The kee kee run is a must have call for fall turkey hunting, but can be effective in the spring as well. In this video, Sadler Mcgraw, Matt Van Cise, Shane Hindershot and Scott Ellis perform their version of the kee kee run at the NWTF calling championship.
Take note of the common sequence of the kee kee run, which sounds like “pee pee pee yawk yawk.” The kee kee is often used with 3 kee kees followed by a couple yelps.
If you’ve ever bumped a group of young turkey during the fall, you’ve probably noticed the way they use the kee kee run to regroup.
A Turkey Hunters Motto for Consistently Taking Turkeys
My turkey chasing days began in 1992 in a Flint River swamp in Georgia. Although I learned as much as I could by listening to cassettes, watching videos, and reading magazines, most of my lessons came through trial and error and time spent in the woods alone. Since I lived two and a half hours away from where I hunted, and had to spend the night, I chose to hunt until noon, eat lunch, and go back in for afternoon hunts. I believed it was a matter of putting your hours in and as long as I was in the woods there was a chance of killing a bird. Due to this committed effort and a good bird population, I was lucky enough to kill my share of gobblers. In fact, aside from my first season I was somehow getting my limits every spring. Much had to do with luck and many were flukes, but somehow each season it came together and I kept taking birds.
Because of the flat and mostly open terrain that existed in the swamp, especially early in the season before it greened up, approaching and moving on birds was challenging. I’d be aggressive when I could but I often played it safe by limiting my charges towards a gobbler and setting up and staying with an area instead of moving. Part of the “playing it safe” part was due to the openness but some was due to a lack of confidence in just how to go about it and what I could get away with. And it worked often enough to keep me satisfied.
After hunting for a few years, I met and started sharing the woods with someone that had turkey hunted for much longer than I had. He was the first person I knew that could sound good on a mouth call and was a pure run and gun guy. When he put on his vest he turned into a Tasmanian devil turkey hunter and his game plan each and every day was one of pure aggression. He’d methodically move and cover lots of ground and on days birds gobbled, he would kill one or get close, but on days they didn’t, he became human and came back empty handed. We didn’t actually hunt together but shared the woods numerous times going our separate ways. But I listened to him when he talked about what he did especially on the “run and gun” stuff. Even he admitted the swamp offered challenges compared to the hilly terrain he’d hunted previously when it came to flanking or moving on birds, but he killed his share with his style of hunting. Surprisingly, as aggressive as he was, he’d often be back at the truck by 9:30 a.m. or out eating breakfast, while I’d hunt until lunch. Prior to us hunting together, he didn’t hunt afternoons.
Three years after we met, he went to Texas with me and after I’d taken my third Rio Grande gobbler, he was still hunting hard for his second bird. He seemed to be struggling and putting pressure on himself so to make him feel better and because I believed it was true, I commented that he was a better caller and hunter than me and that I just kept getting lucky, and must have been in better spots.
He turned around and said. “You can say what you want but no matter where we hunt or what the conditions are, you have an uncanny knack forfinding a way to kill birds”. Of course this was gratifying and made me feel good causing the rear snap to blow off my hat as my head swelled because these words coming from him meant something.
It made me stop and think about what I was doing and how I was killing birds. The truth was, I believed many of my birds came from the “Blind Squirrel Rule “because of the hours I put in, and often I really was lucky with a few fluke birds thrown in. But, when I stopped and thought about it, I realized I did put a lot of thought and effort into how I approached turkey hunting and was not set in my ways in terms of how to hunt them on any particular day. I wasn’t fixed in either camp when it came to “run and gun” or “deer hunting” them and was constantly racking my brain trying to figure out how to get a bird each time I was in the field. If they gobbled I moved more. If they were quiet I slowed down and hung with a spot. More importantly, I didn’t give up easily and made myself hang with a hunt longer even when I was hungry and started thinking about how good lunch was going to be. Coming out for breakfast wasn’t even a consideration. I wanted and needed that next fix badly which drove me to hunt hard and to dig deep to figure out how to make it happen on each hunting session. I concluded that what I lacked in knowledge, I made up in with effort.
A New Motto
His compliment helped my confidence and I decided to incorporate his “Finding a Way “commentas my new hunting motto. This would be a simple but driving clause that I’d insert into my turkey hunting psyche and repeat to myself on the days things were tough and I needed a push.
