Words of advice for hunters: Turkey Calls 101

For those people wanting to learn their Turkey calls, ThunderHawk reporter Seth Parker offers up his best info on how to do them.

Box Calls: By far one of the most basic calls to use and it is excellent for beginner callers. Despite the fact that it can be mastered by beginners, this call is used by all levels of experience and is very versatile. It is capable of making the fly down cackle, cutting, purr, cluck and yelp. It is extremely simple to use, just drag the paddle across the box or vise versa to make a noise. Different types of turkey talk require different movements on the call, but they are easy to get the hang of doing. There are plenty of different makes, shapes and sizes to choose from, but all function similarly. “Wet Box” by Primos. 

Box calls tend to make a higher pitch sound and are perfect for getting the sound to travel on a windy day. No doubt this call is a good one to have in the gear bag!

Slate Calls: Slate calls are made up of two separate pieces: both a slate stone or glass surface, and a striker. The noise on this call is also made from friction as the striker is moved across the slate. Many different noises can be made on the slate call, and is also quite easy to master. For example yelps are made by “drawing” small ovals on the slate with the striker at the correct angle. Clucks can be made by slightly moving the striker in a quick downward movement.

Different strikers can vary in sound, pitch and volume. Having a selection of strikers to choose from is a good thing to have when out in the field. Remember, different turkeys respond to different sounds, they like variety. For example, a plastic tipped striker will make a raspier sound than that of a rosewood striker that makes a cleaner, louder noise. So experiment with different strikers and slates. Primos “Kung-fu Grip” slate.

 Mouth Diaphragms: Of all the turkey calls on the market, the mouth call is the most difficult to master. But don’t let that discourage you. When you do figure these unique calls out, the rewards are bountiful. The mouth call is a simple latex reed or reeds surrounded on one end by thin nylon to fit your mouth. It fits to the roof of your mouth as the middle of your tongue rests lightly on the reed.

This call is by far the most versatile and has the biggest range in sounds and pitches. There are many shapes and different skill levels, for beginners and experts. Single reeds are the easiest to use before moving up the skill level to double and then to triple reeds. The sounds are made by forcing air through your tongue and the reeds. The shape of your mouth and pressure of your tongue on the reed all play a part in the pitch, volume and quality of sound. Once you get a sound out of your call, you can begin to form that sound into a call note. Once learned, this call will always be with you in the woods!

Knight and Hale mouth diaphragm

Locator calls: Locator calls aren’t really the sounds of a turkey, but can really help you in finding that big thunder chicken. These calls are used to locate gobblers from a distance. Once the call is let out, usually a distant gobbler will gobble back at it. They want to be the loudest thing in the woods. They come in many different varieties and sounds. Peacocks, owl, coyote and crow are some of the different calls that are made to get a long-beard to holler back. Although they may be overlooked as un-needed, they are a good tool to have with you when trying to figure out where to set up in the wee hours of the morning.


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