By Josh Boyd
With turkey season just over the horizon, hunters across the nation will begin to sort through their gear from the previous year and ponder worthy purchases for the weeks ahead. Though shells, decoys, and blinds are often in high demand, few items receive as much attention during this time of the year as turkey calls.
While most individuals own at least one call that they would not part with for any amount of money, those that are new to turkey hunting, or running a call, likely find themselves lost in the vast sea of today’s market offerings.
Standing in front of a twenty-foot long wall of calls in an aisle of your local sporting goods store can often be somewhat intimidating if you do not know where to begin when making your selection. This is hardly an issue contained to newcomers of the sport, as many veteran turkey hunters become similarly dismayed at the thought of varying from what has produced successes in the past.
With such a broad spectrum of calls to choose from, how is one to know where to begin? How do you know which turkey call is best suited to your needs?
The box call is one of the oldest and most commonly used varieties of turkey calls. This call consists of a hollow, rectangular box and a paddle that free-floats on a pivot to allow reciprocating movement across the top edges of the box’s open sound chamber. The resulting friction emits turkey-like sounds that can be used to lure a wise tom into range.
Box calls are an excellent choice for both beginners and seasoned hunters alike. A simple series of yelps or cuts can be reproduced with a minimal learning curve, and those that are new to box call use can become proficient in relatively short order.
Additionally, a box call is capable of cranking out yelps at eardrum-shattering decibel ranges, making it a great choice when attempting to get the attention of a distant gobbler. However, with ample practice, the sound output can be toned down to a level that is ideal for working a tom that is nearly in range.
Pot And Peg Call
Pot and peg calls, or slate calls as known by many, are another constant companion of a countless number of turkey hunters each spring. These calls utilize a handheld striker (peg) that is drawn across the surface of a friction medium, which is contained within a dish-shaped housing (pot), to create turkey-like sounds.
A pot and peg call is extremely versatile, as it can replicate nearly any vocalization of the hen turkey, and can do so at nearly any volume. Though these calls can take a little practice to master, most individuals can become proficient enough to work birds without much trouble.
Many varieties of the pot and peg call exist in today’s market, with the most notable difference being in the type of surface material that is used. These materials include glass, aluminum, and slate, among several others. Each surface material features different tonal characteristics with some being substantially more far-reaching in regards to volume than others.
If you are new to turkey hunting or running a call, and have limited time to practice before season commences, the push-button call is quite possibly the call for you. These calls consist of a box with a wooden surface contained within, and a push-button rod that is attached to an additional corresponding friction surface. With the push of a button, these two surfaces rub against one another, reproducing realistic turkey vocalizations.
The push-button call takes only minutes to become accustomed to, and can be used to a high degree of success, much the same as that of any other variety of calls. These calls are also a wonderful way of introducing children to calling, as even the most novice of callers can easily produce sufficiently realistic yelps, clucks, and purrs.
Another added advantage of a push-button call is that it can be manipulated with minimal movement, using only one hand when the need arises. This makes it a wonderful tool for finishing stubborn gobblers when cover is scarce.
It is no secret that diaphragm calls have garnered much fanfare for many years, and only seem to be growing in popularity with each successive season. These calls take versatility to the max, accurately replicating the vocalizations of a wild hen turkey at every turn.
A diaphragm call is made up of a series of reeds, commonly made of latex, that are stretched across a metallic horseshoe-shaped frame. When a hunter forces air across these reeds, the resulting vibrations create a myriad of vocalizations including yelps, clucks, cuts, and purrs.
Of added benefit is that a diaphragm call requires no hand movement to operate, making it the ultimate in stealth when seeking to seal the deal under the ever-watchful eye of an alert tom. A hunter can adjust the volume of his or her calling by simply changing the amount of air that is expressed across the call’s reeds.
Selecting a Call That Fits You
When selecting the best call to suit your needs, many factors come into play. One must give due consideration to factors such as the style of hunting in which they partake in, as well as personal preferences toward their favored calling approach, when assigning value to one style of call over another.
Perhaps the best solution to such a decision is to expand your horizons and give all the above-mentioned calls their rightful spot in your turkey vest this spring. You will be assured to never be without just the right call for the situation at hand.