How to Purr With a Mouth Call

Proper mouth positioning and airflow control are essential to creating clear purrs on a turkey call, as demonstrated in this video from NWTF Grand National mouth-calling champion Scott Ellis. Watch his step-by-step tutorial below!

Purring is all about creating a gentle rolling “R,” and to make the experience more realistic, add some soft clucks between purrs.

Tongue Fluttering

Purring is an important skill to master for hunting turkeys as it draws in those that may otherwise be out of range. To purr on a mouth call, pin it to the roof of your mouth while pushing air upward from your chest into your throat while simultaneously fluttering it back and forth; practice is necessary but eventually this technique can become second nature.

Establishing correct mouth positioning and airflow are essential to creating crisp purrs on a turkey call. To start, place it in your mouth with its reeds facing down, placing it against the roof with the tip of your tongue touching them, placing against your mouth’s roof while making a rolling motion with tongue creating vibration on reeds to produce purrs.

As you attempt to learn how to purr with a mouth call, keep in mind that your gag reflex may become active at first. To overcome this hurdle, practice by placing either a small single-reed or double-reed call in your mouth for several repetitions and slowly moving it forward until you can produce sound through this method.

Another method for producing realistic purring sounds is through tongue fluttering. To do this, take in a large volume of air and allow your tongue to lay very limp before quickly flicking it in circular motions to vibrate the uvula (that dangly thing at the back of your throat) with light tongue pressure; this may produce purrs as well.

Once you’ve mastered purring, the next step should be clucking and yelping. To cluck, strike the call hard with more air for short loud cuts that resonate through its pipes. Clucking can create more natural sounds when combined with soft purrs and yelps to produce an authentic soundscape.


Purrs are soft rolling sounds used by turkeys to communicate. Purring can help soothe an anxious bird or encourage an out-of-range gobbler to come closer, so practicing different types of purrs with your mouth call can help create realistic sounds.

To create a purr, place your call in your mouth and apply a gentle stream of air, before flicking your tongue against it to produce vibration. For an array of purrs, practice this technique at various volumes and speeds – it may help! Additionally, it’s essential that your turkey mouth call stays clean between uses to avoid moisture or debris build-up that could compromise sound quality.

Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals of purring, more complex sounds can be explored. A basic purr is a quiet rolling sound that mimics that of an contented hen; to make them more realistic and attract more turkeys. Clucking punctuating purrs will only add realism – so be sure to practice often at various volumes so as to control how much air flow is necessary for each sound! To become proficient with using turkey mouth calls it’s also essential that regularly practicing using different volume settings as this will enable you to control exactly how much airflow is necessary to produce certain sounds.

Some hunters may find using a mouth call challenging. The first hurdle to navigating when learning how to use one is the gag reflex; to overcome it, start small and gradually increase its size as your use it more comfortably. Furthermore, practicing using your call in the field helps familiarize you with its sound and feel.

Get the right sound out of a turkey mouth call can be challenging, but with regular practice you will become adept. To create an effective purr, pin the call to the roof of your mouth and push air through it while simultaneously vibrating it with lips and tongue flutters and lip/tongue vibratoes. Short and nonthreatening purrs work best; longer ones may help draw wary birds in. Also try feeding purrs for greater results or try more aggressive sounds like feeding purrs to attract turkeys within bow range.


If a tom’s not gobbling on your slate call, you can still produce realistic-sounding clucks and purrs by blowing or flaring lips or pushing up on the front reed. It’s an easy technique that will make you sound more like a turkey!

Clucking can be used when hunting tom turkeys just outside shooting range, when you want them closer. Clucking sounds similar to cooing and should be performed in short bursts for optimal effectiveness. Clucking can also be combined with other calls like yelps and cutts for greater effect.

Clucking sounds can vary in volume and tone depending on how hard you blow and apply tongue pressure, so be careful that when clucking that your mouth doesn’t open too wide; otherwise you risk losing that realistic vibration that makes this sound so convincing.

To mimic a high-pitched, two-note yelp of a hen in fall, push up on the reed and narrow your air passage under your tongue while saying, “kee-kee.” For an intense raspy sound, apply more pressure while saying, “chalk” while moving your jaw up and down.

Create a yelp with a slate call by running a peg across its surface in little lines or ovals and then striking it with your fingers. To create a cackle sound, string together several fast, raspy yelps followed by some soothing clucks before ending it all with some soothing noises.

Box calls require slightly different techniques than diaphragm calls to produce realistic turkey calls with soft, soft yelps, clucks and wines that mimic wild turkey sounds. While box calls have smaller sound chambers and less tongue control than diaphragm calls, they remain popular among hunters and come in multiple models.

Hunters often recommend saying, “yelp” into a box call in order to imitate how hens open and close their mouths when calling for game birds. Others use short lines or ovals drawn across the call surface by running peg along surface with short line or oval for soft yelp, or applying more pressure onto reed for louder calls.


Some turkey hunters consider yelping to be one of the most essential calls when calling a mature gobbler. Hens use yelping as an important means of communicating between themselves and attracting gobblers during mating season; successfully mimicking this call can make you seem like an experienced pro. Running two notes simultaneously — slower front note followed by raspy second note — to mimic how hens open and close their mouths as they make calls can help make the difference when calling mature gobblers.

An effective mouth call consists of latex reeds, soundboard and aluminum frame with tape skirt. To produce various sounds with it, simply position the call in your mouth with tongue placed on top for air seal and use fingers to tighten this tight air seal around rounded edge of reed (rounded edge should rest against roof of mouth and angle tip touches lower lip) until air is sealed tightly around all parts.

When blowing into a mouth call, it should feel as though you’re clearing fog off a window or puffing after an aggravating conversation. Too much pressure or puffy cheeks may prevent quality sounds from coming through the speaker – experiment with different amounts of pressure until your throat doesn’t become tickled or irritating your jawbones!

New turkey hunters often struggle with producing the high, whiney front note of a yelp. To overcome this obstacle, try producing two short strokes first until you achieve that sound and then making full strokes for full effectiveness.

Once you can yelp, it’s time to develop additional calling techniques such as clucking and cackles. For a cluck, lightly pop the handle of your call against the sounding lip while moving your lips up and down; to produce quick sharp clucks press hard on the handle while skipping air over the sounding board in short lines or ovals; for cackles combine quick sharp clucks with several short, reassuring yelps before concluding with loud raspy sounds before finishing with loud raspy sounds before cackles resound for good measure!

About the Author