Turkeys are intelligent birds that move surprisingly quickly for their size. This means that hunters need any advantage to bring in a good harvest. Calls are one of the most popular ways to bring turkeys in for a clear shot.
Types of turkey calls
There are five main types of calls used for turkey.
|Versatile, great range
|Close range, hands free
|Pot and striker
|Creates widest variety of sounds, great volume over distance
|Easiest to master, good range, not as versatile as above
|Mimics other species of birds to aggravate toms
Box calls are a classic turkey call thanks to their simple design and success in a wide range of environments. They can mimic chirps, clucks, cuts, purrs, cackles, and whines, and are best used in the early morning or late evening when toms are traveling to or from their roost. Wooden box calls can become damaged in wet weather.
Diaphragm calls sit inside the mouth, leaving your hands free for other activities. They are extremely realistic, and work best at close ranges. They can therefore be used alongside louder calls: a box call can bring turkeys in, and then the hunter can switch to the more realistic diaphragm calls. Diaphragm calls require significant practice and expertise: you’ll need to spend some time learning how to sound natural and fool turkeys with this call.
Pot and striker calls
If you’re looking to create the widest variety of calls, pot and striker is the best option. They take less time to master than diaphragm calls, but still expect to spend some time learning this instrument. They require both hands to operate, have excellent range, and are fairly weatherproof.
Push-button calls are a great option for beginners or for hunters who just don’t want to learn the more complex calls. These are affordable calls with excellent range. However, they are also less realistic, and require both hands to operate.
Locator calls mimic an intrusive bird, like a crow, hawk, woodpecker, or owl. These calls aggravate toms, who don’t like the idea of a strange bird in their space. The tom will call back, letting the hunter know where the tom is. Once you’ve found the turkeys using the locator call, it’s time to switch to a more realistic turkey call to lure them in.