With Spring Turkey season 2020 rapidly approaching now is a great time to polish up your calling technique or to pick up a call or two and start practicing if you are new to “talking turkey”.
Interestingly, when calling in Toms you are actually trying to reverse the natural order of things. In nature, it is the Toms who do the calling and the hens seek them out. That being said its simply not safe to have thousands of people in the woods during turkey season making gobbles—especially considering that due to the fact turkeys see so well we do not wear orange while hunting them.
So we are trying to get the tom, who typically is used to staying put while the ladies come to find him to get up and go seek them out himself. Accomplishing this requires you to convince him you are one good looking hen and worth the extra effort he may not normally make.
Types of Calls:
Push Button Call – This is a wood box with a dowel on a spring running through it. You push the dowel and the box makes the cluck and purr of a Hen. The advantage of this type of call is that it is very easy to operate (push a button). Also it can be done one-handed and even mounted onto the side of your shotgun. The disadvantage is that the wood can warp/crack in inclement weather. These calls tend to be relatively inexpensive and readily available.
Box Call – This is a long rectangular box with the thin “lid” of the box mounted with a bolt-on one side allowing it to pivot back and forth on a pendulum motion. As the top pivots, it forces air into the box creating the Hen sounds. This is a very easy call to get good at and produces some nice turkey sounds. However, it requires both hands to operate and a lot of movement which is bad when hunting birds.
Slate/Pot Call – The pot call is a lid sized circle at least a half-inch thick or so typically. The surface of the call is slate, glass, or any other surface that can produce the sounds of female turkeys. The pot call is held in one hand, while in the other handa wood striker is held like a pencil and drawn across the surface to create purrs, clicks, yelps, etc. The different surface substances used can alter the pitch and timbre of the call. This is a great call that sounds ultra-realistic and is pretty easy to master. It does require some two-handed movement but not nearly as much as a box call.
Diaphragm Call – The Diaphragm call is the ultimate turkey call, but also the hardest to master. It is a half-circle shaped call that you put in the roof of your mouth. The call contains 1 or more reeds that produce Turkey noises based on the amount of airflow you let in (via vibrating the reeds). These calls sound the most realistic out of all the calls we mentioned, though are also some of the toughest calls to master. Another benefit of this call is hands-free operation which allows the hunter to call (causing the Tom to lift his head away from his body for a clean shot) while having the shotgun aimed at the bird.
Whichever call you decide to go with make sure that in the weeks leading up to turkey season you are practicing with it each day. Have fun, be safe, and don’t be surprised if after using you new call Toms come strutting in to check out the new Hen in town.