Do you prefer yelping, clucking, putting, purring, or screeching? We’ll walk you through the best turkey calls on the market. Turkey calls come in many styles. All of them require skill, practice, and patience in order to master.
The first step in this journey is selecting the right call – and the same goes for experienced and veteran turkey hunters ready to continue putting their skills to the test. First things first, let’s take a look at a few kinds of calls out there for those just starting out.
Beginners usually start out with friction calls. They’re easier to get the hang of, and allow new hunters to develop a feel for the sounds, timbers, and pitches of turkey calls – all while bagging a few Toms.
Turkey Box Calls
Box calls are friction calls (friction calls are generally where beginners start out, as they find them easier to use) that work by hitting the edge of the box with its wooden lid.
Diaphragm Turkey Calls
These calls are shaped like a horseshoe and come with a reed. Latex stretches over the reed, and hunters blow air across it to create the calling sound.
Turkey Pot Calls
Another friction call. Pot calls are (not surprisingly) shaped like pots, and are made of a variety of materials. They come with a striker hunters use to create calling sounds by dragging or touching the pot.
Push and pull calls feature a simple mechanism. Hunters push and pull a plate back and forth while pushing down on a paddle – the contact between the two creates the calling sound.
Turkey Mouth Call
Turkey Mouth Calls are not for the beginner. These calls take lots of practice to master. However, the effort is well worth it considering the benefits of a mouth call. First and foremost, as the name would indicate, mouth calls leave your hands free.
Nothing worse than missing that opportunity to bag a Tom because you had your box call in your hands and not your rifle or bow. They are also better to use in inclement weather. Other types of calls can be less effective and downright worthless if they get wet. Turkey mouth calls are also easier to keep up with in the field.
Last but not least, they tend to be less expensive than their turkey call counterparts.
Parts of a Turkey Mouth Call
Frame – The frame is what holds the other parts of the call together. It is usually made of aluminum or plastic. The various sizes will be important to how well you can use the mouth call. Everyone’s mouth is a little different.
Reeds – The reeds are key to the type of sound the call makes. The various thickness causes subtle variations in vibration as you blow across the reeds. Typically they are made of latex and the reeds are what create the signature call for various brands.
Tape – The tape is the part of the call which seals it to the roof of your mouth. The tape directs the wind from blowing across the reeds.
As hunters gain experience, they also realize that calls continue to improve year by year. Many of the best calls out there are the newest designs. Master hunters continue creating new calls year by year!
It’s become good fun to see what new calls come out each season. It’s always exciting to head out with new calls and picture how many birds they’ll lure out.
In any case – now that that’s out of the way, which calls are worth their salt? After looking around and doing some reading from some of the legendary hunters, here are the best turkey calls out there this season.
An excellent call for first-timers. Knight and Hale are two legends among hunters and outdoorsmen everywhere. Their company makes realistic calls for all kinds of games, and that includes turkeys.
The Knight & Hale Glass & Slate Pot Call comes with the great feature of a dual-sided design, making it easy to change side, and with it the style of call: the glass side produces high-pitched calls apt for long-distance and windy days, and the slate side produces rich, deep calls suitable for short ranges.
Both are easy to use, thanks to the waterproof diamond wood striker that can easily be used to produce natural-sounding calls. The Knight & Hale Dual Threat will last you all season and is one of the best calls to bring out to gain a feel for calls and how they’re used.
Supreme Turkey Calls is one of the coolest companies producing turkey calls out there. Hand-made by a guy named Steve Reeves, each call is uniquely crafted to produce natural-sounding calls and to be of the best quality. The Strut Buster is one of his best.
It features a purpleheart body and a slate striking surface that produces beautiful, raspy, high-pitched sounds. It’s also easy to use – but we think the Strut Buster is best suited to make a great gift, or for a second or third season. It’s a special piece that will last for many years.
Primos is well-known for producing great calls year after year. Their Magnetic Box Call is one of their more recent designs and is truly innovative.
It features a clever magnet-infused design to keep the lid in place and to apply the perfect amount of pressure when making contact – producing the best-sounding calls possible. This also means no tuning and adjustment are necessary, and great-sounding calls can be produced at the drop of a hat.
It also comes with a gobble band that can be used to produce some darn-realistic-sounding gobbles (a personal favorite). As a box call, it’s great for beginners, and can be used to produce calls good enough to catch toms right from the first use. All in all, this box call from Primos is a solid call to have, be it for breaking newbies in or for using season after season.
Not everyone is a fan of electronic calls – many veterans prefer the traditional style. But electronic calls come with their advantages. They’re easy to use, very portable, and can simplify the hunting experience, allowing you to focus on taking the best shot.
Cass Creek has two decades’ experience producing fine electronic calls, and their Ergo Spring Game Call comes with five different settings that make it a great flexible, all-rounder. It might not be for everyone, but for its practicality, the Cass Creek Ergo Spring earns a mention here.
Another call from Primos – this one for the veterans and old-timers. Primos’ many years of experience producing great calls means they’re good not only for box and friction calls – but they also produce some of the finest mouth calls out there.
The Hook Hunter is a great example. It’s hand-made with precision, and comes in a set of two, with each call producing a different range of sounds. Like any good mouth call, the Hook Hunter takes some time to master.
But once you take the time to get familiar, this Primos mouth call makes some beautiful kee-kees and purrs and will have you feeling like an old-style master. It’s easily one of the classiest calls for bagging Toms like a pro.