The reality is that at the end of the day, the pay off of actually killing a gobbler, or coming back empty handed, is the result and outcome of a combination of decisions that we make during our hunts. How well we adapt to the hand we’re dealt on any given outing will be the determining factor. The “Decision Combination” aspect (See: “Good Decision Combinations Kill Turkeys”) is a constant that applies to any hunting or fishing outing, but applying the “Find a Way” attitude in my view is a magnifier of the drive. The focused effort of being patient, persistent to the point of being relentless , and constantly trying to find a way that will pay off enough times during a season to result in birds over the shoulder that might not have happened otherwise is the pay off.
For example: My thought process used to be that once I approached the end of deer or turkey season in the past, I would really push hard on that last weekend trying to make something happen knowing I was running out of time. A sense of desperation crept in causing me to try something different and really fast forward my thinking to be successful or the clock would run out on me. It’s the same way on travel hunts when you hit that last day and you still need a bird. The difference now is; I think and operate to a large degree like this all the time. I’m trying to push and find a way right now, today, to come up with a way to put myself or someone else in front of a bird. When you read things like “Texas Stampede” or “Chasing Montana Merriams” you get a sampling of outside the box efforts that are a result of the “find a way” thought process.
In reality we are always trying to “find a way” but for me this means digging deeper and avoiding giving up easily. It’s being stubborn when it comes to throwing in the towel. And as with many things in life it comes down to how bad you want it and how hard you’ll push to get it.
It’s aggressive thinking although sometimes the selected approach may seem passive, but there’s always a built in sense of urgency.
For the most part I’m sure my approaches to turkey hunting are the same as most others in that I start out taking the traditional approaches to typical situations. Like any turkey hunter I am always paying attention to any turkey sign I see and compiling it with any other historical information associated with a particular spot. If I hear birds I go after them. If it’s new territory and I don’t hear them, I keep moving until I find birds or such good sign that I believe setting up and calling may be worthwhile. If its familiar ground that normally has birds, I may troll for a while trying to strike up a willing bird or I may decide that they’re just quiet and may implement a non aggressive fall back plan to deal with silent birds and go to the “area plan”.
Learning from Others
As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, I was killing turkeys and getting my limits with what I had learned on my own. But my aggressive “run and gun” approach game was improved from being around and listening to my friend who had years of experience doing it. This was especially useful once I started hunting areas outside the swamp with terrain that was more condusive to moving and flanking.
But he also benefitted in that he learned to slow down when birds were quiet, hunt an area, and to hunt later in the day and afternoons. It rounded us both out in a way that allowed us handle and kill more turkeys, and we killed them under a wider range of conditions and not just on days they gobbled.
We all have our own styles and preferences but any time you can spend with another hunter who has been successful, you’ll gain a new insight and learn new tricks to add to your existing arsenal and ways to kill turkeys. The key in my view is to vary your approach not be one dimensional. If you’ve got unlimited time to hunt, then you may have the luxury of hunting in a particular style and way that becomes a numbers game in that you’ll hunt enough days in which your approach will eventually cross with the conditions that allow it to work. In other words if you’re a run and gun guy and stay with it, even though you may be bumping birds left and right on quiet days, you’ll eventually get your birds on the gobbling days and it’s hard to argue with success. It goes the same for just setting up and hunting areas. If you set anywhere long enough you’ll probably have a chance to kill a turkey. But, if you have a limited number of days to hunt, the more adaptable you can become, the better your chances will be if you can find the right way to attack that specific day.
Find a Way Mentality
There are many turkey hunters here at GSN that I believe think and operate this way. Several have impressive seasons year after year consistently taking their gobbler limits and helping others get birds as well. They appear gifted which they are, but I suspect if you look deeper you’ll find they’re turkey hunting mind is mounted on a one ton frame and they’re fueled with drive that causes them to constantly rotate thoughts and options through their minds, trying to find a way to take that next gobbler.
To operate under the “Find a Way” mentality requires stronger than average drive that includes, determination and persistence topped off with managed patience. It requires being relentless and putting your hours in. It means thinking outside the box when other approaches aren’t working. Adopting the motto may mean that you have to go over one more ridge, hunt one more hour, try one more flanking movement, or check out one more field before you leave to go home. It requires self discipline and pushing yourself harder and longer. It means you’ve really got to want it and be willing to put in that “driven mentality” effort and hunt smart to get it. But each time you bring a bird out over your shoulder that you know came from pushing yourself beyond what you may have done in the past or many other hunters are willing to do, you’ll know you worked hard and “Found the Way” on that particular day.
