Welcome to Big Beard Bounty, your go-to source for all things related to turkey hunting in Dothan, Alabama! Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, perfecting your turkey calls is a crucial aspect of a successful hunt. In this blog post, we’ll cover local techniques specific to the Wiregrass Area to help you bag that big beard bounty in Dothan. Remember to bookmark our blog on the 5 Best Turkey Calls for Beginners for more information on turkey calls if you’re new to turkey hunting.
- Understanding Dothan’s Wild Turkey Population
Before we dive into the specific calls, it’s essential to understand the wild turkey population in and around Dothan. The Eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is the most common species in Alabama, known for its distinctive vocalizations and wariness. To increase your chances of success, familiarize yourself with their unique habits and behaviors.
- The Basic Calls: Yelp, Cluck, and Purr
Start by mastering the three basic turkey calls: the yelp, cluck, and purr. These sounds can be made using a variety of turkey call tools such as box calls, diaphragm calls, or slate calls. Check out our blog post on the Best Wood to Use for Turkey Calls for recommendations on the best wood to use for box calls.
- Yelp: A yelp is a common call used by both hens and gobblers to communicate with each other. In Dothan, the Eastern wild turkey’s yelp is characterized by a high-pitched, nasal sound. Practice creating a series of yelps to mimic the turkey’s natural cadence.
- Cluck: A short, sharp sound, the cluck is used to get a turkey’s attention or to reassure a wary gobbler. When hunting in Dothan, focus on creating a lower-pitched, more subtle cluck to avoid spooking the local turkeys.
- Purr: A soft, rolling sound, the purr is used by turkeys to convey contentment or to calm a nervous bird. In the Wiregrass Area, turkeys tend to purr with a slightly faster rhythm. Be sure to practice this call to perfect the local tempo.
- Advanced Calls: Cutt, Cackle, and Gobble
Once you’ve mastered the basic calls, consider incorporating these advanced techniques into your repertoire:
- Cutt: The cutt is a series of excited clucks often used by hens to locate a gobbler. To emulate the Dothan turkey’s cutt, add more urgency and intensity to your clucks.
- Cackle: The cackle is a hen’s call when she’s flying up or down from her roost. By mimicking the local Eastern wild turkey’s cackle, you can convince a gobbler that a hen is nearby.
- Gobble: Though less commonly used, the gobble is an effective way to challenge a dominant tom or locate a subordinate one. When hunting in Dothan, remember that Eastern wild turkey gobblers have a distinctive, two-note gobble that’s higher-pitched than other subspecies.
- Local Expert Tips
To further enhance your turkey calling skills, consider joining the Houston County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for local events, seminars, and workshops. Connecting with fellow hunters from the Dothan area can provide valuable insights and tips specific to the local turkey population.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Like any skill, mastering turkey calls requires practice and patience. Dedicate time to practicing the different calls and adjusting them to match the unique characteristics of Dothan’s Eastern wild turkeys. Listening to recorded turkey calls can be an excellent way to hone your technique.
- Adapting to the Hunt
Remember, no two hunts are the same, and you may need to adjust your calling strategy based on the specific situation. Pay close attention to the turkeys’ responses to your calls and be prepared to switch up your tactics if necessary. Always prioritize safety and ethical hunting practices – for more information, review the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Hunting Regulations.
Mastering turkey calls tailored to Dothan’s Eastern wild turkey population is a surefire way to increase your chances of bagging that big beard bounty. Practice the basic and advanced calls, connect with local experts, and adapt your calling strategy to the unique nuances of our area. With time and dedication, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled turkey hunter in the Wiregrass Area. Don’t forget to share your success stories with us in the Wiregrass Hunting & Fishing Facebook Group – we’d love to hear from you!