Choosing A Call: By Christopher Strong
Spring turkey season can be a very inviting and exciting time but also very frustrating as well. There are so many aspects to spring turkey hunts that a hunter must take into consideration before hitting the woods. One of those, and a big one at that, is deciding what type of turkey call to use. The market is saturated with turkey calls, there are so many types and brands to choose from, but how do you choose? Hopefully with these brief explanations of the main types of calls, you can get a better idea of what type of call will work best for you this season. So to begin, there are 4 main types of turkey calls. Push-Button, Slate, Box, and Diaphragm. Each of these calls have their pros and cons. Some hunters prefer one over the other, while some hunters use them all. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a call. The best call is one you are comfortable with and can use effectively and efficiently. Don’t let someone sell you on one type, try them all and figure out which you prefer the most. So let’s explain a little about what each call is and how they work.
First, let’s talk about push-button calls. Push-button calls are one of the easiest to learn and use. They are great for beginner hunters and are still perfectly functional for skilled and seasoned hunters as well. With a little practice, beginning turkey hunters can learn to make yelps, purrs, and clucks with ease. These types of calls are built for one handed use, and most can be attached to your gun stock for ease of access. There are some downsides to push-button calls though, the major one being that moisture can be your worst enemy. High humidity or rain can silence a push button call quickly. Once this happens, you are out of luck and your hunt could come to a screeching halt.
Now, let’s talk about box calls. Box calls resemble push button, but are much more versatile. These are user-friendly and can produce a limitless range of sounds. Box calls use an attached paddle that strikes the edges of an attached box. This motion creates a vibration within the box that then resembles the sound of a turkey. Again, this call is made of wood, so moisture can be your worst enemy. Some call manufacturers are now starting to create waterproof boxes. Another downside to this call is that it requires 2 hands, so in close proximity, it is difficult to use this call and be prepared for a shot on a strutting gobbler.
The third type of call is called a slate call, or also known as pot calls. These calls are round discs shaped calls usually made of slate, ceramic, or glass. There is a striker handle that is used to scratch the plate which results in the sound you hear. Strikers are usually made of wood or carbon. Slate calls are a bit more difficult to master than box calls, but the call variety of the slate call is just the same as a box call. There are endless possibilities with practice. When looking at slate calls, keep in mind that slate is affected by moisture, whereas ceramic and glass are not. Again, just like box calls, the biggest downside to slate calls is the requirement to use 2 hands.
Lastly, you have diaphragm calls. Diaphragm calls, also known as mouth calls can be one of the most difficult calls to learn for turkey hunting. They are a hands-free call that is utilized by mouth, so that is their biggest advantage. These calls are weatherproof and easy to carry. They offer as many types of diaphragm calls as you can imagine to achieve any type of turkey sound you desire. The biggest downfall to these calls is the learning curve. Some individuals never learn to utilize them. If you cannot figure them out, never fret, all of the above calls can lure in that big gobbler if you play your cards right. Again, do not restrict yourself to one type of call. Learn from others, but most of all, use what makes you most comfortable. Enjoy your experiences! Good luck this season and hopefully you will get that mature gobbler in close enough for shot!