Grand Slam Network.com
Mossy Oak Pro Staff
A friction call can be a very valuable tool to carry into the spring turkey woods. Unless it is raining, I never leave the truck without at least two slate calls and a handful of mouth calls. As we will discuss later in these friction call tips, there are even a few friction calls that I carry when it is raining. The main thing to take away from this segment will be learning how to properly care for and condition your call so that it will last for many more outings to come, rain or shine.
Care will be the first topic that we discuss, because if you do not properly care for your call, you won’t have it to use for very long. There are many items on the market today that can make caring for your calls a breeze. Several companies, such as Ol’ Tom Technical Turkey Gear, offer carrying cases that either attach to your vest or a belt loop to store box or slate calls, as well as strikers. These cases offer padded protection in case of falls or other bumps and spills not anticipated while hunting, and also keep your calls close at hand for quick use if needed. Some companies also sell plastic containers to store your slate or pot style calls. A measurement of your call diameters and a few minutes on the Tupperware aisle at the grocery store can leave you with some cheap storage to protect your calls from the elements. Not only will Tupperware containers keep your calls dry, but they also protect the surface from unwanted hits and bumps. I always keep a few gallon size plastic bags in my vest, too. You never know when you are going to get caught out in a rainstorm and these bags are useful for storing calls, licenses, camera, phone, etc. These days a custom friction call can sell for $100 or more and often times if they get wet, they can swell and cause the surface to come unglued. A simple sandwich bag can prevent this, but it’s always better to watch a weather forecast and try to prepare for these conditions. If I know that rain is forecasted, all of the custom wood calls are left at home and I go out with a plastic pot, Zink Thunder Ridge aluminum friction call. I take several different strikers that run when wet (carbon, plexiglass, aluminum) to use on this call, and because the surface is aluminum, it does not absorb moisture. As for a box call during the rain, some companies offer calls that claim to “run when wet” that have been dipped in a waterproof coating, and I keep one of these handy for such occasions. These calls are fairly inexpensive and I have found that some yelp extremely well when wet or bone dry. If I know rain is forecasted, I primarily call on a mouth call, but the added volume of friction calls can often be useful to cut through the rain to locate or work a gobbling bird.
Conditioning your friction call is one of the most important parts of getting the right sounds from your call at the right time during hunting situations. You do not want to have a gobbler to be hung up just over the ridge with you needing to condition the surface of your slate call for clucks and purrs. If he can hear you scratching in the leaves, he can hear you sanding that call. I always start out my day conditioning the surface of my calls and strikers before I ever leave the truck. Depending on the moisture in the air and the frequency of calling, I may need to do this quite often while hunting. To make this task easier, I keep a string with a couple of pieces of scotchbrite and a couple of pieces of sandpaper of different grits, tied to my friction call case. This simple creation keeps the conditioning pads close at hand for quick use so that I do not have to dig through my vest for a piece of sandpaper. Between hunting setups and as often as needed when trying to locate a gobbler, I sand the surface and striker tips to keep them as fresh as possible. Conditioning the striker and surface of a pot style call makes the two surfaces that are rubbing together more coarse or abrasive. As you call, the friction made between the objects produces the sound, hence the name “fricition call.” By keeping your calls conditioned, you are maintaining roughened surfaces that will produce the friction needed to make true turkey sounds. In addition to sandpaper and scotchbrite, some other useful items to put in your vest are conditioning stones and chalk. I have found that conditioning stones work much better to roughen the surface of a glass or crystal surface than using sandpaper alone. I often times roughen the surface with the stone first and then finish it off with a fine grit sandpaper. This really allows for the striker to “grab” to the surface to produce clucks, cutts, yelps, etc. Last but not least to keep in your vest for friction call conditioning would be sandpaper. A box call can be a great call to locate and work tight lipped gobblers, but if you do not have some chalk to condition the lid with periodically, you are not producing the best sounds achievable from your call.
These are just a few tips to help you care for and condition some of your friction calls. These tips may not work on all calls, and may not be the best for all situations. I am always trying to learn more tips and tactics to make hunting simpler and more successful. I hope that these tips will do that for you in some of your hunting affairs as well!
