a problem when in the hands of someone who knows how to use them.
The idea behind the gobble call, however, is to sound just like a tom thats interfering with the dominance of the resident longbeard. The idea of the call is simple: sound like a gobbling turkey to challenge the dominance of a tom in the area youre hunting. The concept is actually quite sound and I can see how it could work on a henned-up bird during season. Instead of trying to sound like a hen he needs to add to his harem, why not challenge him to a fight? What male of any species could back down from such a challenge, especially in the company of females?
So I procured one of Down-N-Dirtys Haint gobble calls and set about learning how to use it. Now, Im not the best turkey caller around and as hard as I tried, I just couldnt get the hang of it. Luckily, though, one of my hunting buddies could work it like a charm. Since I was going to be hunting with him most of the season, it worked out perfectly.
And the results, while definitely not based on sound science, went both ways. There were times when the call worked exactly as it should and the wily, henned-up tom walked right in to the call. Other times, however, it seemed to scare the younger birds.
My best advice is this: If you know for a fact youre dealing with a dominant bird that wont come to a hen call, give the gobble call a shot. This was the best-case scenario we found while trying out the call. If you have a group of 2-year-olds, however, its best to keep the call in your vest lest you scare them away because theyre tired of being whipped by the resident longbeard.
One more useful tip is to use the call so you sound like a jake instead of a longbeard. Even the 2-year-olds reacted to this setup and werent scared to walk right in.
Overall, like anything else in turkey hunting, gobble calls arent the end-all, be-all for killing a bird. But, when used in the right situation or when used on birds that have heard every other call you have in your vest, theyre a great tool to have at your disposal.