I had a conversation with a fellow turkey hunter this past winter where the talk turned to calling. He told me flat out that calling doesn't matter, being in the right place does.
I respectfully disagreed. Being in the right place is always better than the wrong place, but to summarily dismiss calling as unnecessary is insane to me.
Case-in-point is a hunting partner of mine who is by far one of the worst callers I've ever encountered. He doesn't understand the cadence or rhythm, and just plain stinks at calling.
Listening to him call is as painful as listening to someone who is six beers into the night pick up a guitar and try to play it for the first time.
My buddy kills very, very few turkeys and I'm positive it's because his calling is terrible.
In fact, that pretty much has to be the reason because when we hunt the same properties together I consistently get far more shots than he does. What calls you should be using are up to personal choice, but the best bet is to learn to use several very well.
On any given hunt I probably carry at least a half dozen calls of various varieties, sometimes using all of them in a single sequence and other times only using one for an entire sit.
If you're looking to fill your vest with a few new calls, consider the following options (all will work, provided you spend a little time getting good with them).
Cabela's | SLT Full-Frame Ghost Cut Diaphragm Call
The name of this call is a mouth full, which is appropriate considering it's a mouth call (get it?). Cabela's stepped into the turkey call game in a major way last year and I spent quite a bit of blind time using several of their SLT calls. One call that I'm hooked on is the Full-Frame Ghost Cut Diaphragm Call
, but not for obvious reasons.
This is a killer fall turkey call because of the kee kees and whistles you can create with it. Those high-pitched calls are not as common to hear in the spring, but a subtle whistle or do-wit call that signals all is well and we are scratching away is perfect for hung-up toms. They don't hear those calls from hunters very often, and I often use them when toms are henned up. Content feeding hen calls will also bring in hens, and you know who will be following the live ladies?
Flextone Game Calls | Thunder Spit-N-Drum
Few sounds are as exciting as the bass-note drum of a tom. You know when you hear that sound that he is close — really close. And that he is strutting. Until recently, finding a call to mimic the spitting and drumming of a longbeard was nearly impossible.
Fortunately, Flextone Game Calls
has created the Spit-N-Drum
. Used with a full-strut decoy, this call can be the difference between shotgun range and bow range. Nearby gobblers who hear a tom drumming are not likely to put up with it, and this is a great way to get birds to fully commit to in-your-face archery range.
Hunter Specialties | Limb Shaker Pro Pack
Getting a tom to bust loose with a gobble often takes a little coaxing at first light. There is nothing better than an owl hooter to complete this task. The folks at Hunter Specialties
know this, which is why they've created the Limb Shaker Pro Pack
. This kit contains their Limb Shaker Owl Hooter to start things off and find a roosted bird.
Phase two involves the Limb Shaker Friction Pot Call, which features a pre-sanded glass surface that is ideal for creating subtle tree yelps and then more excited calls as he flies down and starts in your direction. Better yet, the Pot Call is weather resistant meaning that even if you're out in the rain, you'll still be able to coax him into range.
Knight & Hale | Scarlet Fever Pot Call
Not all pot calls are created the same, which is evidenced by Knight & Hale's new Scarlet Fever
, which is built from walnut that is kiln dried to exactly eight-percent moisture to remove any inconsistencies in the wood. This call also features a crystal striking surface to produce rich, raspy calls.
This is one of the best pot calls I've ever used, and if you're a fan of friction calls the Scarlet Fever is a must-have. Any turkey hunter worth his salt in the woods had better know how to operate a pot call, and a good starting point would be to get a really good one like the Scarlet Fever. After that, more gobblers will appear suicidal to you, which is a good thing.
Maestro Game Calls | Short Cutt
The Short Cutt
, a diminutive box call from Maestro Game Calls
that is built with red-cedar is capable of producing some pretty sweet turkey sounds. Soft yelps, cutts and purrs are possible, which stands in contrast to an awful lot of box calls on the market that seem to be designed to create the loudest calls imaginable.
This Made-In-The-USA call is ideal for seasoned callers, but also for novices looking to master the art of box calls.
Primos Hunting | Bamboozled Box Call
Bamboo (get it?) is used in the new Bamboozled Box Call from Primos Hunting
to trick longbeards into thinking they are hearing a lusty hen. Combining a bamboo lid with a hardwood box creates high-pitched yelps that sound crisp and raspy at the same time.
They also carry, which is ideal for windy days, or when calling to toms at a distance. If this sounds like a bunch of hogwash, consider that bamboo has a very pronounced grain to it, which is ideal for creating friction — and friction is exactly how box calls create their sounds.
Quaker Boy | Turkey THUGS Full Tilt Glass
Take a close look at Quaker Boy's unique Turkey THUGS Full Tilt Glass
call and you'll see it's not shaped like other pot calls. Instead, it's shallow on one end and deeper on the opposite end, which results in a variable sound chamber that allows for the creation of sweet sounding cutts, clucks, purrs and yelps.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a pot call that allows for more variation in volume and tones, which is ideal for hunting pressured birds.
Zink Calls | Signature Series Pro Pak
tapped into three of their pros to create the Signature Series Pro Pack
, which contains a trio of killer mouth calls. For starters, Matt Morrett's call is designed with two thin reeds and a heavier top reed to create a truly raspy sound. Josh Grossenbacker's design, also features three reeds but utilizes a 'combo' cut, which allows users the chance to make two-note yelps, that start with a high front-end and finish with a low rasp.
Lastly, Hunter Wallis had his hand in creating his contribution, which uses mixed latex and a 'V' cut on the top reed to create perfect sounding calls of all varieties. If you're a bowhunter and you don't use mouth calls, you're missing out and need to get one — or three.