2 X Yellville National Friction Champion, 2013 World Championship 1st Runner Up – Two Man Team, 2 X 1st Runner Up – NWTF Grand National Calling Championships, 5 X Alabama State Champion, and Prostaff Member for Zink Calls & Avian X Decoys, Patternmaster, HeviShot Ammunition, Mossy Oak Brand Camouflage, Ol’ Tom Technical Turkey Gear
I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical of the aluminum and other high frequency friction calling surfaces for a long time. High frequency turkey calls are calls that are able to produce the natural sounds of the wild turkey at a louder and much higher pitched level than a traditional call. About fifteen years ago, one call company that had previously been making my favorite friction call in the conventional glass, slate, and crystal surfaces began making calls with aluminum and even ceramic surfaces. I was very hesitant to try these calls for a while and thought that they were just another gimmick to try to sell more products. Seven or eight years ago, a good friend of mine that has been very successful both in the turkey woods and on the competition stage told me how well these calls were working to call in the tough Alabama Eastern gobblers that we had always hunted. After finally buying and running one myself, I no longer step into the woods on a Spring morning in pursuit of a gobbling tom or walk onto a stage for a calling competition without an aluminum friction call by my side.
Today you can purchase an assortment of calls of higher pitch or frequency than a traditional glass or slate call is able to produce. Many companies now make friction calls that combine a crystal or aluminum calling surface over a walnut or cherry pot. You can also find an assortment of box calls that combine cherry or cedar wood boxes with exotic wood lids that are very capable of reaching the higher notes that is often necessary to locate a wary tom. Personally, I keep a Zink Calls Thunder Ridge Series aluminum pot style call and an all cherry wood box call in my vest to achieve these sounds. The combination of striker and call can really intensify the sound that these calls can make when matched properly. I have found that purpleheart or hickory two piece strikers and laminated oak or birch flaretip one piece strikers can really reach a high pitch when paired with the right crystal or aluminum surface. To condition these surfaces, a scotch brite pad works best on an aluminum call and a conditioning stone is my preference for the crystal pot.
Most of my success with these high frequency calls comes from mid-morning to late afternoon. I start my morning off like most hunters, either waiting for a tom to gobble on his own or by blowing an owl hooter or other locator call to pin point his whereabouts. After that, I try to move in as close as possible without spooking the bird and setup in an attempt to trick him into coming my way. If my morning battle with the gobblers does not end successfully, I begin covering ground and using the high frequency friction calls. I prefer to walk the logging roads or ridges, which more often than not in my hunting grounds of West Alabama are covered in plantation pines or are cutovers from some phase of the logging process. During these walks, I frequently stop to yelp in areas where I have either planted food plots, seen turkeys, found sign while scouting, or in areas that will carry the sound of my calling as far as possible. I start out by clucking on the Zink Calls Thunder Ridge Aluminum pot call and I begin calling fairly soft and quiet. I do this because I have always been told that you can always call louder to try to make a gobbler hear you, but you can never get a chance to call softer to a gobbler that you cut and cackled to and scared off that was just over the next ridge. If my initial soft clucks and yelps don’t coax him into a gobble, I will get more aggressive with my clucks and yelps on the aluminum pot while gradually getting louder and putting more emotion into the calling. The clucks and yelps often transition into excited yelping or a series of cuts that often shocks a gobbler into letting you know his position. I have stood on the same ridge and done two or three renditions of this five to ten minutes apart before finally getting a gobble. This whole process often starts out mid morning and goes well into the afternoon if I have a large enough tract of land to cover or if I know turkeys are in the area. These sounds are not limited to the aluminum pot call, and I will often mix it up and make the same calls on a cherry box shortly after running the aluminum call. This sound simulates several hens communicating back and forth which can often coerce a gobble from a tight lipped tom. Once I do get an answer, I do not back off with the intensity of my calling until I know the gobbler is headed my way, and even then, I probably push the limits with the aggressiveness of my calling. I love to hear them gobble, which I know you can make them do too much at times, but this is why I call harder and louder to toms in this situation. More often than not, if you have a mid-morning to late afternoon bird answering you, then his gobbles are just as aggressive as your calling and if your cards are played right, you often get a chance to close the deal! I use a modified version of this tactic for late afternoon toms. If I do not have a gobbler pinpointed, then I will go to an area where I know birds were during the morning or where they frequent in the afternoons. I will often set up a lone hen looker decoy prior to starting my series of calls, and my decoy of preference is from the Avian X line of turkey decoys. I will start off calling softly just like it was breaking daylight. I will switch from soft yelps to clucks and purrs, all the while, scratching in the leaves trying to sound like feeding turkeys. This soft calling that starts out on a Zink Calls two reed mouth call, eventually turns into the loud and aggressive calling on the high frequency aluminum pot or cherry box calls if have not gotten a response during the first half hour of my setup. Just like midday hunting, if I get a response from a gobbler, I keep pouring the calling to him trying to keep him excited enough to come my way in time to bag the bird before he flies up onto the limb.
