The Kee-Kee Run in Spring Turkey Hunting

The Kee-Kee Run in Spring Turkey Hunting

Not just a fall hunting call, the kee-kee run will bring gobblers to the bag in the spring, too. (Photo by Ron Sinfelt)

An opening-weekend gobbler had wandered down a pine ridge, out of range and ignoring my decoys, when he first had the chance to make a beeline at them.

He gobbled at everything, though, including the usual assortment of yelps and clucks. This early in the year, my educated guess was he’d flocked-up with hens I either hadn’t noticed, or that he regularly bumped into hens nearby and was in a hurry to meet them.

He lingered close by but out of sight, gobbling at crows, owls, tweety birds, and a distant truck horn on the highway. Desperate for a change in luck, I threw a kee-kee run cadence at him. Right on cue, a boss hen responded, topping the ridge in front of me within moments, her 20-hen entourage and the tom close behind.

The kee-kee is a three-note, high-pitched whistle, an assembly vocalization utilized mostly by jakes and jennies to stay in touch with the adults in the group. They develop this call within a few weeks of hatching. The kee-kee run takes those three notes and tacks on a series of yelps as the animals mature. These calls are commonly used by fall turkey hunters in combination with busting up a flock and calling them to the shotgun in states where such things are legal. However, the kee-kee and kee-kee run have their place in the spring, too.


Replicating this noise is relatively easy, especially with sturdy two- and three-reed mouth calls without too many cuts in the latex. The caller should apply a bit more pressure with the tongue than normal when making a yelp, and repeat “pea-pea-pea” followed by a half-dozen yelps. Friction calls require a bit more practice to perfect based on the quality of the call and surface type.


The kee-kee is a three-note, high-pitched whistle, an assembly vocalization utilized mostly by jakes and jennies to stay in touch with the adults in the group.

Metallic surfaces and glass surfaces generally produce a more-realistic sound than slate calls, but with a little investment in pot-and-peg time, just about all of them will create some enthusiastic semblance of these sounds. Dozens of tutorial YouTube videos exist in cyberspace to educate turkey hunters about this sound, no matter the type of factory call.

For spring turkey hunters, the kee-kee run is successful in scenarios when gobblers are trailing hens early in the season.

The call is more for the purpose of attracting that dominant female than the tom, but when they’re playing follow-the-leader, this is a solid strategy. Of course, curious jakes and sometimes pairs of two-year-old satellite males have no qualms investigating the sound. These are also fine locator calls, as that high-pitch refrain will shock-gobble toms.

Last season, I had a trophy gobbler strutting with hens 200 yards at the end of a field. I’d crawled through an irrigation ditch and placed a jake strutter decoy in front of me.


The morning stillness was giving way to a breeze. The gobbler paid no attention until I hit that kee-kee run on the mouth call. He half-strutted, half-gobbled, trotting all the way across the field until he died at 20 yards. Not sure if he didn’t hear the other calls or didn’t care, but the kee-kee run/jake decoy combination worked, and my trophy room is one mounted gobbler stronger as a result.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

As OSG's Lynn Burkhead looks on, Josh Neville shows off the cordless and corded versions of a new electric filet knife from Bubba Blades.

Humminbird Mega 360 Imaging Sonar

Humminbird Mega 360 Imaging Sonar

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

Mustad

Mustad's Inkvader Octopus Live Jig

From big fish to small, just about any saltwater game fish out there will love the new Mustad Inkvader Octopus Live Jig that Mustad's Russ Whisler shows to OSG's Lynn Burkhead.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

See More Trending Articles

More Turkey

Having the right choke tube installed can mean the difference between a kill and a whiff. Here's how to choose the right one. Guns

Kill More Toms With the Right Choke Tube

Tom Keer - April 13, 2020

Having the right choke tube installed can mean the difference between a kill and a whiff....

Try these proven tactics to turn your season around when getting a gobbler becomes tough. Turkey

Tough Turkeys: 7 Secrets to Saving Your Season

Paul Rackley - April 07, 2020

Try these proven tactics to turn your season around when getting a gobbler becomes tough.

Lovesick toms throughout the West range farther than most hunters think. These tips will help you tag more of them. Turkey

Turkey Hunting: Intercept Traveling Toms

Scott Haugen - April 27, 2020

Lovesick toms throughout the West range farther than most hunters think. These tips will help...

Midwest turkeys: If you set up right, fencelines can be used to funnel birds right to you. Turkey

Turn Fencelines Into Turkey Funnels

Joel Nelson - May 07, 2020

Midwest turkeys: If you set up right, fencelines can be used to funnel birds right to you.

See More Turkey

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now