Yamaha Outdoors Tips — Don't Get Busted by a Gobbler

This is what a spring longbeard might see as it arrives at your setup position. Listen for sounds other than the gobble to avoid having a bird bust you this coming spring turkey season.

By Steve Hickoff

It can happen fast. You hear footsteps in the leaves. It might be that gobbling turkey you raised checking out your position silently, looking for the hen you pretended to be. Key on the sound of footsteps while also being safe — turkeys and hunters walking make similar noises at times.

Always identify your target. Listen for these other sounds to lock in on a gobbler that might have you in his sights rather than the other way around:


It might just be a single cluck: “pock.” Still if you hear it, you’ll be ready for that turkey to appear. Or you can cluck back. And you can reposition if the gobbler clucked and moved off.


While the gobble is easy to distinguish, some hunters can’t or don’t know what to listen for when it comes to the “pfft-dummmm” sound of a strutting gobbler. This might be one of the only sounds you hear as that solo bird comes to your setup. 


Squirrels barking and chittering, blue jays screeching and crows cawing wildly can key you into a turkey’s movements in your direction. I’ve killed a gobbler or two this way when other wildlife let me know that big silent longbeard was coming. 

Ever been busted by a gobbler that snuck up from behind without you knowing it? Chances are you heard alarm putting first then turned to see your now frightened gobbler moving off in the other direction. 

Been there? Let us know on the Yamaha Outdoors Facebook page.