Unlike deer hunting, calling is one of the most important things in turkey hunting. When hunting turkeys in the spring it would be almost impossible to harvest a turkey without calling. Knowing how to use calls will make you a much better hunter. In this article I will tell you about the various calls available and how and when to use them.
The box call is one of the easiest calls to learn. A sound is produced by sliding a wooden lid across an open box. Most box calls are made out of different types of wood. Some of the newer ones use aluminum. The main advantage of using an aluminum box call is that it can be used in the rain, unlike wooden box calls.
The box call has a limited range of calls that can be made. The yelp and cutting or cackling can be done easily on the box call. However, it is not as easy to do a cluck or a purr. The best time to use a box call is to locate turkeys or when you are trying to try get one to gobble. The box call is not a good choice when a turkey is in close range. You have to make a lot of movement to use the box call. If a turkey sneaks up on you and you have a box call in your hand, try to hide the box call behind your legs to make calls. A turkey’s eyesight is much better than ours and if it sees you move your hand, it will spook quickly.
The slate call is usually picked up quickly by most beginners. To make sounds on a slate call you pull a striker across a circular surface made out of slate, glass, aluminum, or a combination of these materials. The strikers are made out of different types of wood, plastic, and carbon. Each surface and striker for a slate call makes a little different sound. Sometimes all it takes is a little different sound to make a turkey gobble. It is a good idea to have a couple slate calls and a few different strikers.
The slate produces the best sounds of any of the calls. It can produce every call well. The only call that is somewhat difficult to do on a slate is cutting. A yelp is made by making small circles with the striker. A cluck is made by making a quick and sharp pull on the slate. A purr is made by dragging the striker slowly across the slate. Cutting is produced by doing fast and excited clucking.
Last, but definitely not least, is the diaphragm call. This is the most popular of turkey calls, but it is also the hardest to learn. A diaphragm call consists of latex reeds, an aluminum frame or frames, and a skirt. The call is placed in the roof of your mouth and the tip of your tongue should be just over the front of the call. The obvious advantage with the diaphragm call is that your hands are free.
The diaphragm call can make all of the turkey sounds. You make turkey sounds by pushing air through the diaphragm call and forming your mouth to say certain words. Here is a list of words that I form with my mouth when I produce different calls.
The diaphragm is a hard call to learn and it may take some practice to get used to it. It took me a while to finally get it down and it is the only call I have used to harvest turkeys. When getting your first diaphragm call, ask someone at the store what a good call is for beginners. Certain calls are easier to learn on than others.
- Cluck: Putt
- Yelp: Choulk
- Purr: I role the back of my throat or you can vibrate your lips.
- Cutting: kit-kit-kit-kit-kit-kit (fast and excited clucking)
- Cackle: same as cutting, just change my rhythm a little
IMPORTANT: When using the diaphragm be especially careful not to be too loud when you are calling. If you are too loud, you could scare a turkey away. If you have a turkey coming into your calls, lower the volume of your calls so that you do not scare him and so that he does not know your exact location.
NOTE: My favorite calls are made by Mad Calls and Primos Calls. I have tried a lot of different calls and I have found these calls to be my favorites. I do not think you could go wrong buying any of their products.
I hope that this article describing the various turkey calls available will help you in choosing your turkey calls. Turkey calling is not something that comes right away. Make sure that you practice turkey calling a lot before you go hunting. Good luck this turkey hunting season!
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Modified box call