The situations, setups, and calling styles mentioned are definitely not ideal for every situation, or every hunter for that matter, but I have found that they have worked for me over the last few years from Florida to Tennessee to Texas, and everywhere in between. High frequency turkey calls definitely bring a new element to calling and hunting situations, and they add one more weapon to your arsenal of tactics that you can try on tight lipped gobblers. If you are like me, you are willing to try anything that it takes in an attempt to tricking a gobbler to commit to your setup, and I hope that by reading this, you have either added one more tool to your tool belt or at least been mildly entertained. If you are going to try this tactic and are not yet equipped with the right gear, then I would definitely give the high frequency friction calls manufactured by Zink Calls and the lifelike and portable Avian X Decoys a try this turkey season.
2006 & 2011 National Friction Champion
Prostaff & Elite Calling Team member for Zink Calls, Avian X Decoys, Mossy Oak, Ol’ Tom Technical Turkey Gear, and HeviShot Ammunition
Well, by now you should know that different types of wood sound different on friction calls. One of my favorite things to do at a convention is to run a wide variety of friction calls with a plethora of strikers. In doing so, you can find the call and striker combination that you like best. In addition to the sound, you’ll find a striker that has the right balance and feel for the way you grip the striker. That is why I own every combination of striker from Beard Hunter Calls. Not only are they a work of art – but they have a great feel and balance – which is important to me. My personal favorites are the Purple Heart and Hickory strikers.
We home these videos of turkey sounds will help you become a better turkey caller this spring in the turkey woods!
Turkey Sounds – Excited Yelp!
Not only do these guys know how to work a bird – they catch some great video footage of turkey sounds in the process. In this video, you can hear how fast the hen is yelping.
Fast forward to 7:30 to 8:00
Turkey Sounds – Yelps, cuts and kee kee
This is from the same group of guys, the Southern Gentlemen on YouTube. The entire video has some great calling, but starting at 2:40 you have some great spring time kee kee runs. Most young turkeys kee kee in the fall, but as this video shows, turkey do kee kee in the spring as well. With a little practice, the kee kee can be done quite easily with the mouth call. Click here to see a video of Jimbo Lindsey doing the kee kee with a pot call. Again, its not too hard to do – the key is to pinch or torque the striker and you typically run the call toward the outer edge.
Turkey Sounds – Yelps and Cuts
In this video really captures the hen’s yelps and cuts up close. It appears to be taken in the fall.
Turkey Sounds – Cutting
In this video the hen is cutting and purring as she searches out what she believes is another hen.
For the best sound, always keep your slate, glass, and crystal friction calls conditioned. Slate calls can be conditioned with Scotch Brite pads that can be found at most stores like Walmart or Home Depot. Simply run the Scotch Brite pad back and forth over the call’s surface. Scotch Brite can also be used to clean the tips of your striker – you really don’t want to use sandpaper! Sandpaper can change the shape of the striker’s tip. For glass and crystal calls, I recommend using a conditioning stone like David does in this video, but you can also use drywall sandpaper.
One of my favorite call makers to visit at events is Russell Beard from Beard Hunter Calls. He make some fine calls! In this video, Russell shows us how to run his scratch box turkey call. The call is easy to use and as you can see in the video, it makes some really nice clucks, purrs and yelps.
Use this method for roosting turkey in New Mexico and kill more turkeys this Spring! New Mexico is an awesome state to harvest your Merriams turkey for your grand slam! There is lots of public land to hunt turkey, elk and other game. One of the most effective ways to locate merriams turkey in New Mexico is to use a high pitched crow call when roosting them in the evening. You can literally drive the roads boarding public land, stop every 1/4 mile and locate birds for the mornings hunt. Watch this video to see how one of New Mexico’s finest turkey hunters, Ryan Bates, roosts his merriams!
In this turkey calling tips video with David Halloran, he covers the following pot call tips that will help you call in more turkey this spring:
How to hold a pot call. Make sure you don’t grip the call too tight.
Demonstration on how to cut with a pot call
How to kee kee on a pot friction call by griping the striker tight and using the outer edge of the call surface
How to purr and cluck on a pot call by letting the striker skip across the surface
The Crystal Mistress’ sister has arrived – the Twisted Sister. She’s a raspy yelping, sharp cutting call that is sure to bring tom in on a rope. The laminate pot combines the stability of thermal treated poplar with the tonal quality of yellow heart. When matched with the crystal striking surface over a slate soundboard, this call becomes a devastating tool in the turkey woods. Each call comes with a dymondwood striker and a purple heart striker.