Besides sitting still, calling is one of the most important elements of a successful Turkey hunt. During the Spring hunt, Turkeys are focused on one thing, finding hens. This means that you are not only competing with other Turkey hunters but also other Turkeys. Making a realistic call is critical for getting within shooting range to one of these birds. This article will cover the four types of Turkey calls, as well as a locator call, to get you started for this year’s season.
The first call that you will use when you go out Turkey hunting this spring will not be mimicking a Turkey, but rather a Crow. Crow calls are used as “locator calls” by turkey hunters in order to locate the roosting Turkeys that will respond to this call. The science isn’t really out on why they respond to crow calls, but other loud sounds such as car doors, coyote howls, and dogs barking can also spark this reaction known as a “Shock Gobble”. These calls are often used the night before a hunt to help you establish where you will set up in the morning, though firing a few off in the morning can help confirm your findings from the night before.
Once you have located the roosting tree or have at least set up in the first spot of the day, you will have four calls to choose from. The first of these calls is known as a Push-button Call. Push-button calls are great beginner calls as they are very simple to use and produce consistently crisp calls with just the press of a small lever. The downside to these calls is that they are rather limited in the number of calls they can make and they often have trouble working in the rain due to the reduced friction between the moving pieces of the call.
A similar, though slightly more versatile, style of call is the Box Call. Like the Push Button Call, these calls use friction between a chalked surface and a wooden edge to produce crisp yelps and clucks. These calls are much more versatile than the Push Button calls, as you are able to control the volume of the call much easier by adjusting the pressure you put on the call. They also allow for a wider range of calls to be used, with experienced turkey hunters mixing in sharp clucks and soft purrs into their calling.
Slate Calls are another option for those hunters who are willing to put in a bit more practice time. These calls require two hands, scratching a slate block with the striker to produce a wide range of sounds. These calls can produce nearly every call you will need in the woods this season, though the required use of both your hands makes it tough to call once the turkey is in range.
While all these calls can be effective and can produce some very successful hunts, one call stands above the rest in terms of quality and versatility. The Diaphragm or Mouth Call is by far the most versatile call, allowing you to have full control over the wide range of sounds they can make while still having full use of both your hands. Although these calls do require a lot of practice, their effectiveness is well worth the practice time. The hands-free aspect is perhaps the best feature of these calls, as the clucks and purrs when the turkey is within sight are often the difference in the hunt and are very difficult to make with any call that requires the use of your hands. This was something I experienced first-hand this past season when a Tom within 20 yards of me was standing directly behind a tree, making a clean shot nearly impossible. The quiet clucks and purrs I was able to make with my mouth call while sitting perfectly still made all the difference, bringing the bird out from behind the tree and right into my shooting range.
Although some calls are easier than others, it is important to put the time in and practice your calling before the season no matter which call you decide to use. Listening to other callers is a great way to get the hang of some of the more basic calls and watching videos of turkey hunts and turkey behavior can really help get the timing of the calls down.SPRING TURKEY CALLS