Finding out the real deal about how good the hearing of wild turkeys is became quite a challenge. For starters, like baseline, wild turkey gobblers and hens can communicate with each other vocally as much as a mile away.
Actually, I already knew that. About 20 years ago I was hunting in a double bull portable ground blind and heard gobbles from as far away as I could hear. I took out a Woodhaven Doug Crabtree Signature v-cut mouth call and blasted away as loud as I could.
In a few minutes I realized that the gobbles were becoming even louder. Still faint really, but noticeably louder. I continued yelping and clucking with every bit of volume that I cold muster. Half and hour of gobbling and calling later I noticed movement on the far edge of the field, 1,000 yards away.
And I glassed 3 mature longbeards, gobbling away..
I grabbed a few more mouth calls and called. Call was easier now because I could see them and gauge their reactions. Soon they got to a long fence line that came straight to where my blind, and me, were waiting. Finally they were 100 yards away and they paused. I cut my volume and Cut excitedly. One of the gobblers pulled out ahead of the other two, hurry
Turkey’s do not hear what we hear. What sounds great to you or I might sound horrible to them … or they might not hear it at all!
Volume is decibles (dB). Tone frequency is hertz (Hz) Decible Sound Pressure Level is (dB SPL)
The range of frequencies that a turkey with good hearing can hear is 290 Hz to 5,250 Hz.
Humans with good hearing hear a range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
Both humans and turkeys hearing frequency range declines with age.
The optimum dB SPL is15.43 Most calls are louder than that and above the pain threshold.
The best heard frequency by turkeys is 2,000 Hz
If you are using calls with a frequency higher than 5,250 Hz the turkeys cant hear it! They may feel pressure on their ear but they won’t hear it. The only response could be a shock. You wouldn’t be calling them but you could be shocking them.
Numerous Crystal, glass, aluminum, ceramic and slate calls are higher than 5,250 Hz and above 15.43 dB SPL. Some turkeys calling can call at frequencies that turkeys cant hear.
Every call that I tested was also to loud. Way out of the dB range.
Maybe that is a reason why you get toms gobbling and going away from you? You aren’t calling them you are shocking them!